DAY ONE–1:14 CDT USA–Bismarck
This is my first Rome trip since my new website has been up and running. I plan to post photos and short travel essays every day while I am there. My work is to teach students who are on a semester abroad program in Rome — the University of Mary’s superb international initiative. But in teaching the students, I get to explore Rome and its environs myself, and (better yet) too see the great city through their eyes. Every time I go to Rome I make a long list of things I want to see, or see again. This time: the Borghese (for the Bernini sculptures, and in particular – this time – his Aeneid and Anchises); the Vatican (the Raphael rooms, in particular); Florence (where I have never spent enough time); some fascist and Mussolini sites in Rome (may as well get ready!); and perhaps (if I can work it out) Vergil’s tomb at Naples.
Rough start. I woke up to a text from Air France saying my last of three flights was cancelled and the soonest they could get me to Rome was tomorrow (Saturday) midnight. So for the past four hours I have been scrambling to make better arrangements. Then I cut my right leg pretty severely while loading the dishwasher. I plan to bleed out at 38,000 feet. I had to make a quick stop at the pharmacy to buy bandages, and I have left blood in four or five men’s rooms-so far. It feels a little like a Bourne film, except for the heroics. And for the moment I am booked in seat 34E on the Rome flight–which is worse than poking your eyes out like Oedipus.
Still, by this time tomorrow I will be in Rome–possibly with only one leg!–and my first stop will be at Campo de Fiori, for cappuccino and toast.
I’m reading J.H. Plumb’s Renaissance Rome, and Tom Holland’s outstanding Dynasty, and a prose translation of the Aeneid. If you haven’t read Tom Holland’s books, do. He write about ancient Rome, but one always has a nagging suspicion that he is writing about America as it enters the dark ages.
My leg is throbbing. My head is mere distraction and numbness. But my iPad is 81% powered, my iPhone 99%, my computer 100%, and I have four books in my backpack and about 250 bandages. Plus excellent headphones.