Yesterday’s weather was beautiful. After three miserable days of clouds and rain the sun was out and the temperature had warmed up. It was time for Brett and I to climb back out of hibernation and see some more of Rome, and we had planned a great itinerary for the day.
We got up, showered and got dressed and then realized neither of us felt very well. Brett’s head cold was still going strong, and he had spiked a fever again. My head was also stuffy, and my throat hurt. We didn’t feel like going anywhere.
However, by early afternoon we felt like the sun was mocking us. We knew we didn’t have the strength or time at this point for our planned itinerary, but we dragged out the map and looked at where we thought would be near enough to walk to, and saw that Piazza Navona and the Pantheon were both just across the river from the Castel San’t Angelo, and we knew that was an easy walk from the apartment. So, off we set.
We are so glad we did! We had a lovely stroll along the Tiber, on a paved sidewalk (versus cobblestones), and then turned into town for the short walk to the Piazza, built over what had been a former games arena in Roman times. We strolled through the piazza and studied the Bernini sculptures of the Four Rivers in the central fountain with its Egyptian obelisk. The piazza wasn’t particularly crowded, and there was a lively band playing at one end while we were there which lifted our spirits (Romany, I think – the guitarists were playing in the style of Django Rhinehardt). We found a great bakery nearby and picked up some pastries for our breakfast this morning and tomorrow.
The Pantheon was just a short walk away. Once there we were glad again we had made the effort. We marveled at the huge Roman columns and the concrete dome that had survived from the second century, and remembered that the reason the Pantheon had remained in such good condition was that it had been turned into a church and kept up.
We walked back along the Tiber just in time to catch the sun setting behind St. Peter’s – those views alone made our afternoon outing worthwhile, no matter how we felt. When we arrived at the Vatican the lights were on, including the Christmas tree.
Instead of heading back to the apartment we walked over to a small, recommended osteria for dinner. I had wanted to eat fried artichokes and caccio et pepe ever since we arrived in Rome, and my meal did not disappoint. Brett wasn’t particularly hungry, but ordered fish and chips, Italian-style, and was happy with those.
This afternoon we will visit the Vatican Museums, and tomorrow morning we will go to Ciampino airport to fly to Lisbon, our last stop in Europe before heading back to the U.S. Neither of us still feels very well, but we’re very glad we got out yesterday, and will leave Rome with good feelings and yes, a wish to come back some day.
P.S. We woke up to a message that our former landlord had mailed a check for almost all of our deposit (he kept 10%). It was frankly more than we thought he would return, and we’re glad to be finally done with that awful man!