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foreign correspondence: Roma Therapy


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So there I was in Zurich (no gnomes in sight, unfortunately; I checked), thinking, "OK, next stop: Italy. But where?" I was thinking about Venice, and maybe Florence, but that would make it tough to get across Italy in time to get to Barcelona in time to get to Bordeaux in time...well, you get the idea.

Then I figured, "Hey, pretty much anywhere in Italy is logistically inconvenient, so why not go for the Big One?" I whipped out the Eurail Pass and made tracks for Rome (sing along with me, now: "Rome, Rome on, the train...").

Rome is *intense*. The traffic situation here is as complex and varied as Amsterdam, but while A. is passive, with everybody negotiating to keep stuff moving, Rome is aggressive, with people staking claims when crossing streets and considering traffic lights to be suggestions at best.

Once you get over the serious prospect of becoming a grease spot on the cobblestones, though, it's amazing here. I wandered down to the Coliseum and thought about how, in North America, when we put up something like that, we usually tear it down in a couple of decades; the Coliseum's been there for *2000* *years*.

I made my way to the Forum (nothing funny happened on the way; funny, that), and strolled over ground that the various Caesars may have strolled. (And then I came and checked my e-mail; hey, Caesar had *his* forum, I've got *mine*.)

I've eaten dinner in sidewalkside restaurants, enjoyed gelato, and been wired for sound on *real* espresso. The people here are cool, and very tolerant of ignorant anglos who don't speak Italiano. (I think I know how to say, "Do you speak English?" in about 4 different languages now.)

Rome is not only cool, it's invigorating. The city buzzes, it pulses. People are moving everywhere, all the time, but they also take the time to side streetside and enjoy a glass of wine or a cappucino. In short, they're my kind of people.

At least, until tomorrow, when I'm off to Florence for a day or so.


BRAD (Being in Rome Adds Delight)

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