At Long Last, the Conference is Done and Vacation Begins

Well folks, that’s a wrap on the conference. I got up this morning (having slept much better in a new, quieter, room) and packed my bags, leaving them at the desk while I went to the conference.

Following another interesting day of lectures, amusement watching the guards protect the food, and networking, V and I returned to our hotel. We bid farewell, and with that my suitcases and I were on our way.

Yes – I have suitcases. Plural. I prefer to travel with one bag, but I’ve done some shopping while here, and my magical fission suitcase has already split into two.

D arrived this morning and had already been out seeking favorite local food when I met him at the new hotel. We have stayed at this hotel before, but the room this time is rather dissapointing. It is dated, the tile on the floor is very green, and the mattress feels like it is filled with ping pong balls. We hung out for some time, complaining about the room, reconnecting, and discussing our plans. It was already late in the afternoon when I arrived, so with the setting of the sun, we returned to an old favorite restaurant, da Fortunato al Pantheon, which is where we ate during his first visit to Rome.

 

As we walked, D kept asking if we were going the right way. Of course, I insisted. But here’s the thing, Rome really isn’t laid out on a grid, and the streets are narrow and crooked.

 

In the end, I missed a turn on the way, which meant a brief stop in the Piazza Navona.

 

There’s never anything truly wrong with a detour to the Piazza Navona, taking in Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. Last time we were here, it was during the Christmas Market, and I don’t think D fully appreciated this.

As we worked our way to the Pantheon, where we at dinner at da Fortunato, I noted that the crowds in Rome are greater now than I remember when I was here with G a few years ago, and that trip was earlier in the season. Of course it rained quite a bit that week, but still, it is crowded here.

I started with a spritz, my first of the trip, and after a delicious dinner of paccheri all’amatriciana and vitello al tonnato, we stopped for gelato and returned to the hotel.

My real vacation is finally here.

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