Saturday, October 22, 2005

Everyone Votes Vespa

Except my mother, predictably, sensibly.

But no one offered the info I needed, like cost of insurance, likely resale income in the U.K., driver's licence validity, probable gas mileage... But it's a moot point. The bit of research I've done makes it clear that I can't afford it.

Which leaves only two options, since I've not looked at the Easyjet website and I'm bloody well not going to.

I've found ferries from Civitavecchia to Barcelona and from Bilbao to England, but can't for the life of me turn up away to get from the Mediterranean around to the Atlantic. Help!

Alternatively, I'll train and hitch, which will likely put me in Paris for Tuesday night. Paris kids, wanna hang out? I've got a sangria craving only Bar Dix can satisfy.

Once I've got it all figured out I'll post again. In the mean time, I'm gonna try to enjoy being where I am. Might even go dancing tonight. If I can remember how.

P.S.The one about the viper will have to wait. I don't know how to tell it yet. The ending makes me uncomfortable.

20 October 2005

I decided to diarize again, if only for Thursday. Wouldn't have felt right not to, really. I give you some of it.


While I ddrink my coffe the manager gives me directions for avoiding the Via Cassia, passing through Campagnolo. But it sounds complicated, longer. So while the highway scares me I think I'll stick to it just to finish as soon as possible.

As I leave at 9 the rain is only light. I count down the first couple of kilometres, 35, 34. About 9:30 it starts to come down harder, under the umbrella of course. Several drops on my trousers, then they're quite wet. The outside of my boots look wet but my feet feel dry still. Then my trousers are sticking to my legs and as it pours down harder still I feel the tops of my socks soak throuth above the boot. Then the water keeps going: down to the ankle, the heel, the arch, finally the toe, and both feet are sodden. Each step seems to squelch.

Now the road is slick, shiny, the gutter a small river, but with my feet soaked through it dowsn''t matter and I carry on straight as long as I can see the ground under the torrent. Only briefly do I think about turning back, waiting for better weather. But I'm wet through, may as well carry on.

Some nice truck drivers swerve over towards the second lane so as not to splash me as they pass, others don't. I can barely hear the traffic over the pounding of water on the umbrella. Sometime, though, I wonder whether a rumble is thunder or a distant truck. 33, 31.
Another brief stop under an anonymous awning, during which the rain stops completely. I eat the second maple syrup candy, which I'm sure is as potent as lembas cake. The rain starts again but lightly. I mutter to nowhere 'Is that all you've got?' Which is silly, as it starts raining harder, building up to as hard as it was first thing this morning I think, but can't tell as I'm already very wet.

It feels like a country road, hedge rows tight on the sides, but industrial stuff to the left and railroad to the right beyond them. The verge gets muddy, the water murky. In onw place it has pooled and I have to climb through brambles on the side. As I do a larger van goes past quickly and I get the wake from head to toe.

Eventually the 'ROMA' sign, but of course nothing changes. I take a picture anyway.


Nearly cried when I got to St. Peter's. I didn't look to my right as I skirted around the columnade so as to enter the piazza from the top. It was full of cars, the sky was still grey. There was lots of security around so I couldn't swim in the fountain like I'd hoped to. Maybe it was cowardice, but I just don't particularly fancy spending time in an Italian prison or a Vatican dungeon. I did splash some of the water over my head and felt refreshed, if not satisfied.

At the hostel, a drummer from Montreal appears with news of a baroque ensemble playing that night, featuring Viktoria Mullova, bill of Handel, Vivaldi, Sammartini, Bach. Very tired by that point (the last two days were 42 and 37km respectively), but enjoyed it thoroughly.

Yesterday rained some more, though not as hard. I saw some stuff, went to some places. As cool as Rome seems, I can't help thinking about getting home. Good company in the evening helps.

Today was sunnier, and I've started to think about trying to get a couple weeks' work here, but all the people I've been hanging out with are leavng on Monday too, and it still feels right to.

Monday, October 17, 2005

St. Peter's Or Bust!

Just finished three short days, now it's three long ones. Left Tuscany yesterday. Have to admit the cypresses weren't doing it for me. Until I got to Sant'Antimo, that is, with the combination with vines and olives. Gnarly oaks too. Still, I already miss the Mediterranean pines on the coast, clinging sometimes to their cliffs. You know the ones I mean. They don't have branches; instead, arabesques.

That's all, as the shop's closing. The story about the 5 foot viper I saw will have to wait.