Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Rome report

Okay. I loved Venice. Loved Ravenna. Loved Florence. And all for different reasons: Venice's stateliness. Ravenna's small-town charm and mind-blowing mosaics. Florence's beauty and Art-History-Textbook nonchalance.

Rome? I freaking hate it.

Hate Rome.

Hate it.

Why? Is it the completely incomprehensible, where's-your-secret-decoder-ring public transportation system? Is it the city's hostility to pedestrians? Its general rudeness to those of us whose knowledge of the local dialect is a couple of millennia old? Its overrun antiquities? Its fake gladiators hoping for a pose so that they can charge you for the picture? General lack of internet accessibility? The general atmosphere of overkill and plunder at St. Peter's?

Yes, and yes, and yes. I hate it.

And I'm trapped here for five extra days because of a volcano.

And Neruda will live here for all of next year. And frankly, I'd rather visit him in the fifth circle of the Inferno than come back here.

7 comments:

Ink said...

Oh, dear. Do they at least have good wine for helping in the Forgetting Where You Are? Hugs.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I've been to Germany, Austria, England, and France, but never Italy. I'm very jealous -- even if you hate Rome. At least you've been there to know that you hate it. I have no prospects of going back to Europe. Being underemployed, broke, and having two kids, I doubt I'll get back to Europe before my infant is in college.

So sorry about your bad experience, and yet, I can't help but think "lucky you!"

Johnsons Part Deux said...

Hey, got the rundown from your parents about your horrible situation! So sorry to hear about it. We're all eager for you to get home safely. Best of luck, we're praying for you guys!

sunt_lacrimae_rerum said...

Oh, Rome! Just pick a neighborhood and don't go far and you'll get to learn the rhythm of the streets. There's some delightful art! Just don't go down into the "subway". I highly recommend the Protestant Cemetery.

Best wishes!

Lisa B. said...

I hope there are more parts of Rome that might make it bearable upon future visits. I hear that place where Neruda's going is pretty great, for instance.

Lexy and Jared said...

Oh, RG. I will be slaughtering some firstlings of flocks so we can get you back from Rome in time for a reunion that is long overdue. Can you believe it has already been a semester?

Flavia said...

What I liked about Rome was the way it managed not to be a tourist city--and indeed, to show active disdain for tourists & tourism. As an impatient city person myself, I rather liked that--even if it made life, practically speaking, more difficult (everyone in Florence defaulted to English, whereas in Rome they let me struggle with my minimal Italian). It seemed more genuine, and in a perverse way, more respectful.

Which isn't to say that you need to like it, or that it doesn't seriously suck to be stuck there! Still--I'm sure it will be better when Neruda's there, ensconced in a neighborhood and a semi-permanent residence, with regular routines and functional relationships with the locals.