Rome is quite a hard city - no compromises for the halt and lame. Beggars outside every church and dotted along the pavements. Some adopt pious attitudes - as if in silent prayer all day. Some just rattle a tin at you. Some hobble about on crutches, with their palsy or staggering or shaking as their main proposal. There are masses and masses and masses of Indian umbrella-sellers, who appear as if by magic at the first spot of rain.
The traffic is nothing like a scary as we had been led to expect - in fact, if you try to cross somewhere, the cars will mostly make way for you. The parking is hilarious - higgledy-piggledy does not describe it. The River Tiber, deep in its ancient channel, is garlanded with lovely plane trees - not the London plane, I think - but something with a small bark-patterning. Most of the leaves are still on.
The universal tourist map does have bus numbers and routes on it, but the typography is very old fashioned and difficult to identify. Still, we are getting to grips with metro and bus (despite Andrew's mugging).
Where do you start in such a place. We got to the Pantheon - and OMIGOD!!!!!!! Thank you, universe, just for letting me see this one remarkable building. it survives from the days of Hadian because someone said the Christians could have it as a church - so it was not ransacked like most of the other antiquities which were mosly (let's face it) quarries for later generations. It was actually raining while we were there, so we could observe the drifts of raindrops falling in from the great oculus in the ceiling. That is the only light and ventilation in the temple. The walls are 20' thick so windows would have been useless..... They say, it could not now be built using the original materials, as the skills have been lost. A marvel.
We walked and walked, had lunch in an ok place, walked and walked, found the S Maria sopra Minerva to see the Fre Filippino Lippi altarpiece (so beautful and a nice little earner as you have to keep putting a euro in the meter to turn the lighting on). We escaped the rain by going into the Galleria Doria Pamphilij - swoon, swoon...... how lovely, still in private ownership, stuffed to the ceiling with treasures - Titian, Caravaggion, Breughel, Lippi, Berenini, on and on - the portrait by Velasquez of the family Pope I did once see in London - and here it sits next to the Bernini portrait bust - at home, as it were.... astonishing. Oh I loved it.
Back to the flat - via a dentist!!!! He recommended I have the root canal taken out - was going to charge me nothing but we paid anyway - a nice man, anglophile and fluent in English, and just 100m from our apartment. Today I have called in to see him again for a prescription for antibiotics, as the inflammation and pain have not really diminished overnight. Itàs a sunny morning, we have come to Trasvetere to mooch. I am in a teeshirt (all the locals in thick jackets). These postings will be short as I have to write while online....