Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Catching Up -- And Sweating.....

The last several days have continued to be a lot of fun.  Even though I in some ways have almost nothing to do, there's enough going on to stay incredibly busy.  Of course, part of that might be the several hours I spend each day trying to lose the dubious distinction of paying the highest rent in Rome for an apartment that does not have functioning air conditioning.  Actually, it did work for 7 days.  That changed on Sunday night, however, and my apartment now has higher humidity than that Turkish bath I visited last month!

Italian Lesson In San Lorenzo:  Had a great language session with Valentina in San Lorenzo on Friday.  I had not been to this neighborhood before, and it's quite cool.  Rome's biggest and oldest university -- La Sapienza -- is here, and the district is known for being a haven for students, artists, and historically lefty politics.  It's definitely gritty.

There is also an excellent cathedral in the area.  We were the only people in the Basilica of St. Lawrence on Friday afternoon.  This is a 13th century cathedral that is much more spare than the later gothic or baroque churches.  It is spacious and was quite peaceful.  Worth a visit if you want to see some cathedrals that are off the beaten track.

Do Not See This Movie:  I was dying to see Terrence Malick's new movie "To The Wonder."  I was incredibly psyched when I saw this past weekend that it is now showing in Roma in inglese.  What a disappointment.  Malick's last movie -- 2011's "Tree Of Life" -- is one of my 10 favorite movies of all-time.  This new one is in much the same vein.  The primary difference is that it sucks!

The highlight of the night was on the walk home.  At 1:00 a.m., I saw this couple standing outside the museum that I'm just 3 blocks from, and they were practicing their dancing.  Very cute!

Do Go To Orvieto:  Orvieto is about 75 minutes from Rome by train.  It's a delightful little town in Umbria.  I spent the day there Saturday with some friends and had a great lunch followed by some gelato and a stroll around Orvieto.  The highlight is definitely the Duomo, which took almost 300 years to complete.  OK, it might not be as fantastic as the Duomos in Firenze or Milano.  But it's pretty damn impressive and is much easier to get to.  I was wow'ed by it as well as by the views of Umbria from the top of the clock-tower.  (It's a long walk to the top.  And you don't even get that many Nike fuel points for the climb!)

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