Sunday, January 31, 2010
On this lazy weekend in Rome, we decided to leave town and explore what lay beyond the 7 hills. We took a bus to Tivoli, a town nestled onto a hilltop facing east just so the morning sun can warm its pastel colored walls. The bus took us through the outskirts of the city, which were drastically different than the inner Rome. It was dirty and poor, but still there was a feeling of balance and pace. Some might think this would ruin the city in my eyes, yet it only gave it that much more character. There was beauty even here, in the terrace gardens hidden on the roofs, and in the solitude of tiny vineyards in the backyards. Even the swaying of the laundry held a sense of routine and that oh so Italian feel.
Our arrival was quiet and unnoticed. This little town of Tivoli was ripe with new places to see, and new accents to hear. Our goal of the trip was to see Hadrian's Villa and other such sights around...Yet that changed as the pangs of hunger hit. Our search for the right restaurant took a while, but it was for sure the right choice. Generally we decide by the price of the house wine...5Euro per liter...yes, this would do. We sat down and ate our bread and drank our wine while chatting and laughing at the experiences we have had so far in Rome, and what voyages await in the coming months. Our food was exquisite, and we stayed for 2 hours or so, just like the italians! Then it was decided to start our "Tivolian" journey. (We made that name up for the people of Tivoli because it sounds cool). To our dismay though, everything was closed due to the foul weather. On that note we meandered the streets to the bus stop and boarded back to Rome.
That night I wanted to take it easy and relax in my eternal city. Therefore, I took one of my passegiatas(strolls) throughout the upper hill of the western city. I had no destination, no time, nothing. On my way through Trastevere, I passed the local bars and hang outs of the students, even seeing the Americans already loud and tipsy. I passed a street that glided upwards and took it in hopes of rising above the skyline. Up and up I went. Gradually the street rose to greater heights, I passed quiet streets lit up with that golden glow from the street lamps. I passed courtyards and tiny paths that lead who knows where? Finally, I reached a break in the hill, a plateau of sorts, and I gazed at what was strewn out before my American eyes. I was alone, and darkness surrounded me, leaving only the pale liquid light of the full moon to reflect the milky color of the Travertine of Rome. St. Peter's Basilica to my left, the Colosseum in front, and other monuments poked out of the skyline. In the distance outer Rome rose onto the hills like a wave upon the coast. I couldn't help but think of the layers this city has been through, and what still lay undiscovered and unknown. Facades upon facades, and columns within columns. The story of Rome seems so eternal, yet impossible. There is so much just within this city, and it seems a feat to see even the tiniest portion of it. The wind brushed my cheeks reminding me of time. I knew it was time to leave, but I made a mental note to return...soon. I glanced at the moon once more as it was engulfed by a thick gray cloud, and I returned to Trastevere.
Today, a couple of us left for the Vatican Museums at 7AM. It was rainy and cold, so we decided when we got there that we did not want to wait. But, since we were already up we walked to the Pantheon and went to the best coffee place in Rome. I at this nutella baklava thing with a steaming cappuccino. Then we had a leisurly walk back to our apartment. It is never boring to walk here, there is so much to see and watch it is almost wrong if we don't walk! The bridge over the Tevere River is magnificent. We always stop there and stare at the river that has fed Rome for countless years. Now though, It is time to go to the market and bargain for some shoes, pants, and a backpack for traveling. That means I must say ciao and be off. Until next time! Arrivederci!