Sunday, September 20, 2009

The wandering Gwan

Tired of having an itinerary and things to do, and all such bourgeois things, today was about wandering the streets. Well, that's nothing particularly new for me, granted, but there you go.

Set off from my hostel near Rome Termini station (in case anyone wants to start un novo Bloomsday or something - feel free to call it Gwansday), I walked first through the Piazza della Repubblica, past the Fontana del Tritone, to the Spanish Steps. I came to these from above, which I highly recommend, because that way you don't have to climb up them. They actually weren't particularly spectacular, I've seen pictures where they're lined with flowers, but not at this time of year I suppose. From there I walked down to the Trevi Fountain, which was absolutely thronged with tourists watching a couple of dudes clean out the stopped fountain. You would have thought that there was a show going on or something from the looks of it... The sight of all the sheeple tourists congregating around nothing turned my stomach a bit, and I put away the coin which I had at the ready for tossing in the fountain (over your shoulder, natch) in order to ensure a return to Roma, and left. Next stop was slightly further south-west - the Pantheon. This is legitimately cool - an ancient Roman temple converted to a church. And it's HUGE. It was closed for Mass, its entrance again thronged with tourist hordes goggling in at the worshippers.

The attitude of people in churches here is starting to really bug me, in perhaps a hypocritical way. I like going to churches in the non-religious sense, and looking at the pretty frescoes and taking photos and all the rest, so who am I to judge the rest? But there's such a complete lack of reverence in some people - even if you don't believe in it, surely you can at least have the grace not to put your feet up on the pews or take photos when it expressly says not to or (as people were doing in the Duomo at Florence, one after another, as if catching the infectious idea in turn) taking photos posed in the act of lighting candles, which is supposed to be an act of prayer. In some countries churches etc. barely seem religious places at all, but there is a sense here that (even though I think Italians in general are quite secular now) there is real belief - the nuns and priests wandering around everywhere, for starters. Anyway, rant over, journey continues.

Next is was south again to the Area Sacra, ruins where Julius Caesar was supposedly murdered. But my real reason for coming here was the cat sanctuary set amongst the ruins. You can go down and pat the kitties, and give money, or buy something from the shop. One of the poor volunteers was explaining to me how the cats were abandoned and they rescued them and I started bawling, how embarrassment. She was all "the most important thing is to spay and neuter them" and Gwan was all "mmm-hmm WAAAH!" I miss my Miaow :( It was so sad though, they had all cats that had had cancer or were missing legs or blind or whatevs, and they were all so nice still and wanting affection and pats. It was a nice way to spend half an hour at any rate.

After that, I went to find a pizza place Lonely Planet recommended (PS the cats are all vaccinated and so forth, but I did wash my hands), which was closed, so I had an indifferent lunch somewhere else and then, since it was raining and I was a bit over it all, decided to walk up to a metro station. I went through Piazza Navona, where the Brazillian Embassy or something was hosting a free anniversary exhibition on Ayrton Senna which I popped in to, then up past Augustus's mausoleum and through the Piazza Popolo to the Flaminio metro station, where I decided I'd had enough of walking, and took the metro back to Termini.

Tomorrow I have a train to catch at about 2, not too sure what I'll do with the morning - I suppose I really ought to try popping in to St Peter's, it's far away, but, unlike half of Rome, it has a metro station nearby. Ciao all.


  1. Also known as the Gwanderer!
    Good tip about the Spanish steps. Mutant says to tell to that she's my cat now.

  2. Very droll! You may assume temporary guardianship of miaow, but she remains my cat!


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