Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rome O Morte

people keep asking me what was my favorite part of the trip to Rome. what a loaded question. my favorite thing? just BEing there. walking around. the street signs and cobblestones and graffiti, just the physical geography of the place itself, tiny streets and the hills with their poetic singing names, janiculum, esquiline, capitoline.

despite the fact that I have not been there in more than five years, i barely needed to consult a map. i remember those streets, feel like I remember them somewhere deep inside me, as if my arteries had rearranged themselves into a map of the tiber, via del corso, the lungotevere. . .

anyway, it was a good trip. our apartment was perfectly located in the dead center of anywhere we wanted to go. i discovered the most perfect gelato combination (caffe and bacio, coffee and hazelnut/chocolate). bought pretty paper at the lovely Fabriano store. visited the caravaggios at San Luigi dei Francesi and Santa Maria del Popolo.

we rented bikes at villa borghese and raced around with my mom and little brother. we ate some of the best sandwiches, seriously, the sandwiches: breathtaking! stood in line for hours at the vatican museums talking to a pleasant retired couple from canada. i bought red shoes, and the ruffliest blouse you've ever seen, and a watercolor from a street vendor in piazza navona.

my italian improved daily. we learned to navigate the idiosyncratic roman ways of life, the giving of correct change, the proper way to cross a street. i was disappointed at how crowded it was, but the people-watching was phenomenal. i had the chance to spend some good time by myself, drawing at my favorite fountain, shopping, taking pictures in the early evening post-nap.

the last day I woke up early to photograph the ponte sant'angelo, and it was just me and a streetsweeper and the misty sunrise tiber. so maybe that's my favorite part of the trip. just me and the city.

I honestly feel as if I'm wading and dreaming through all of this. it was so charged with emotion before during and after that the actual experience feels cloudy. returning home was a rude awakening and I was surprised at how hard I cried. and it hasn't helped that I've been working 12 hour days this week, and we woke up to two inches of wet snow this mid-april morning. just feels like everything is floating around me. I'll get over it, I know, and part of me appreciates the feeling. but it's hard to reconcile the two worlds.

it was great though. having been back gives me a peace I haven't felt in a while.

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