Took the train to Florence today then walked along the Arno river. I think I might already be in love with this city. It’s much more chill than Rome was, there’s a lot of really interesting decorative details, and there are a bunch of quirky shops.
I had the most AMAZING dinner at Osteria di Pitti: ribollita (hearty vegetable and bread stew) and gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce and walnuts. For dessert, I had freshly baked cantucci (almond biscotti).
…checked out the sculptures outside the Captoline museum…
…watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier (Tomba del Milite Ignoto)…
…and saw an exhibit on how Italy became a country and how the language was unified.
Went to the Tempio Maggiore Di Roma, which is gorgeous and has a museum. A lady gave a talk about the history of Italy’s Jewish population, most of which was made up of Sephardi Jews who migrated from Spain during the Spanish inquisition. I also saw artifacts from the time leading up to world war II and clothing from a concentration camp.
In the afternoon, I walked across the Tiber river an explored the Trastevere, where I saw some cool street art, buildings, and statues. I also had an amazingly delicious lunch followed by some great gelato.
Now I just have to decide where to go for dinner. Decisions, decisions…
My favorite hobby is walking – far-and-away, without a doubt, it’s my favorite thing to do. I would walk the entire world if I could. I like to wander and get lost. I end up seeing so many things I wouldn’t have if I always decided where to go and followed that plan.
I encountered a lot of interesting architectural details, had pizza and aranciata for lunch, and also found a bunch of graffiti that makes me want to understand more about Italian culture.
Then I headed to the ruins of Ostia Antica, a harbor city of Ancient Rome. I would have taken more pictures, but my battery got really low.
On the way back to the hotel, I decided to get off the train a stop early and I went to the Basilica of St. Paul (Basilica San Paolo Fuori Le Mura).
On the plane from Amsterdam, I met Simon, who is a Dutch chaplain who used to live in Rome. We got to talking and he gave me enough advice about Rome to fill a page and a half in my notebook.
“Guarda!”, he exclaimed mid-sentence, to make sure I didn’t miss this spectacular view of the Swiss alps (according to him, it’s very rare that it’s this clear and the light is just right).
Oddly enough, it turns out he uses a certain medical software that’s made in Wisconsin. What are the odds? (I guess 50/50 since he works in the Netherlands.)
Then the guy behind us said “You live in Madison!?” It turns out Marc works in Madison and makes regular trips to Rome for his job. We split a cab and he pointed out lots of great ancient things that I would have definitely missed.
Arrived at my hotel in Rome at 2 PM local time, which was 7 AM back home – after sleeping only an hour on the 18-hour trip. I took a shower then crashed hard. I’m still not hungry, so I think I’m writing off tonight and going to try to sleep until breakfast.
I was talking with a friend of mine today and she inspired me to start a new blog. I’m hopeful that writing a blog will lead me to reflect more and thus make more mindful choices. I’d also like a place to share things that I find interesting or things I believe are important.
Some of my favorite characters of all time were journalers. Doug Funnie and Doogie Howser, for instance, plus all of the characters on Star Trek.