York & Borgorose

Uh, Toto...
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Safe and sound in Rome. Hotter, poorer, but here. The train from York stopped for half an hour this morning, for unspecified technical difficulties, but that delay did not stress getting to the airport too much. Having to carry a HUGE backpack, a very heavy shoulder bag, and lug the bulky and weighty Panoscan case at the same time -- all up multiple sets of stairs because of no elevators at the Tube stations, led me to speculate on other things I'd rather have been doing.

And after standing in line at Al Italia's counter for a while, they informed me that European flights allow only half the weight that US flights accept. And I was already packed to the hilts -- at 100% over the limit -- not knowing this difference and therefore had to pay a whopping 190 pounds to get all my stuff here, since there was no time to try to sort out any to stay, or ship, or discard, etc. That makes me very, very sad. That amount is more than it cost me to fly, and that fee's only for one way, so I have to figure out something soon for the return trip. (If I had flown directly from the States there wouldn't have been a problem!)

Monica (Bernie's student) met me at the airport, drove me to the hotel, and did some translation for me to smooth out everything. It seems they don't have a single as reserved, so they put me in a quad for the same price. For two nights, that is, then I have to move to a different room (in the same hotel). C'est la vie.

After Monica left I checked all the gear to be sure it's ready for its debut at 8:00 in the morning at the House of the Vestals down next to the Forum. All is well in that regard. Seeking sustenance for body and soul, my feet took me down to the Tiber's closest point, trying to find what appears to be a laundromat and Internet access point (yes, they do have that combination here, according to my tourist book!) by consulting a map on a flyer for such a joint. After much searching, I finally found it, but apparently it's just a laundromat. I'll probably use it Saturday. Clean clothes, anyway, if not 'net.

So. Rome.

My jaunt (sans camera) took me through numerous twists and turns much more serpentine than York's, although the architecture isn't as interesting. Hundreds of little cafes and shops and who-knows-what down there, this evening, with diners out front, and some musicians wandering around. Seeming millions of scooters and micro vehicles flowing along everywhere that they fit. Not nearly as dirty as Cairo, and no pestering from merchants.

It's a different kind of Europe from England.

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