We said our goodbyes to Oxford this morning via delicious breakfast #2 at Gail’s with Jon, Laura, and Hannah. I’m so glad we’ll be back at the end of the trip. I miss Oxford already.
I’m currently sitting in our adorable AirBnB apartment about a block from the Vatican. The day was a blur of travel: train from Oxford to Gatwick, plane from Gatwick to Fiumicino, train from Fiumicino to the city center and a quick walk to the apartment. We also managed to take advantage of the Priority Pass lounge in Gatwick airport which was full of free food and made us feel fancy.
The day was full of characters. I knew the Italians loved babies, but I didn’t expect thirtysomething men would be the primary baby lovers. Several dudes baby-flirted with Therese on our flight and on our train in Italy. It’s lovely.
My favorite moment of the day was leaving passport control and encountering a Franciscan in a habit speaking Italian on his cellphone across from a giant ad for watches featuring scantily clad women.
The other favorite moment was leaving the Rome S. Pietro station and turning a corner only to come upon this view:
While we were searching for our apartment, an old priest came out of nowhere and directed us with gestures and Italian to our street. A good Rome moment.
I’ve also already accidentally spoken Spanish to an older gentleman who spoke a bunch of Italian to me in an elevator. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Chris and Christopher are currently in search of food for us while I try to get Therese down to sleep and I watch Kimmy Schmidt to decompress.
I think it’s because I’m tired and because I find travel days stressful unless we are a full ten hours early to every juncture point, but I’m a ball of nerves about being in Italy. It’s silly: I’ve been to Russia and survived; I was most excited about this leg of the trip for much of the past few weeks of planning. I suppose it’s because England is still somewhat familiar. They speak our language and we had our friends with us. And of course I’m glad to be visiting more of a foreign culture. It’s been jarring to ride the train with a teenage English girl wearing a “California, Est. 1960” shirt (which, no, it was not established then) and see every little boy wearing Pixar paraphernalia. It makes me mourn globalization and the totalizing effect it has on culture.
Anyway, I think it’s also tied to my fear of making a scene and being inconvenient, but if there’s anywhere to try to learn social mores, it’s probably Italy. We already managed to delay the train to Rome for a good five minutes as the conductor helped us get all of our stuff in an accessible car. Besides, we can see St. Peter’s from our terrace! Christopher has been most excited for Rome the whole trip! Our apartment was advertised as a two bedroom, but it effectively is three, so Therese has her own room for the first time ever! I suspect things will look better after a good night’s sleep.