Pick-A-Day

September 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Archives

My 2017 Western America Tour: Cheerful Colorado History (Not)

When initially planning my trip, I had envisioned going from the Great Sand Dunes to Laramie, Wyoming, taking the mountain route: The Rockies are a dramatic backdrop and there are lots of trails to hike and things to do.

The problem was, I couldn’t identify anything specific that I wanted to do – and instead realized that I could visit southeastern Colorado instead, a part of the world I’d never been to. There I quickly sketched out a trip that involved, as I came to think of it, Cheerful Colorado History.

Ludlow Memorial

Yes, I visited the Ludlow Labor Massacre memorial, the Hastings Mine Explosion memorial, the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, and the Amache Japanese Internment Camp. Given that I was there, I also visited the Koshare Indian Museum and Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site.

Ludlow Memorial

My first stop was the Ludlow Labor Massacre memorial, where, on April 20, 1914, the Colorado National Guard, along with company guards, shot up and killed a number of people. Including a 3-month-old baby, Elvira Valdez, and several other of the younger set, a total of 39 people were killed.

Ludlow Memorial

As I understand it, the memorial is located directly above a pit where 11 children and two women suffocated to death while the tent above them burned.

This is sobering stuff: man’s inhumanity toward man seems to know no bounds.

After absorbing the memorial, I headed a few miles west to the Hastings Mine Explosion memorial, which marks the death of 121 coal miners on April 21, 1917 – just 100 years ago this year.

Hastings mine explosion memorial

The memorial, a simple stone marker, is off to the side of the road, up a pretty canyon.

Hastings mine explosion memorial

Again, I paused to reflect on the advances we’ve made – and those we have not.

From there, I was off to La Junta – it’s a long, boring, drive, with not much to break up the monotony of southeastern Colorado. There’s a reason most of you have never visited or given it a second thought.

La Junta, where I paused for two nights, is an otherwise unremarkable city – functional in the ways it ought to be. The Koshare Indian Museum is an interesting collection, but, given that it forms the basis of a boy scout dance troop, I suspect Native Americans are not all that happy with its existence and cooptation of cultural traditions. Bent’s Old Fort was an interesting wander, killing an hour or so.

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site

The next day was – for southeastern Colorado – action packed.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

After breakfasting at Copper Kitchen (has a great reputation; seemed fine to me) I headed out to the (nearby) Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site: 93 miles, 100 minutes, including about 8.5 miles of dirt roads.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

It’s the kind of place where people know you’re coming from miles – and so when I parked, the Park Ranger was waiting for me. A very nice woman, she introduced me to the site, told me I could drive up to the overlook, or I could walk – but that if I chose to walk, I needed to be aware of the rattlesnakes.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

I chose to walk.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

On November 29, 1864, and despite waving a white flag of truce, plains Indians were slaughtered and their bodies desecrated – and that’s a very limited, sanitized, outline of what happened.

Yet again, this is a case of white privilege and ego-centrism coming to the fore.

It’s sobering to realize that the US is not done creating sites that will one day be national memorials marking (yet) another occasion where somebody with excessive white privilege took it upon themselves to tell others that they are superior.

I left the site for Granada, Colorado, home of Amache. It’s an hour long drive where you can think about what you’ve just seen – 19th century white fear of Indians – and what you’re on your way to see – 20th century white fear of Japanese descendants. Unless, like me, you manage to kill a bird along the way, in which case you’ll spend 5 or 10 minutes wondering if the bird damaged your rental car (it hadn’t).

Amache: Granada Relocation Center

In Granada, I got lucky: the Amache museum was open; the teacher was showing the coming school year’s students around the museum. He left to drive them back to school and left me to wander the museum. It starts with a copy of the order excluding US citizens of Japanese descent from the west coast and ends with a copy of a speech by FDR in which he talks about everybody being Americans with equal rights, regardless of their ethnicity. Nice.

Amache: Granada Relocation Center

From there I drove over to the actual internment camp – listening to the audio tour that I had downloaded. I rolled down my windows, turned off the AC, and drove down streets, pausing to look. I was supposed to get out and explore the site, but wearing shorts and sandals, I decided that I didn’t want to fight the weeds to examine foundation remnants too closely.

Amache: Granada Relocation Center

America – despite its promises – can be an asshole.

Amache: Granada Relocation Center

There are so many low-lights in American history that we do not talk about often enough – it’s a stark contrast, in some respects, to Germany: Germany did wrong during World War II – and it acknowledges it. America did a lot of little things wrong, but fixates only on when it got things right instead.

Heading back west toward La Junta – and the Arkansas Valley Fair in Rocky Ford – it’s easy to want to forget. But with Donald Trump in office, it’s important that we never forget.

Eclipse: One heavenly body in front of another…

2017 Solar Eclipse: Totality

Last Monday, like many other people, I found myself in the path of totality – in my case, Glendo, Wyoming.

Glendo, population 200, is the first real city (ha!) one encounters driving north along I-25 from Cheyenne that was in totality. Thus, this is where we, and 20,000 of our closest friends got off the highway to watch the eclipse.

2017 Solar Eclipse: Looking up...

I could spend a lot of time talking about the spiritual experience of watching a total eclipse in person, but I’m not that kind of guy. It was an amazing experience, no doubt: the way the quality of light changed, the way temperatures dropped in the last 20-25 minutes prior to totality, and how beautiful it was to stare at the sun’s edges. My vantage point behind the gas station let me enjoy it with people nearby, but in an otherwise uncrowded area.

2017 Solar Eclipse: Totality

But the fact is, many people have written lengthy books about this experience and I lack the ability to convey the experience in a more meaningful way.

2017 Solar Eclipse: Howard's in Glendo

So, what I want to say is that Wyoming did an amazing job of hosting its visitors. I haven’t seen any final numbers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the state had close to a million visitors – an impressive number for a state that normally hosts about half a million citizens. Traffic was incredibly slow, but the state troopers and local police were out in force, directing it as efficiently as they could.

2017 Solar Eclipse: Totality

Although I read that one person was killed – nowhere near where I was – I never saw an accident: Wyoming’s guests were almost as well behaved in driving as its police forces were in hosting.

About the only thing I remain upset about is the fact that the Radisson Hotel Cheyenne cancelled my reservation.  It is, apparently, managed by an incompetent, lying, nincompoop. I’m also extremely disappointed in Booking.com’s inability to admit their incompetence and to apologize meaningfully.

Where I’m not staying because they cancelled my reservation: Radisson Hotel Cheyenne

Radisson Hotel Cheyenne - A Hotel to Avoid.

The Radisson Hotel Cheyenne: Cancels Reservations Because they can.

Normally I would not choose to visit the US during August, but this year, I am. Like thousands of others, I want to see the eclipse on Monday, August 21st.

But a wrench was thrown into my plans by the Radisson Hotel Cheyenne after they cancelled my reservation for the evening of August 20th — the night before the eclipse.

Understand that I planned ahead. I made my reservation more than nine months in advance. On November 13, 2016, I examined my options on Booking.com and chose the Radisson Hotel Cheyenne. As I am a frequent user of Booking.com, I was offered a “Booking Genius” rate of $86.90, including tax. The reservation was confirmed and guaranteed with a credit card. I was given the option to cancel for free, as long as said cancellation was made on or before July 20, 2017.

On July 18, 2017, Booking.com sent me an email reminding me of the penalty-free cancellation deadline.

Then on August 11, 2017, Booking.com informed me via email that the “Radisson Hotel Cheyenne is unable to accommodate your reservation” due to overbooking.

The alternative offered was the Estes Park Resort in Estes Park, Colorado, which is not really a realistic substitute for Cheyenne, Wyoming. The alternative hotel, in addition to be almost two hours from Cheyenne, is $319.49, with taxes, for one night. While Booking.com is willing to pay the difference in price between the two rates, this, of course, does not account for the additional expenses related to fuel and getting up substantially earlier in order to make it to totality in time.

I’ve complained about this on TripAdvisor in order warn other travelers about the shittiness of the Radisson Hotel Cheyenne and its propensity to cancel reservations – and the manager responded,

I am sorry for these circumstances. Your reservation wasn’t actually cancelled. Unfortunately, your reservation did not properly transfer into our system. There is an active investigation occurring between the booking channel and our brand to determine exactly what happened. The situation is beyond our control and as soon as we realized there was an issue, we reached out to all entities to try to resolve it as quickly as possible. I realize this doesn’t help you because there are no rooms available in the area but please know that we don’t cancel reservations based on rate and if I could accommodate your reservation, I absolutely would.

Yours in Hospitality,

Jennifer Walker
General Manager

So… short summary: never reserve a room at a Radisson – whether in Cheyenne or elsewhere – and never use Booking.com.

My 2017 Western America Tour: Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes National Park

I’ve been trying to route myself through the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve for a few years, but the trips have never quite worked out.

The goal was to find out if it is as awesome as an adult as it was when I was a kid.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Short Answer: Yes!

Long Answer: Next time I am going to time the trip so that I can get there when the sun is coming up and before it gets hot.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

I arrived at the park at about 10:00 on Tuesday – and although I had over a half liter of water on me, I decided to heed the warning signs that the sand gets hot. Because I was not wearing the recommended shoes – my comfortable sandals instead – ultimately I only hiked out to the first rise in the sand, where I watched people slide down and surf down the dunes for a while, before heading back to my car.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Along the way I got to listen to a woman and a man argue: she wanted to see the dunes, he wanted her to see the view from the top. He was carrying only a camera, she was slightly heavy and wearing a small backpack. They had quite the argument – I suspected she was right; the man appeared to have zero water on him. Later, as I started back to the car, I noticed that she was coming down, without the man; I thought about tell her that I admired her, but instead I kept my mouth shut.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

It’s easy to tell that the best times to be there are as the sun comes up (when it’s cool and you have time to hike to the top of the dunes before it gets hot) or in the evening as the skies turn red and shadows play across the dunes.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Next time…

My 2017 Western America Tour: New Mexico

I’m now just over a week into my tour of Western America – last Wednesday I flew from Berlin to Albuquerque. The day was long: I woke up at 04:00 for a 06:45 flight, connecting in Frankfurt and Houston, with a reasonable connection in Frankfurt and an excessively long one in Houston. Ultimately, I got to Albuquerque on time at 18:45ish, but then proceeded to argue with the car rental agency.

I’d reserved an intermediate car – and when I got there, I specifically told the guy I must have a trunk. I said it several times, but… alas, they were out of my type of car and they had exactly to options for me. The first was an “upgrade” to an SUV, the other was a Mustang – but the Mustang would cost me $17 extra per day because it was a lot better than the SUV. I pointed out that if I got an SUV, I should get a discount because SUVs have terrible fuel efficiency. I think the guy wanted to go on break so he finally offered me a Ford something – a basic car. Not knowing what it was, I accepted it went out and discovered it was a fucking hatchback. Something I specifically did not want. I went to a different person who typed on his keyboard for about five minutes and then gave me a VW Jetta. It had a trunk. It was perfect.

Albuquerque is an interesting city; I could say a lot about it, but I will keep it short. I stayed with a distant cousin and spent my days wandering alone (Thursday) and with a cousin-in-law (Friday). Both days were good: Thursday I did a bit of shopping and then wandered Old Town. I also visited a museum that was good, but the guy at the front desk told me it was impossible for me to see the museum without me telling him where I live. This caused me to blow my top and it probably took me 20 minutes to calm down – and since the museum is apparently run by an arm of the US Stasi, I won’t tell you which museum it was. Friday was a journey to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center – the visit was awesome – and the Turquoise Museum – which was stunningly good. More amazing, the Turquoise Museum has been in Albuquerque for 25 years and my (extremely well connected) cousins had never heard of it!

Pantry Restaurant: Huevos Consuelo

Huevos Consuelo at the Pantry Restaurant in Santa Fe; a great start to Sunday morning!

The plan for Friday night was killed by rain: I’d hoped to see an Albuquerque Isotopes game, but it was cancelled.  Then, on Saturday, after hitting up the Saturday Market, I headed north to Santa Fe in order to see art by Kent Monkman (if I had a spare $170,000, I’d be in heaven) at the Peter’s Project and to eat dinner at Maria’s, an amazing Mexican restaurant I first ate at in the 1980s.

Route 68 to Taos

I wish I could tell you exactly where I took this photo, but it was closer to Taos than Santa Fe and it was a picnic area by the highway. This is why I love The West.

Sunday marked new territory: Taos.

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo — Certainly a pretty setting.

I’m not quite clear how I’ve overlooked Taos. The city has a huge reputation for being a great place to visit, but my parents never took me when I was a kid and it just never worked into my previous travel plans. A slight mistake – I spent two nights wandering the area, having a splendid time. My hotel was across the street from Michael’s Kitchen, which is one of my Mom’s favorite restaurants and is as old as I am.

Taos Pueblo

One of the doors in the Taos Pueblo.

Monday, I started at the Taos Pueblo – paying $16 for the privilege. I then donated $5 to a tour guide who explained life in the Pueblo. It was a beautiful space and I am super happy that I got there when the place opened and took the first tour, before it got busy. There might not have been many shops open, but I did end up buying a pretty suave tote bag with a beautiful buffalo motif stamped on both sides of it.

Taos Pueblo

The changing light on the Taos Pueblo makes for fantastic photos. And art.

Later, after stopping by the Martinez Hacienda, I went to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge – which is, essentially, a popular bridge to walk across that is, perhaps, slightly too narrow (in my opinion) to carry both heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffics. I walked a short distance on to the bridge, holding on to the handrail before taking a few snaps over the edge and turning around to the edge. While I was walking back a heavy truck drove across the bridge and the resulting vibrations were a bit too much for me; I was glad I was close to getting off of the bridge and not out in the middle.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

That’s the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge!

With that, I went back to my hotel and got ready for Tuesday’s adventure: The Great Sand Dunes.

View from Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

This is what the bridge goes over….

Watching what YouTube tells me to watch: Mormon Missionary Call Videos

A couple months ago, YouTube started recommending to me that I watch Mormon Missionary Surprise videos. For a week or two, I was addicted.

Basically, the genre works like this: some kid (and by kid, I mean guy aged 18 or girl aged 19), has received their letter from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is ready to open the letter. Many of the videos feature large crowds of people – various relatives and friends – gathered together to watch the event. Before the opening of the letter, the camera asks people to guess where their relative/friend is going and they make wild guesses. Then the letter is opened, a bit of shuffling of papers, and then the kid reads aloud the letter, revealing to everybody where they are going and what language they will be preaching the gospel in.

Then there are the slight twists – like when multiple family members open their mission calls at the same time.

Naturally, Mormons like to pull pranks and there’s nothing more fun than giving your best friend a Call to some place improbable, like Antarctica:

Or maybe even Middle Earth:

What I’ve actually come away with is not something on my sarcastic side, but rather how valuable this experience is for people: individuals unlikely to leave home are compelled – for reasons of religion – to go forth for 18 to 24 months and live away from their parents. The Mormon religion seems to really value family and togetherness, so this forced departure from the nest is probably actually really valuable.

CSD 2017 – Before the Rain

A man painted in the rainboy colors, wearing green underwear, holidng a sigh, "Oh happy gay"

Rainbows abound at CSD

Saturday was CSD / Gay Pride / in Berlin. One of my work colleagues joined me for the parade; we got there maybe 15-20 minutes too late to get the perfect seats, but it was good enough and as the parade went by, I got claim the spot I actually wanted – standing on top of the crash barrier next to Klieststraße.

Sign that says, "If Harry Potter taught us anything, it's that no one deserves to live in a closet!"

A thoughtful thought about Harry Potter and closets.

The first three hours of the parade were perfect: perfect weather, perfect floats, perfection.

A man in a knitted rainbow dress!

Fabulous Dress!

But there were clouds gathering and at 3 hours in, the rain started getting serious – we fled to stand under a nearby store’s awning, where we waited for a good 15-20 minutes watching the city get drenched. There were some very wet boys coming down the street, shirts sticking tight to their chests.

Man in black leather police outfit, with a white tie.

I doubt he’s a real police officer.

After the rain let up, we headed back to our neighborhood, where we cozied up with warm beverages and light nibbles. While we were warming up, at least two more serious storms pummeled the great outdoors. Then, when it paused again, we paid and went home. The three minutes to her door were fine. The next 90 seconds, between her door and mine – the umbrella came out again.

Man in a white dress with an enormous circumference.

this is more beautiful that i can explain.

I must say that one of the greatest feelings in this world is that moment you remove your feet from wet socks.

Young man offering Free Hugs!

One of many young men offering free hugs!

Just thinking about it reminds me how good it felt.

A huge set of angel wings!

What a fabulous look!

Not that I need to repeat the experience again any time soon.

The full photo set can be seen on my Flickr, here.

Flashing back to Vancouver at Ostkreuz.

Two Construction Workers standing on top of a roof at Berlin Ostkreuz

Yesterday I was out at the Ostkreuz train station – a part of Berlin that I rarely visit because it’s not really between home and work. It’s not actually a place worth avoiding, rather my commute and regular habits really do not involve heading that direction.

But I was out there to meet somebody. The area is a bit messy because the Ostkreuz train station is under construction, with lots of fencing, a lot of incomplete structures, and a lot of dust.

So I as I emerged from the station, I happened to look up and notice that a couple of construction workers were standing on top of some structure, surveying the crowd. I immediately had a flashback to one of my first trips to Vancouver, British Columbia.

While there, I was walking past a construction site when a couple of workers came out and started walking in front of me. I did not object: these men were incredibly attractive in that muscular, hard hat, skin showing, let me lick the sweat from your body kind of way.

Needless to say, my walking pace matched theirs as they made there was down the street, and I was rewarded with one of my favorite overhead things – this hunky construction worker was telling his buddy that he liked downtown construction sites.

“After work, at the bar, there are all these hot women in business suits and they all want to fuck.”

In my mind, the guys surveying the crowd were talking about the people they could pick up – although upon examining my photo more closely, one was checking something out on his smartphone, while the other was vaping.

Actually not all that different from what people at my office do when taking breaks.

A quick trip to Washington…

Last weekend I made a quick — four night — trip to Washington, D.C.  The goal was to attend the 2017 Equality March.

Adam in front of the White House during the 2017 Equality March.

Although I’ve become quiet politically, I still have strong opinions about being liberal. With the election of Donald Trump, I’ve decided that silence isn’t appropriate at this point in time.  Trump is going to prove to be the worst president that the the US has ever had. As was pointed out by Nancy Pelosi, Trump is going to self-impeach. Unfortunately that will leave us with President Pence, whose chief virtues are that he isn’t Trump and that he understands that nuclear war is bad.

Enola Gay

Enola Gay – I’ve been to Hiroshima and Tinian; now I’ve seen the plane that connected the two.

Given that I was going to D.C., I packed in as much as I could: a trip to the Air and Space Musuem’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a Washington Nationals baseball game (my first baseball game in America in about a decade — the Nationals ), the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, a wander down the National Mall to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as well as some shopping.

Space Shuttle Discovery

Underbelly of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Some of the planes at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Of course, there was also the Equality March. Which was worth it, despite it being 34° out — 93F. Before the march started, I was in the hotel lobby pondering what to do about water, when a grandmotherly type walked past and told me, “hydrate, be sure you hydrate.”

2017 Equality March - Washington DC

2017 Equality March - Washington DC

2017 Equality March - Washington DC

2017 Equality March - Washington DC

I was also joined — as planned — by friends, including two bloggers (who don’t blog any more, not that I really blog that much). Then, after they left, I discovered that another friend happened to be in town. He’d been unaware of the march and was surprised to stumble upon it.  We ended up having dinner and wandering through DC for a bit.

Washington Monument

I found the shadow of the Washington Monument to provide relief from the relentless sunshine. It was hot Monday morning!

Although the trip was short, it was by far one of the best long weekends that I have had in recent years.

Vietnam Wall Memorial

I think the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is probably the most powerful and effective memorial on the National Mall. It’s probably the only memorial that I’ve visited on every single trip I’ve ever made to D.C.

Roman Around… Rome

A couple weekends ago, I escaped Berlin to Rome – my first visit to Italy and, naturally, my first visit to the Vatican City.

It was a short, four-night trip, with a lot of activities crammed in. Perhaps too many activities, but ultimately I think that I saw everything that one stereotypically goes to Rome to see: The Vatican, The Coliseum, and the Spanish Steps.

Rome from Bramante Staircase

Rome from Bramante Staircase

Friday morning started early with the Extended Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums Tour with Bramante Staircase and St. Peter’s Basilica tour. What we’d forgotten is that the tour is scheduled to last 4.5 hours. And it really lasted, I believe, just over five hours.

Bramante Staircase

Bramante Staircase

Our tour guide was excellent: An art historian, his instinct was to view the Vatican museums through the prism of art techniques lost and regained, pointing out the importance of perspective in the paintings, as well as the importance of sources of light. It made for a quite interesting tour as it relegated the tedious Catholicism stuff to secondary discussions. Certainly I came away from the tour knowing more about Catholics – one cannot help but learn about St. Peter – but what I really learned is that the Christians managed to forget a whole lot of artistic techniques that needed to be re-learned after they took over, and that it took a few hundred years to do so.

St. Peter's

St. Peter’s

The tour included “exclusive” behind the scenes access to the Bramante Staircase, which included, to be frank, excellent views of Rome.

Our guide’s talks certainly helped me understand the context – because generally speaking, my understanding of art (and, in particular, Christian art) tends to be pretty superficial. About the only thing I would have changed was the timing of the lecture about the Sistine Chapel: it happened long before we got there (probably an hour, if not 90 minutes), meaning that by the time we got there, I’d forgotten a lot of detail. And we only had ten minutes in the Sistine Chapel. In theory, people are supposed to be silent in the Sistine Chapel. In reality, I felt like I was in the Spanish Infanta episode of Blackadder, when the officials would shout “SILENCE, SILENCIO,” and so on into their microphones.

Largo di Torre Argentina

Largo di Torre Argentina: A cat sanctuary.

After leaving the Vatican, we grabbed lunch, and then wandered some more: Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Largo di Torre Argentina, the Typewriter, and, last but not least, Fontana di Trevi.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain: Look at all those people! And it’s MARCH!

It was somewhere in there that I think I maxed out: ready to call it quits. We did push on and take a look at Trevi fountain – or, rather, the crowds surrounding Trevi fountain – before deciding to go back to our hotel. But then we made one more push to actually look at the fountain.

Trevi Fountain

Oh yes, and Trevi Fountain. No need to visit again.

If this is Rome in the low season, I hesitate to imagine what it must be like in the high season.

Coliseum

Coliseum from the stage.

Saturday we had a tour of the Coliseum, thankfully starting at 11:40, which meant we got to sleep in. This tour was the Colosseum, Dungeons & Upper Ring plus Ancient Rome tour – a mere 3.5 hours. Not so long, which was better for the feet. Unfortunately, the guide was not nearly as good as the first guide. He didn’t really have a comprehensive plan for the tour, which resulted in a slightly disjointed and self-interrupted tour. I ended up not listening to everything and instead imagined that I was Romulus, sucking at the teat of my Momma Wolf.

Coliseum

Coliseum from the third ring.

The coliseum, itself, was impressive: with our tour, we got into the backstage (or, rather, understage) areas as well as up to the third ring.

We left the tour and wandered off to the neighborhood of Testaccio, where we were scheduled to take the Testaccio Supper Stroll – but with an awkward amount of time to fill. Finding a café, we split a small sandwich and relaxed for a bit.

The Testaccio Supper Stroll was excellent – a group of ten, we went to six different restaurants/spots where we sampled a variety of foods and enjoyed a number of adult beverages. The tour guide was excellent – a local – he kept the group together. I think that it helped tremendously that the group got along. I found everybody fun to talk to, especially the two diplomats.

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps from above

Sunday was the day for the Spanish Steps and wandering the city. I was, to put it mildly, a bit worn down. I ended up reading in the Park Borghese before returning to my hotel for an afternoon nap, and then another short wander.

Rome!

A ruin in Park Borghese

Monday was the opposite: I went off and my partner in crime took a nap. I ended up back in Testaccio where I invested in some lovely Italian meats and wandered for awhile. Eventually I headed back to the airport and back to reality.

Rome was worth it.