Monday, July 20, 2009

2008 Winter in Rome Day 2

Day 2 8th Dec

Pope at the Spagna on immaculate Concepcion

Today is a special holiday , celebrating the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Our goal is to be at the Spagna at 4pm, where the Pope will present flowers at the base of the statue Mary.

From our apartment, we checked out the Pantheon. Not surprisingly, it’s closed to the public as a mass was in progress. Ditto for Santa Maria S Minerva but there was no worry since the apartment is just steps from the 2 sites. We walked eastwards past Piazza Rotanda and visited Sant Ignazio. It is a very beautiful church and moved me beyond words. Next stop was Trevi fountain and as usual, it is full of people. Police stood nearby armed with whistles if you go beyond the perimeter of the fountain.

San Crispino gelateria was off the Trevi fountain in a non-descript lane. As a must-eat item, we had 3 tubs of gelato and had the use of their fancy bathroom. The pistachio gelato is my favorite but the other 2 members prefer the honey flavor. We trudged towards the Spagna and already police are cordoning off the area in preparation for the Pope’s visit. We hang around the Spanish steps which is a couple of meters away from the statue but got bored waiting. We walked towards Piazza Popolo ( via del Babuino ) but the crowd made the short walk a long long. We all had sandwiches ( €3 ), seated on the steps of one of the ‘twin churches’ facing the square.

3pm and we made our way back towards the Spagna and ended up in stationary shop, Vertecchi, located in Via Croce. I bought a beautiful made in Germany fountain pen, encrusted with Swarzoski crystal for €45 as a PSLE present for Hope. At 3.50pm, we became one of the 20,000 people at Spagna, cheering for the Pope and soaking in the atmosphere. Ah! What a great country!

Starlings constellation near the Vatican

Walking towards the Tiber river on Via Fontanella , we looked out for the swarms of starlings forum posters mentioned and fretted whether we will be victims of biological bombardment. Since we were “unattacked”, it was a sight to behold and reminds me of shoals of fishes. I would hate my car to be under the sky formation though!

It’s almost 6 pm and we ended up at Campo de Fiori. Most trattorias do not seem to be ready for dinner. We had a simple meal near Argentina of suppli and pizza before heading home to rest our very tired feet.

That night, our landlord, Emmanuel came by to teach us how to use the gas stove and convinced us the apartment is not as cold as it felt. Nice guy.

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