Italy 2007 travel blog


Domus Aurea

Rooftop terrace 1

Rooftop terrace 2

Rooftop terrace 3

Rooftop terrace 4

Rooftop terrace 5

Rooftop terrace 6

It was a tough transition to wake up listening to the birds in Santa M, and by mid-afternoon to be pulling into Rome. The train comes in through the Trastevere area, which my guidebook describes as "working class" but I think that is putting a very positive spin on it. Then another train station where the main building seems to be vacant but there is a tent city of homeless beside it. Arrived at the main station, which is a sketchy area, and the convent is a few blocks away. The convent was nice enough; my room (cell?) was much taller than it was long or wide .. about a 14 foot ceiling.

The traffic is a bit nuts. I was scared crossing the street, in fact I was scared watching other people cross the street (seriously!). I would wait until other people were crossing, preferably a nun or priest (you only have to wait a minute or 2 for one to come along). I decided to not stay my planned 5 days in Rome, and to go to Capri instead.

Monday, after booking a new train ticket, I headed toward a big green park. It turned out to be across a road from the Colosseum (see pic). The park has various ruins in it, including the Golden House of Nero which spread over 200 acres when it was built. There are just bits of it left in the park, which is also a popular afternoon napping spot. I had a picnic & read for a while.

That night I met some Americans who now live in Rome & teach at the university. One of them knows Snoopy & some other women I know from San Jose. It is the best thing when travelling to meet someone who knows someone you know. By evening I felt like I could handle Rome but I had already made plans to leave.

Got up before 7 on Tuesday & took these pics from the rooftop terrace of the convent, starting facing SW and moving clockwise. In the 3rd pic you can see the green park, and make out the Colosseum beyond. The last 2 pics show the Santa Maria Maggiore, a very old church in a square, tourists starting to arrive even at that hour.

Took the train to Naples, which was fine. Then took a city bus to the port where the boats leave for Capri. To get to the bus stop, I had to cross a street of 3-5 "lanes" of traffic, no crosswalk .. you just put out your arm and go. I haven't been so scared of anything in years. It's a wonder I'm not still standing there. Then on the bus, the traffic was absolutely insane .. unfathomable how a city can operate like that.

I'm now in Capri, which is like a small mountain in the ocean. The town of Capri is a little ways up from the dock (closer to the beaches). Anacapri, where I'm staying, is higher up & is all about the view. Continuing my Day of Defying Death, I split a cab with some other women up to Anacapri ... hairpin turns above steeps cliffs from the oceans .. clearly inadequate guardrails. Oddly, this didn't scare me. I may have used up my fear quotient in Naples. This is a little paradise, with lemon trees growing & amazing views (spectacular pics to follow). I'm going to stay here until the 17th & skip visiting Naples & Pompeii. When I get back to the port of Naples, I will pay a taxi driver any sum of money named to drop me at the train station in such a way that I don't have to cross a street.

Meanwhile, I am trying to put my nerves back together & maybe even up my farmer's tan.

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