Friday, September 21, 2007

Arrividerci, Roma (Part III)

The next day I went throught some more of the city, mainly more parks on the west side of the center, before ending up at St. Peter's again. While I was standing around, a girl came up to me and asked if I went to Stony Brook, indicating my bag. I said yes; we chatted for about 2 seconds (she was from East Islip, and asked where I was from) before she darted off. Hm. Even so, it was the most I'd heard in native English in weeks. I wanted to see if the cupola at St. Peter's was open today, as the notice that I'd seen the previous time I had been there implied that the closing was only that one day (of course). It was, so up I went - 550 stairs (or so) each way. What a terrific view!

Subsequently I was to meet Lidia and have dinner with her family - while I waited to meet her, I saw another student of the "keep going until you hit the car in front/behind you" school of parallel parking. As her mom drove us, we stopped occasionally to see views of the city. Lidia showed me around her apartment a bit; there was a Ukranian woman staying with them for the time being. We had some pizza and spaghetti (and bread), a combination which Lidia said was not usual for them to eat, but so that I could have some of each. Her sister joined us; Lidia said she had made the sauce. We talked some more about language (she speaks nine), and they drove me back to the hotel; on the way we saw some more sights, including the Circus Maximus, now illuminated, and much to my surprise the lights were all different colors. She and I agreed to meet for lunch the next day, and I bid farewell to her mother and sister.

By now I'd seen most of what I wanted in the center, so I bought a day-ticket for the metro and decided to just go around; my first destination was St. Paul's cathedral. This was my first excursion on the "B" line of the metro, and it was quite a contrast to the clean, modern "A" line (which was reminiscent of Prague) - the wagons were old and almost completely covered with graffiti. St. Paul's cathedral was also amazing. Subsequently I stopped at the adjacent "Piramide" station, where there was indeed a pyramid. I looked around there for a few minutes before continuing on and meeting Lidia. We got some pizza and walked to Piazza del Popolo and chatted while we ate there, before heading back for some ice cream and looking in vain for somewhere to sit as my two cups of ice cream begain to melt. Afterwards we headed back to the metro and bid each other farewell; I walked around a little longer before taking the train to the airport, which was a nice ride at sunset, with a rainbow in the distance.

The flight was fairly uncomfortable; fortunately it was only little more than an hour. It was an MD-80 with three seats in each row, and not enough room in the overhead bin to fit my backpack. Coincidentally, the Alitalia inflight magazine also featured St. Petersburg as the cover story.

Oh, and in addition to popped collars, I hate sweaters tied around people's necks.

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