Rome Wasn’t Built/Traversed in a Day
Travel is not inherently exciting unless the person doing the traveling undergoes some kind of a massive disaster en route. Therefore it is with mixed feelings that I report that I arrived in Rome without any particularly massive calamities. Such a pity, since I think this report would benefit highly if, say, my plane had been forced to land due to inclement weather in Greenland (having been blown far off course) or I’d been attacked upon my arrival by a particularly viscous bowl of gelato.
As it is, we arrived precisely as planned. Our biggest concern was hiding my pregnancy, actually. Yes, it is perfectly fine for women in their seventh month to surf the great blue yonder. But there are certain airport types who grow concerned when they see you. They may be convinced that in spite of your protestations of heath and wellness, you’re just harboring that unborn baby with intent to unexpectedly give birth somewhere over the mid-Atlantic. Dastardly. That’s pregnant women for you. So they feel it their obligation to grill you intensely beforehand, just so that you’re absolutely, 100%, no doubt in your mind POSITIVE that going into labor isn’t on the menu in the next 24 hours.
I say all of this with some uncertainty because in truth I never had to face this scrutiny. I had heard stories before my trip and decided to hide the bump as best I could. This is easy for New Yorkers. Since half of our closet contents wouldn’t be out of place in a funeral setting, slimming black is just part and parcel of the package. I’ve a shirt (a pre-pregnancy shirt, no less) that when worn correctly can at least draw the eye away from the offending area. Wear a light jacket over that and voila! Instant disguise.
Before (with jacket):
After (without jacket):
In any case, I needn’t have worried. With the possible exception of the waitress at the airport restaurant Firkin & Fox (a place that sounded to us like nothing so much as little old lady/Yosemite Sam-type expletives) no one as of right now has even noticed that I am pregnant. In the whole of Rome I am the only pregnant tourist I’ve seen, and yet I blend in with the general pack of Americans like a fish in a school.
We arrived without incident (and a mere two hours sleep), dropped off our bags at the hotel, and hit the town. What kind of mischief can a pregnant lady in her 7th month do? Well, we walked to the Coliseum, saw the ancient city, took a tour bus around town (twice by accident), saw the Trevi fountain, and visited the Spanish Steps. Rather than bore you with standard tourist pictures, however, here are some of the stranger highlights of the day:
- Crazy tiny chained cars without doors.
- Flashdance the Musical (in Italian!)
- Natives who are visibly insulted when a bus tries NOT to kill them (this is the view from my tour bus)
- Orange trees on city streets (which seem a terrible idea to me in terms of cleanup alone).
- And more scooters than you have ever seen in your life (a virtual sea)
Due to the sheer number of fountains we’ve passed, Matt is convinced that the unofficial slogan of this city is Rome: Running Water Dammit!
So I am slowly making my way to the Bologna Book Festival for you. Tomorrow, we take a tour of Florence with Bologna the day after that.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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