Rome, Italy Day two

Day two started at 3:30am. Despite being extremely tired and passing out around 11:00pm, I woke up a little over 4 hours later, the normal sleep cycle period. Coincidentally, my daughter texted me a few minutes earlier saying she woke up and was unable to sleep. Her room's AC was not working. She had not had the opportunity to nap the afternoon prior like I did since her conference agenda doesn't have time for jet-lagged students to adjust. I'm sure this is a good thing. It forces them to acclimate quickly to local time. You don't want to hear about my sleep issues. Let's skip forward.

Pano shot

Never turn down free food is a good motto to have when traveling on a budget. All the hotels I have booked provide breakfast for free and my hotel had a decent buffet. Fresh fruit, vegetables and even some standard "American" options like scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausages which looked more like mini vienna sausages. Don't forget your espresso or cappuccino. I loved my espresso. I don't think I want to go back to caffe americano after this trip. I'll be the snooty American asking if they serve espresso wherever I dine Stateside from now on.

More rooftop views from Hotel Capo d'Africa

After breakfast, I ensured I relieved myself completely (TMI) since we all know that public restrooms are scarce in most European countries. Somehow, you will pay to use one either by purchasing a beverage or food item to access a restaurant's facility or you will pay at a coin-operated stall but I haven't encountered one of those yet. Time to blend in as a tourist. Today's mission, find long pants for my daughter so she will be appropriately dressed when her tour group visits the Vatican.

As an expert map reader, I thought I'd skirt the opposite way around the Colosseum to find my way to some clothing shops. I ended up at a dead end up a hill not enclosed by the fences of the Palatino where the small Convento San Bonaventura al Palatino stands. I went in and sat down for a few minutes, said a prayer, and took a quick snapshot.

Street vendor

On the stroll back down the hill, I had the opportunity to purchase a 6" wooden elephant for only 25 Euros. That's about $29 at the current exchange rate. No, I did not buy it nor did I purchase water, a selfie stick, or a paper umbrella.

Street performers, as in any major city, line the main tourist routes. I'm willing to pay 1/2 Euro or whatever small denomination I have at the time to most street artists so I can take a photo. Mostly, I can't imagine being completely covered up in this sweltering heat. That's worth a few cents to pay for their medical bills. I dropped some change in the tin and "she" said thank you. I don't know why I assumed it was a man in the costume. I'm guilty of street performer profiling.

Italian lady taking over and answering a question I could not answer.

Twice so far, I had people ask me to take their photos. I suppose I look rather tame and I won't run off with someone's smartphone or camera. At one point, a waiter started talking to me in Spanish as he tried to size up my nationality. He himself looked Asian so I don't know what made him think I was Spanish. Later in the afternoon, an elderly Italian couple pulled up next to me as I was walking down the cobblestone street and started asking me directions to Termini Station. Luckily an authentic Italian woman stepped in to help them out. I guess I could have taken out my tourist map and helped them that way.

Er Barretto

I accidentally found the cafe my sister recommended. Apparently, that's exactly how you're supposed to find it. Don't look for it and you'll stumble upon it. It was a nice lunch away from the throng of sweaty tourists, although the bruschetta was a tad salty. I didn't have a dessert but I have no doubt it would have been tasty. I sat next to two women who looked and sounded Scandinavian - perhaps Norwegian and in front of me an Italian family sat with their ailing relative. He sat in his wheelchair with his oxygen tank and you could easily surmise that he didn't have much longer to live. Here I sat, blessed enough to enjoy this beautiful, charming, and awe-inspiring city while being strongly reminded of what's really important in life - family.

I walked into several clothing shops. There is no rhyme or reason to how the clothing is arranged. Different sizes, styles, and pieces are just thrown onto the rack. That might be intentional because it would keep you in the shop longer if you're really in need of something. The ladies manning the shops, once again, were beautiful, svelt, and put together to perfection. They were so friendly as we worked through our language barrier to find absolutely nothing that would fit my daughter. I did walk into a more "hip" shop blaring Italian metal head rap songs. It would be perfect as a backing soundtrack for a B-rated zombie movie. The young men in the shop ignored me completely but the one young woman was quite nice. The clothing was cheaper as well but still no luck.

Wherever there's shade you'll find people escaping the heat.

My walk, after the pants search ended, led me to the small park overlooking the Colosseum. It was nondescript, a bit littered, and dotted with a few homeless individuals.

After a couple of hours cooling off back at the hotel, I ate at a restaurant two blocks away. The man in the doorway stopped me as I walked by and asked if I wanted dinner. I couldn't lie so I accepted his offer. He didn't sit down to join me. What? But he asked me if I wanted dinner? Just kidding!! I'm happily married. I've mentioned the beautiful Italian women. There is no lack either of handsome Italian men.

My fellow diners this evening were Russian, British, and American. My pizza diavola was huge! My Facebook peeps came to the rescue and told me to ask for "Take away" = "Da portare".

There was a slight verbal altercation between a rose vendor and a tall blond man who had his hands full with bottles of water. He stopped to ask the vendor in English how much for one rose . The vendor said, "Three euros." The man countered, "No, two euros," to which the vendor nodded in acknowledgement. The buyer struggled to pull out his wallet while juggling all his water bottles, some cradled under his neck, and gave the man two euros. The vendor took the money, gave him a rose, then said, "No no, one more." The buyer, shook him off, grumbled, and replied, "No, I said two and you said yes. I'm not giving you another." He turned in disgust and just walked away. The vendor turned in disgust in the opposite direction. The art of bargaining. Don't budge.

Sunset over Arco de Constantino and Piazza di Santa Francesca Romana

I ended the evening with the requisite sunset images. As I stood composing and adjusting my camera settings, a large group of runners passed me. The first shot is blurry as my camera was calibrated for the sunset. In the second you can see their t-shirts that say We FUN Rome. It must be a group catering to tourists who are running enthusiasts. Buona Notte!

Another newlywed couple but note the couple to the right. Lol. She's actually crouched taking a photo.
Good night, Rome. Fino a domani.
Created By
Grace Protzman

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