Just when I thought God was telling me to slow down a bit, He sends me the “Running Russian.” Okay, so the girl doesn’t actually run, but the new Russian girl who joined our class on Monday had me doing so much walking this afternoon that I feel like I ran a 10K.
After class, she asked if I wanted to go to lunch. Sure. Why not? However, she’s a vegetarian, so we ended up at the same place we ate at on Monday. I couldn’t persuade her to go elsewhere.
She had salad again; I had gnocchi (and a glass of wine).
Then she wanted me to show her where the good shopping was, so we walked up Via del Corso. I made her take a detour down Via dei Condotti, so that I could see the magistral palace of the Order of Malta. You might remember that I saw the magistral villa last weekend. This is the palace, which is where I believe the real work gets down.
This street led us to the Spanish Steps, where I played the part of the tired old lady who needed to rest her feet for a bit. (By contrast, my Russian friend is only 18.)
Then we headed to Villa Borghese. These are gardens north of the city center. They are beautiful and quite extensive. They remind me a bit of the parks in London.
We tried to get into the art museum in Villa Borghese, but they were sold out for the day. We bought tickets for 3:00 tomorrow. (I’m trying to convince her we have to go elsewhere for lunch tomorrow.)
Then we walked across the gardens to get to Piazza del Popolo. There’s a really cool view of St. Peter’s from there.
The gardens are situated up on a hill above the piazza. My Russian friend noticed someone’s note on the pavement below us. Surprisingly, she told me she couldn’t translate the Italian. Based on her questions in class, I thought she understood more than me.
Down in the piazza below we visited Santa Maria del Popolo. It’s known for a couple Caravaggio paintings that (of course) you are not allowed to take pictures of, but it’s a beautiful church, not too big and it has a lot of angel statues.
Then we headed back toward school, but not before stopping off at Giolitti’s for gelato! (Amarena and cocco for me this time)
We arrived at school on time for the “Visita Guidata” (guided tour). Since it was all in Italian, I couldn’t understand it all, but I can tell you that she was talking about Marcus Agrippa, and we finished our walk at the Pantheon, which I always forget is actually a basilica now.
After my Russian friend and I parted ways, I headed homeward, but stumbled once again upon San Luigi dei Francesi, the French church in Rome. However, this time it was open, so I popped in just for a quick bit to discover they were finishing up the mass. In French, of course.
After some quick grocery shopping to finish off my last few days here, I finally headed home. I hadn’t seen the apartment in about 12 hours. I munched on an apple for dinner and chatted with Marcella (in Italian, thank you very much), who was also eating fruit for dinner. Yep, I’m living like a real Italian woman!
And if that wasn’t proof enough of my authentic Roman experience, my laundry is currently hanging outside on the clothesline!