So Mike and I are really good at traveling together. Even when we were little kids, Mom would turn us loose in Boston, tell us to stay on the Green line, and we’d go off to museums and stuff. And inevitably, I would get totally lost, and we’d wander around a bit, and I would not admit to being lost because I was older and supposed to be in charge, and eventually Mike would be like, “Hey, let’s see what’s over here,” and then we would suddenly be back where we were supposed to be.
Catherine was in Rome for a conference so we decided to go meet her for lunch. We took the train, which was delightful, and it gave us time to talk and catch up. On a train is a great place to think about where you’ve been and where you are going.
For technical reasons neither of us had a working phone, so we didn’t have access to maps. I had downloaded some screenshots of how to get from the train station to the Ponte Sisto (where we were meeting for lunch), but it involved taking the metro and we had plenty of time so we said to ourselves, “Selves,” we said, “Why can’t we just walk straight across downtown Rome and then just sort of go downhill until we get to the river and then the bridge will probably be fairly obvious…?”
So we tried that. We left the train station and went left, with the idea that we ought to pass some things that looked famous, but not the Pantheon, because that’s too far over, and then look for downhill. We did indeed pass some famous things that were not the Pantheon, and then we went downhill, but then we were puzzled. But props to Mike who realized that — of course! — the river would have seawalls around it so we would actually need to go uphill again to find it, and sure enough, we went uphill and there was the Tiber and some fairly obvious bridges. We were off by a bridge or two, but close enough to make it work.
At lunch we were entertained by Catherine’s excellent napkin puppet, and when she’s a famous puppeteer we can say we knew her when. And then we strolled across the lovely Ponte Sisto and through the Pantheon and past everybody’s favorite column.
Also, the forum where Caesar was assassinated, which is now a shelter area for stray cats.
Ugh, photos won’t upload. Gotta work on this….
Mike and Catherine both wanted to see the Capuchin monks, and I was pretty busy making jokes about monkeys and thinking I was so clever. But these monks… these are the guys who make you understand the whole point of being a monk. It’s very hard to explain in words the depth of beauty and awe in those three little rooms of bones. These are souls for whom death holds no terror.
I like them very much.
Afterwards, Catherine had to go back to her conference, and she said, “You are about two blocks from the train station right now, can you find your way there?” And we said “SURE!”
We went about a block and then got distracted by some fountains and turned the wrong way and walked for HOURS until we accidentally ended up here and we knew perfectly well this isn’t near the train station so we bought a map at a tourist kiosk, and some coffee, and then we accidentally left the map in the coffee shop.
But sure enough we made it right back to the train station with no trouble at all.
I love traveling with my brother.by