This is the 10th of a series of posts recalling my trip to Europe, using e-mails sent at the time. Unlike later trips, I didn’t e-mail people everyday. Trip reports are largely as I wrote them at the time with two exceptions: 1. I was usually pretty rushed due to Internet fees in Europe, so I’ve cleaned up my e-mails to make them more coherent, which wasn’t a priority at the time. Also, in some blog posts I’ll add additional thoughts with the hindsight of nine years later or to add further clarification. I’ll use “NOW” in such cases.
This 10th report covered Rome & Area day 4 (Rome and especially Ostia Antica). Also a few references to things that happened previously in Rome.
I've paid for an hour this evening so anyone wanting to catch me online can do so until 7:40 pm (10:40 am PST). I wanted to mail some excess stuff so hunted down a post office, they didn't have any envelopes (unsurprising given the size) and had no idea where I could buy envelopes (that I did find surprising).
[NOW: Not sure at what part of the day this occurred.]
I also had to deal with a forceful roommate a couple nights ago. I woke up from a sleep and he was quite forceful in demanding where I wanted the lights off (yes or no) and wouldn't let me answer with any other words. What I was trying to tell him of course was that having just *woken up* I actually needed a few seconds to decide (imagine that).
[NOW: This was something I forgot to mention in a previous report. Unfortunately so much time has passed that I can’t recall if this in fact happened on day 2 or another day.]
I spent a good part of the day, after visiting Roman baths near the train station briefly, in the Roman ghost town Ostia Attica. The key word here is "town". It took around 3 ½ hours to explore, and mainly that because some spots had aerial views so I could cut down the time a bit. I took over 100 pictures there. Was more selective near the end because things did start to get repetitious (the only real flaw of the place is just that: every a couple of hours everything starts to look more alike). I also made friends with a cat there.
[NOW: Keep in mind that in 2002 I was still using a film camera. not digital, so that was roughly three or four rolls of film. Nowadays I’d likely taken thousands of photos there.]
I forgot to mention previously: there was also a cat cleaning itself at the Coliseum. The tradition of cats in the Roman arena continues on, albeit a bit smaller than they used to be. Also, I had an unenviable debate with a Dutch guy a couple days ago where I found myself defending McDonald's (my view is that yes it's not fine cuisine but that it serves a particular purpose well).
[NOW: The cat story mentioned above must have happened on day 1 because that’s when I visited the Coliseum. I can’t recall if the dinner debate happened on the same night as the lights situation or another night.]
But definitely the ruins today were great. And only E4. Easily the best deal in town; if you had to choose between the free Roman forum and this, this would be your better bet.
I bought a ticket for Venice this evening.