Ostia, Men’s Underwear and There are No Shortcuts – Rome Day 5

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View from the fourth floor of an apartment house in Ostia Antica. Looking down at George standing in the street below. No penthouse living in the olden times. Poor folks lived on the top – no fire escapes, plus hot in summer, cold in winter.


Today was such a gift – we didn’t have to get up and meet anyone at a certain time. The guides have been great, and we have learned much more than when we did it on our own, but it can be a bit rough getting up in the morning.

Today we go to Ostia Antica, which I have wanted to do for at least 15 years. It was located on the mouth of the Tiber River and was both a military protection location (keep sea invaders from coming up the river to Rome) and a commercial port to provide goods to Rome.

Ostica is very well preserved. The harbor of the Tiber River had silted in over the years and gently buried the city in mud. Which preserved it very well, indeed. This working city of 60,000 is all there. Roofs are gone, and the interior goods were looted and/or removed, but you can walk the streets, go through residential neighborhoods and get a real feel for an authentic ancient city. Let the imagination run free and it is easy to feel like an ancient Roman. In the Middle Ages, squatters lived in the shells of the old city, in parts that weren’t yet buried.

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Rome Day Two – How Free is Free?

Walking to our free group tour of Rome. Such a beautiful walk, even though we had occasional bursts of rain. Nothing like yesterday, however!

We awoke to more rain, but at least it wasn’t another 12 inches.  The television stations are all in Italian, but it was obvious that 12 inches was big news.  It really threw me that it was raining.  I didn’t not pack for rain.  This is Italy, land of sun, grapes and vine-ripened tomatoes.  Oregonians have rain, we have so much that we even name a vicious killer football team after a waddling bird with webbed feet.  I did not pack for rain, and I’m feeling a bit cheated.  This is a not a replay of our cold Siberian/Asian vacation, is it?

Due to jet lag and all the naps while waiting out the rain yesterday, I woke up at 3 am and tried to figure out why I was having so many computer email troubles.  Sadly, I think part of my troubles was the wine and food consumption from the night before.  “Get a grip and get back on plan” I muttered to myself – and the day did go much better food wise.  

Our last big visit to Rome had been ten years ago.  We have had a couple of really short visits while in transit to other locations, but not to stay.  Roman history is my love, and I have a list of places to see again to cover more in depth, and new places to go.  While compiling my list of sites, I had come across a “free” walking tour of Rome.  Free is a very good price, so I reserved our spots for today and figured we could drop out if it was a scam.

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We’re Wet – But Who Cares We are in Rome!

Note: This is a trip we took to Rome in 2017. Chronicling our trips has always been fun, and this is my travel diary from visiting my favorite city.

Day One – Travel to Rome!

It is so much work to get ready to leave and have a good time.  There always seems to be a point when I wonder if it is worth it.  I have to say, this trip is so exciting to me that the thought was only an occasional flitter.  I’m pinching myself that I’m writing this as we wing our way over the Atlantic.  Woo hoo!

We weren’t woo hooing at 2:30 am this morning.  We had to be at the airport at 4 am, and it is an hour’s drive.  George is a man who likes his sleep and the poor guy had to work late and didn’t get home until 11 pm.  He got about two and a half hours sleep.  As I hadn’t had time to pack all week, I laid down at 1:30 am and popped back up at 2:30.  Let’s just say there wasn’t any joyous happy dances or marital hugs and kisses.  George’s longest sentence was “Did you feed the cats?”  I grunted in response.

Best Friend Hall of Fame Award goes to our friend Cheryl, who drove with us to the airport at that ungodly hour so we wouldn’t have to leave our truck at the airport.  That woman is going to find a special place in Heaven.  

George has turned the corner into the Old Man Driving Time of Life.  I have formally moved from Back Seat Driver to full-fledged Medusa.  As a graduate of the Shrew School for Back Seat Drivers, I have honed the fine art of shrieking and screaming repetitive little ditties like “We are going to DIE! “ And the ever-popular “This is a 55 mph zone, could we go faster than 20?”

We took the truck so Cheryl can borrow it to get her husband to take some loads to the dump while we are away.  They usually borrow the truck when we are gone, and she knows the first load to the dump will come from the inside of what George has left in the truck.  An ardent supporter of the Let Litter Live movement, he believes all garbage has the right to live free, and will forever have a a home in whatever vehicle he is driving.  Cleaning his car is like going on an archeological dig.  When he realized Cheryl was going to drive the truck, he did fill up a garbage bag and removed enough that we could find the seats.  At three this morning, I was wearing a gas mask and towel, trying to wipe the seat free of granola, dog food and bananas.  

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