The experiences of my day can be summed up in two words – – terribile and fantastico.  And since they occurred in that order, I will start with the latter.

After a brief evening nap (can’t get my internal clock situated just right), I headed out for dinner around 8:30pm.  I had three restaurants mapped out and it took me quite a while to find them.  I haven’t discovered the secret of the street markings in Rome, and many of the streets are actually alleyways and are randomly placed, so it is nearly impossible to know where you are located at any given time.  Despite not having a reservation, I attempted to get a table at my first choice restaurant…to no avail.  But much to my delight…my second choice ended up providing me a wonderful experience.  I was seated downstairs in a corner, which was the perfect place for me to sit back, read my book and marvel at the lively conversations unfurling all around me.  I was well taken care of by the staff, and the owner even offered me his address for a postcard from the grand ole’ US of A.  After being stuffed to the gills with bruschetta, ravioli, pine nut and cream pie, limoncello, cookies and a decaf espresso (they just kept bringing me more food!)…I was graciously thanked by the owner with a hug and a kiss on the cheek and a hearty "ciao!".  As I left and wove in and out the cobblestone streets near the Parliament, I felt like running back to the hotel…the food and experience had me so giddy (not the mention the fact that I probably had just consumed a cumulative 1/2 cup of olive oil).  But I briskly walked past the lively nightlife and was shocked to see that it was nearly midnight when I returned to the hotel…and I realized that for the first time in a long time, I hadn’t looked at my watch for a solid 3 1/2 hours.  Now that…is a thing of beauty.

The first part of my day…well…I will try not to whine too much about it.  It started off by my sleeping in too late, which in and of itself is not a problem, but when you are a photographer attempting to document a trip during these days of little daylight, it can provide difficulties.  For the second day in a row, I arrived at some spectacular sights around 5pm, when it was much too dark to photograph anything without a tripod.  Anyway…by the time I decided where I was going to go, it was raining quite heavily.  But still, I got all the right train connections and ended up in Ostia Antica, an excavated Roman port, which has ruins similar to Pompeii.  I was convinced that the rain would instantly stop by the time I got off the final train, but I was wrong.  And I was also wrong to be so stubborn as to not purchase an umbrella from one of the many street peddlers in Rome!  After walking in the rain for a good 20 minutes, I arrived at the cafeteria and just sat in the warmth, waiting for the rain to stop.  Eventually, it slowed to a drizzle, but it was still cold and raw.  I wandered around the ruins with my camera, but sadly, I lacked inspiration.  So after an hour or so, I called it a day and headed back to the train terminal.  I chatted with a sweet elderly gentleman who lived in England for many years but is now living in Italy.  He was very kind…and put a little ray of sunshine in what had been a lousy afternoon.  I got off at the Termini station, explored Santa Maria Maggiore and the Baths of Diocletian (that concept boggles my mind!) and eventually conceded defeat of my day when the restaurant I had selected, like many restaurants, did not open until 7:30pm.  I quickly returned to the hotel, took a long hot bath and the rest of my day ended quite beautifully…

I’m Not Lost! – Part III

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