vendredi 9 mai 2008

Outside Roma: Day 8 and 9

Day 8
Andrea planned for us to go to Tivoli today. He's a really good planner. He doesn't talk a lot, and we're alike that way. He would just subtly suggest things that he thought were good ideas. Like the day before Tivoli he said, "You know, it's so nice out we should have a day trip to Tivoli--you don't have to spend all 4 days in Rome. We can go to Tivoli, and my friend is having a picnic at a lake and we can go to that too. You don't want to be stuck in museums on such beautiful days." Boy was he right.

Went to Tivoli to see Villa Adriana, a city created by the Roman emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD. It's also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I kind of want to see everything on this list. There's 851 properties.We enjoyed this sunny, breezy day walking through ruins and gardens. It's crazy to think that it's all still there, standing. Not in perfect condition, but the remnants are there. Today, we destroy everything. We leave nothing behind anymore. Maybe because it has no value. What does that say about us? No one will ever know someone lived in that building or something or other because it's no longer there, it's a Target now. Some of us will remember and reminisce, but we'll soon forget because that's Target, and they're having a sale on dvds.

Afterwards, Andrea drove us to Lago di Martignanno (I think that's the name). It was really hard to get there, way out in the country. I'm talking dirt roads and minimal signs. We got lost, and he had to call his friend to give him directions. There were two lakes, one bigger one and a smaller one, and we were going to the smaller one.It was a nice lake. Andrea had said, "In America, you like big. We like little." The lake was "little", but still big to me. And it was surrounded by green, and people were playing soccer and having picnics and sunbathing. It was nice. We met the guy hosting, his friend Carlo, who's super nice and reminded me of my friend Vilaska. The Roman version of Vilaska, haha. He offered us barbecue meat and bread and wine. We talked to an American girl who's teaching in Rome, a Spanish girl Marta, this hilarious guy Giovanni who kept giving us more wine, and other really nice Italian people. It was really cool. We raved how amazing Italian people were compared to the French, and Marta said, "When Italians love you, they love you forever. When they don' out!" A storm started to come, so we left right before the downpour.

Day 9
We woke up early to leave for Pompeii and see the ruined city. Andrea woke us up by using his computer in the main room where we were sleeping. He greeted us with, "You know that lake we were at yesterday? Someone died at the bigger one when we were there. A boat capsized and a man drowned."

We stopped on the way for a coffee and cornetta (like a croissant or any other pastry) at a coffee shop. I love the idea of just going to a bar and enjoying a cappuccino while standing. Especially when you don't have the time to really savor it like the French. Keisha bought some Vogue magazines--I perused the decorating one--and we were off.Pompeii was huge, bigger than Villa Adriana and it's a UNESCO World Heritage site as well. I just couldn't believe how much they uncovered, and it was all an accident. A city lost for more than a thousand years due to catastrophe. Maybe someone will undercover what we ourselves destroyed and learn something about us one day. We walked around, at a lost for words. In the "Garden of the Fugitives" we saw the plaster casts of Pompeiians at their moment of death, adults and children. We followed Andrea up a hill that was clearly not made for walking up and sat at one of the highest points in the city and ate oranges. We didn't talk much.

After Pompeii, we drove to the seaside city of Sorrento. Andrea had never been there, but always wanted to. It was really hard to find parking, so Andrea parked in a parking lot for an apartment building, and he sweet-talked the owner, a nice lady, into parking there. He told her in his sweet sounding Italian, "We're just visiting. We're only here for a couple hours. Would it be alright if we stayed here?" And the lady ate it up. I noticed that he's really good at buttering people up and making them bend to his will.

We got lunch at an outdoor cafe. I had the gnocchi "Sorrento-style". We walked toward this cliff, and Lucia asked an Italian lady to take our picture for us. When Andrea saw the photo, he said, "Let's take another one. Don't ask those Italian ladies. I will ask that German man." And he went toward the German tourists and asked if he could take a photo. The German did so happily, and afterwards he added, "Tell me if you like it. I framed the ocean in it." He showed it to Andrea and Andrea said, "Wow! It's great!" And it was. So, if you ever need someone to take good pictures of you, a German tourist is the best bet.
On the way back to the car, we'd pass orange trees full of oranges. Lucia, being so tall, got some for us. Andrea just said, "I don't know these tourists." Got home around 7 and around 10ish we went out and got pizza cooked "Naples" style. It was really good. Flat, not too much cheese. We then walked around the city, and it wasn't crowded at all, and there were barely any cars, and we walked in the middle of the street like it was nothing. We just followed Andrea, not knowing where we were going--he likes to do that--and then we ended up at the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately, I went bagless and didn't have my camera. Oh well.