I had no idea how hot it would be in Rome. I packed pretty light and didn’t have any heavy clothing, but it was still way too hot for me. The result was that, while I did like Rome for the most part, the better part of the day – almost every day – left me upset or miserable. I don’t know if I have a good concept of Rome because a lot of the perception I have is blurred by how mad I was about overheating. Luckily there was ice cream and water being sold everywhere.
The two meals I enjoyed the most were the meatball wraps at Pret and Manger, and a Calzone in a restaurant near Conrad’s.
I’m not sure what it was about the wraps that I liked so much. They were similar to American food, but the way they were sold like a cafe was somewhat surreal considering the ingredients and taste. I wouldn’t expect to get something that tasted that good at a cafe in the US.
The calzone was not at all what I expected. I knew there would be differences, but it was far from even the normal calzone (which I associate with an inside-out pizza). Most of the pizzas in Italy seemed to be crunchy flatbread with other things put on it. The calzone was much more doughy and, much like the pizzas, didn’t have any marinara. Eating the rolled edges of the crust was probably may favorite part of it. It did’t taste like any crust I’m familiar with.
In a way, this might not be considered a work of art, but at the same time I still considered it one. In the British Library, there was a large globe. It was in the same room that had old manuscripts, including some from the Beatles, toward the back next to some maps. It was made of some kind of marble, if I’m remembering correctly and there was a metal ring around it. At first I thought it was a sculpture of Saturn, but I realized while looking at it that the ring was most likely the equator. Continents were etched in, rather than given different colors or bumps to distinguish from everything else. The lack of a wide array of colors, even having the land blend in with the water, was really interesting to me for some reason, though it probably had to do with the time period it was made in.
I’m not sure what they were called, though I believe they were Michalangelo works. The paintings that really stood out were, oddly, in the Vatican. While the Vatican itself was a bit too tourist-y and cluttered, there were some wall paintings that I consistently struggled with by way of their realistic appearances. There was at least a few statues I would stare at for minutes at a time, unwilling to attempt touching it to see if it was a statue or a painting. I think my main problem was just not looking at them from a side view, otherwise I would have easily come to the conclusion that they were paintings. It was really impressive to see the uilding being held up by statues that really weren’t there, but genuinely gave the appearance that they were.
The piece that I had to research, Citizen in a Toga, caught me off guard by actually being Augustus. I thought it was interesting to find so many different names to one sculpture, especially a name that referred to an emperor as a “citizen”. There doesn’t seem to be a consistent name for the sculpture, and often gets called various different titles but most mention that he’s in a toga.
Russell Square gradually became my point of reference. I got lost on the way back to the dorms from the British Library and really only got back at all by wandering back to Russell Square. By that point, I was so turned around that I still struggled from there, but in the process got to see neighborhoods and areas I otherwise would not have seen.
I liked the lion fountain in the piazza outside of a chapel we never got to go into. I don’t remember the specific location or name of it, but the lions were one of the only fountains I got a chance to take a look at. Additionally, I tend to be bad, even incapable, of getting “action” shots, but here I managed to get a relatively good shot as the water begins to shoot out of the lions mouth.
Lucy agrees with the statement and suggests that she can only imagine him in a room. In a way, it reflects the culture they come from. The majority of the time they are interacting indoors, even more so while in England. In contrast to the outdoorsy Italians, and George, who respectively run around the countryside or walk many miles to get home in the rain.
“Across town, next to the McDonald’s in Piazza di Spagna, children offer roses to a bronze Madonna on a pillar. The pope is wheeled out of his car to pray at her feet.”
Doerr, Anthony (2007-06-12). Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World (p. 56). Scribner. Kindle Edition.
That is a very strange thought. The pope getting out of a car next to a McDonald’s to pray. There’s a clash of classes and cultures wrapped into a single sentence. I had a similar reaction when I’d see various American products, like candy or cereal, in the Italian grocery stores.
I’m not sure what I had expected for the trip. I didn’t know much culturally, and wasn’t expecting it to be as rigorous as it was. Despite the lack of preparation on my behalf for the intensity of work, I think I appreciated it more with the academic aspects more than anything. I enjoyed the time in London more due to the overall heat in Rome, but while I’d like to pass it off as strictly weather related, I don’t believe it entirely was. While London was far more exhausting from how much was packed in, I realized, in Rome, that I really don’t have any idea how to mesh with a culture. I wanted to mingle with the Italians, but without the group I would hole myself up in the apartment. In a way, I felt like I confined myself far more than I wanted to or intended to, partially out of distain for the heat, but also from my lack of cultural awareness. Once it became a little normal to be in Rome, I treated it like I was still in America. With the constant activity of London, I didn’t fall into traps I set up on myself. By the end, I did want to come home, then struggled with leaving almost entirely from how little I got to actually get involved with the culture itself. I might not have had as much exposure to London as humanly possible, yet I didn’t leave with too many regrets for having not done enough within the allotted amount of time. I would like to eventually go back to them for a visit. I’m not sure when, but preferably for a longer time.
I mostly enjoyed learning about the sparation of inner and outer wall. We didn’t talk much about the subject, but one of the free-time tours explained many details about living conditions. Boarding houses that needed to be paid for on a daily basis, how 6 pents was the going cost for the majority and often would be too much, the lack of cleanness within the impoverished areas, how many people would lose homes and probably die without the nightly beds due to cold in Winter. Even the conditions of the boarding houses could be pretty interesting, especially where they had sections for people unable to afford the 6 pents. The less expensive 3 pent sections would be an empty room with a rope hung across where they would sleep standing by leaning against it. In general, the poor area’s history was pretty interesting.