Via Media

Via Media

The Word from Rome

No…not that one. The other – one of the last days of my dad’s travel journal to Rome:

Thursday, May 19
Today, we had reservations for Museo Borghese, second in Rome only to the Vatican Museum for its collection of art. Our plan had been to go to Ostia Antica, the ancient seaport, tomorrow. But the Rome public transit employees will be on strike then on general principles; to protect their wages, job security and early retirement benefits; and to express solidarity with all similarly oppressed workers around the world. E-tah-lee. Our time is growing short. So we decided to trade Borghese today for Ostia on the thinking that Borghese will be here next time around and Ostia will be a nice change of pace. (Note from the present. We have arranged our return next year, doing so early in order to use Delta frequent flier miles to travel business/first class. If you do not do this around 331 days from your travels, you are out of luck. We have all these miles and will not live forever, nor may Delta.)
From the train station, it is about a 40 minute ride to Ostia Antica, covered by mud produced by the changing course of the Tiber for many centuries and excavated over the last 200 years.


On the train out, we shared space with a group of several young people heading to the beach. Americans. Summer students at John Cabot. Our destination is a very large and complex site, and I cannot begin to describe it here or even to report the feelings and sensations that come upon one as he wanders about. The complex political and commercial relationships and interactions of two thousand years ago, forgetting about wars, that involved a fairly large portion of the known world causes one to realize that sophisticated life did not begin just a little while ago. But one factor is constant: the children, who overflowed the setting. Note the near-toddlers in their green hats. At the theater, Hilary attached herself for a time with the red-hatted ones, a group of what would be middle schoolers here. Subsequently, whenever we encountered them, there would be a semi-organized chant of, "Ee-lar-y, Ee-lar-y."


As in the case of the Forum and Palatine, the guidebooks and the material given with admission, not to mention the site markings, were truly bad. We now have more substantial sources that do a fine job of setting out what’s what and where–for next time.
We were weary when we started out this morning and more weary when we returned. There is a US state park-type facility here where we refreshed ourselves, and Hilary did a bit of shopping, giving us a bit of a boost.
Back the way we came, sharing space this time with a young family from Sweden who had been to the beach.
We had elaborate plans for dinner, but on our walk back to the apartment we went by Hilary’s pasticceria, and that was it. Cream puffs for her. Fortunately, I had pizza and salad materials in hand, so that was it for the evening.
Except that I did another street survey, the first was a couple of days ago, and I will do another in a couple of days and report then. At the still mysterious place across the street, a singing waiter with the red neckerchief and sash was in the streets and warming his voice. I, standing at the window, applauded, and the response was truly appreciated.
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