Rome – Day 5
1:10pm, McDonald’s, Trastevere, Rome
Well today has been just fabulous. I have been on a wild goose chase for an “occulista” to check my eye. The “ottico” apparently only deals with glasses and contacts. So I waited an absurd amount of time for the bus to Trastevere, got here and couldn’t find it at first. Then I did, but it was one of those locked entrances where you press a button for the person you want to see. I did – no answer. I go inside when someone leaves, go upstairs to find the (locked) office, but no posting of hours or anything. Being 12:15, they’re probably closed for lunch. I even tried calling and could hear their phone ringing from inside, but no answer.
So alas, my pink eye remains undiagnosed. I did some internet research and it looks like I have the mild version – one eye, lots of pink, lots of tearing. Apparently it gets better after a few days but is contagious in the meantime. So I don’t think I really need to see a doctor, but would prefer to for peace of mind.
At any rate, we’re in the midst of a t-storm and it’s pouring rain out. So I’m sitting in a McD’s until it subsides, then I’ll go back to that eye doctor, and then I’m going to see the catacombs. I’m not letting my whole day go to waste!
7:35pm, Prati, Rome
I’m in some random residential area waiting for this restaurant to open. This day has been utter crud, I wasted it trying to get my eye checked, walking in circles, getting caught in the rain. I was finally told to go to the Tiburina Island hospital, where there was in fact an “occulista” – however, the guy at reception didn’t speak English and I totally didn’t understand how it all worked. There was a big enclosed circular desk in the center with several receptionists, so you take a number and wait your turn. Except there were 2 types of numbers, one for reservations and one for payment (??). Didn’t make much sense to me. The place was absolutely packed, so I finally gave up and left.
Feeling discouraged, I canned the catacombs plan… wasn’t in the mood. I wandered around Trastevere looking for this bookstore/cafe but OF COURSE it didn’t open til later, being Monday where stores are closed during the day. Man, all I want to do is crawl in bed with a book right now and not deal with all this. Taking pictures becomes a hassle when wearing glasses. The sun becomes blinding when you’ve got pink eye. It’s suddenly cold and windy and I’m in a tanktop. Ugh… today blows. I cannot wait for Amalfi!
8:55pm, Grotta Azzurra, Rome
Yeah, I obviously couldn’t wait for the place to open – too cold. So instead I took the metro back to the station, stopped at the hostel to grab my sweatshirt, and am now seated in a cute trattoria down the road.
The rest of my afternoon involved walking from Trastevere to north of the Vatican, via an area of the center I hadn’t explored yet. It was actually pretty nice, less chaotic/touristy. Saw some churches and rustic buildings, then ended up on Via del Corso, a long shopping street that was closed off to traffic. It ended at Piazza del Popolo, which I had seem via a lookout above from Villa Borghese. It’s a big open square with, naturally, a fountain and a few churches. The sunlight was hitting all the buildings and statues beautifully at this hour. I inspected the churches on the square. I think I have seen far too many here because the wow-factor is diminishing. That’s a shame, because Rome’s churches are stunning.
OMG, I was just given a jug of TAP WATER without even asking!!! That is amazing! That might be the highlight of my day!
And um, today I’ve consumed a (thin) baguette, 2 rolls, and a basket of bread at dinner. I think I’ve had enough… bread. For dinner I also had delicious spaghetti carbonara (egg/cheese/bacon), then cream/nutella gelato a few blocks down. Mmm.
Other churches seen today:
- Basilica di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
- Chiesa Santa Lucia del Gonfalone
- Chiesa Nuova
- Chiesa di San Antonio dei Portoghesi
- Chiesa di San Girolamo dei Croati
- Basilica di San Giocomo
- Basilica di Santa Maria in Montesanto
- Basilica di Santa Maria del Popolo