Near the Parthenon there is a McDonalds. Most of the kids and adults go to use the bathroom there before we leave there. Not me though, I'm too interested in the Parthenon. So I decide to go after the Parthenon. McDonalds has one of the only free bathrooms in the area. The rest are restaurants. Even most public buildings you have to leave some change for the person who cleans the rooms. I go back to McDonalds after the Parthenon and there are now two street people in leather, one at the top of the stairs to the bathroom and one at the bottom, charging to use the bathroom. I don't think they were actually McDonalds' employees and I'm upset that they are charging so of course on principle I don't go. By the time we reach Piazza Navonna, I have a real need for a bathroom.
We look at the painters who have set up all of their wares for sale. My group says they could see me sitting here working as a painter and selling them. We find this man who spray paints his paintings. They are good and I think it's amazing and maybe Zoe's class at the high school could do this. We are by one of the lesser fountains at either end of the Piazza and I take this picture of the spray painter and these of the fountains. I find it interesting that the pigeon's love the fountain.
After looking at a few of the painters I tell the other adults I need to use the restroom and what happened at McDonalds. I say that I'm going to see if this church, I learn is St. Agnes in Agony, has a bathroom and will let me use it. I go off from my group expecting that they are going to stay by the fountain. I go into St. Agnes where music is playing and Easter worshippers are in meditation. St. Agnes in Angony is of course another beautiful Italian church. There is a lady there selling postcards and such. I ask for a bathroom and I encounter my first non-English speaking Italian. Luckily another Italian man translates but the lady says no, no bathroom to use. I ask about pictures, another no, so I buy postcards of the beautiful church and go out to tell my friends. I take these three pictures before I go in.
When I get out the door, they are gone. Absolutely gone. I think they must have gone shopping, which is what they wanted to do, in the little shops. I consider my options, I could go to the little shops and try to find them, I could wait here the entire time, but I need to use the bathroom. I don't really want to shop. I want to go to the Leonardo exhibit that I passed on the way here.
I decide to go back and try to find the McDonalds and pay if I have to. I can't find the McDonalds. I think it was at the Camap di Fiore, but find that no it was not at all. It was near the Parthenon and I've no idea how to get there. I could ask but urgency intervenes. I spy a bar, decide to go in, use the restroom and buy something, anything. I buy a really good bottle of mineral water and leave. I find the Leonardo exhibit we passed. This was the courtyard.
The exhibition is machines of wood built from Leonardo's drawings. In the courtyard hangs his flyer. I'm so excited! I'm in Rome. I've now seen Michaelangelos, Rhapaels, and now this!!! Leonardo!!! I'm in total art heaven.
Going inside I find it's a paying exhibit. I've picked up a few Italian phrases already the main one being "Quanto Costa?" I ask then see that there is a sign saying how much. The woman speaks English and realizing I'm lost for words she asks how many in English and I say one adult. I go into the most glorious exhibit of drawings and machines and wander there for a bit taking pictures.
This is Leonardo's music box. The woman is turning the handle and it's really playing!
I look briefly in the gift shop and buy a little calendar that has Leonardo drawings. I realize that maybe the others are worried about me and I'd best get back to the Piazza Navona.
I leave the building and courtyard but realize I'm lost, really lost. I've turned the wrong way I think. I wander down the street. Everyone is speaking Italian, and I'm not afraid, but I am suddenly lonely wanting to hear English. I realize how it must be for the Hispanic kids who speak no English. I also want to share the experience of Rome with someone. I wish my husband were here. I remember what our director said when he left us at Piazza Navonna. That if we did get lost, duck into the shop and ask for Piazza Navonna and so I do. I later discover that most all shopkeepers speak English. Very smart of them to speak several languages.
On the way back I pass this painting on the side of the building which I've now seen three times. I really can't believe that paintings are everywhere.
I've also passed this Sushi Sign now three times and think of Zoe W. I wish she was here sharing this too. See Zoe if I moved to Rome we could still go for Sushi.
Almost back to the Piazza I see this beautiful Italian woman selling reading glasses. I decide to take this picture for Dan. I've been seeing handsome Italian men everywhere, but she so far is the most beautiful Italian woman I've seen. Chiao Bella. I think you are a beautiful woman and I love your reading glasses they make a nice photo too.
On the way back I stop to rest for just a moment and look at the shops. This pidgeon comes up and WILL NOT go away until I take his picture.
Everyone in Rome works, even the pidgeons.
I get back to the Piazza Navona and find my friends. They had gone into the church, when I went in, were mesmerized by the ceiling and the beauty of the church and sat down to wait for me. I never even saw them go in. After waiting for me for a bit, they left and went shopping but kept circling the Piazza to look for me. I'm sorry I made them worry, but I did have fun off by myself. This is when I realize that if I learned the language I could really live in Rome. I love it here. The crowds, the energy, the art, the history. I would love to live here for at least 2 or 3 years.
But not yet, I sure couldn't support myself. I take comfort taking more pictures. The half light gives a pinkish glow to everything. The main fountain, which is under construction, is surrounded by fencing and I take the first three pictures through the fence. I find the shadows on the buildings lovely and take a picture of that and of the angel on the balustrude again while we wait for our group to join us.
We meet our group and go to the restaurant Sotto Sopra where we dine on pasta first-Penne in Salsa Rosa, then Pollo al forno and veguire di Stagione, followed with desert Dolce della casa. Also the adults share a bottle of good house red wine. A lovely meal.
After the meal we go to get gelato at the Blue Ice Gelato shop. There are several flavors, but I'm trying to be good, so I choose only one the first night. Nutella. Mmmmmm Nutella. You can actually buy Nutella-chocolate with hazelnut, as a spread here in the U.S. I'd heard of it but never tried it. I LOVE it in gelato. Gelato is creamier than ice cream and so lovely to taste. I miss it now, but have been told there is now a gelatarie an hour from my home. My friend Dorian and I are going to check it out soon. Maybe zazzo-Zoe will come too.
After our gelato we walk back to the metro where we then take the metro to where we will take the bus. It is dark now and the lights are so pretty. This hotel reminds me of a hotel where near where my grandmother used to live that we would see at night. I especially remember the green glow of the light then, and it speaks to me now.
I take this picture to remind me of that and of this place and time.
Our bus finally comes, drops us off for the ten min. walk back to the hotel. We meet briefly with Chris in the hotel lobby. Tomorrow the Michigan group with us for most of the trip will be going elsewhere. We will be going to Pompeii and the Herculaneum, then meeting up with the Michigan group for dinner and another walk around Rome. Wake up call is again at 6 am. It's 11 pm now. I want to get my cell phone working because I want to call Dan. The last time I called him was when we were stuck in Philly. I rent some time on the internet on the computer at the bar, but when I go to use it a teenager is on playing games and networking on facebook. I go back upstairs and Barbara lets me use her phone. I call Dan and tell him to pack I want to move to Rome. He laughs, but I'm somewhat serious, I'd like to live here two or three years. I tell him all about the Vatican and everything, and we hang up.
This time my roommate Barbara and I are both exhausted. We talk for a very few minutes but then go to sleep, I'm so happy and content here.