As a traveler who tends to detest stays in big cities, Rome has been a pleasant, idyllic surprise. The highlight? My on average four espressos per day served by the ebullient local baristo, Pepe.
I won’t bore you with my strolls through the classics of Rome. Give the photos a peek if you’re curious.
For mid-touristing reading breaks, I’ve picked up Simon Baker’s Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. Exploring the accounts of Caesar’s assassination and Augustus’s power grabs among the very streets they strolled two thousand years prior lends an eerie tactility to the city’s history. Most of all, my exploration of Roman history is a potent and given our current political times, constructive reminder that the bend of human civilization is defined in decades and centuries rather than months and years. So if you find yourself feeling melancholy while scanning the morning news, just remember that the Romans had their fair share of political drama and at least where I’m at in the book, they’re still kickin’! Maybe I should stop reading now before…
A few slices of Rome:
Italian customs provided an early and humbling reminder that my travels aren’t as globally exalted as I fancied. Expecting a rapturous greeting, my passport was instead stamped mid-text-message without even a glance at the photo page. ~benvenuto in Italia~
Whoever holds the coveted Selfie Stick patent is cleaning up. Lingering outside every tourist trap are 10 to 15 men hawking these vanity poles. My former college friends who live in Rome tell me the vast majority of the vendors are refugees. Unable to enter the workforce, they’re restricted to preying on tourist’s vain desires.
The origin of a Caffe Americano as told by Wikipedia: There is a popular, II but unconfirmed, belief that the name has its origins in World War II when American G.I.’s in Italy would dilute espresso with hot water to approximate the coffee to which they were accustomed.
For those of you who know them, Sam Van Buren and Leslie Crosdale, two fellow Oxy alums, took me out for a Roman night on the town. Thanks, Sam and Leslie! Sam loaded me up with food and tourist recommendations for my next stop, Naples.