The Tiber; Via Appia; Roman eating


On the banks of the Tiber, as a temporary thing (but every summer), they have bars.  There was a ‘literary’ bar, where, apparently authors come to read some work and take questions from the audience – except that it is a bar and in the open air but, apparently, no talking between patrons is allowed.

We selected a bar that did not have the piped music, the music from the other bars being at the right level for background music.

We ordered our drinks, mine an Americano, as always.  The weir nearby was loud enough so that we had to speak clearly but it was not strained, the noise of the water being a pleasant accompaniment to the conversation and the sound giving one the feeling of ‘cool’ even if it was not.  This was warmer than Milan but not quite as stuffy as Milan can get – maybe the water, maybe the breeze that was more in evidence here.

The waitress appeared with the drinks and we paid.

As she came back with the change, they decided to put on their music and the music emitted from a speaker which, unfortunately, was just behind us and which we had missed.  It meant that conversation was closer to the sort that one has in a disco or club.  Still, it was a very nice place, this island in the Tiber.

After, FfR had booked a restaurant on the edge of the Jewish Quarter in Rome (I didn’t even know they had one, although, thinking about it, of course, they would have it).

The restaurant was Hostaria Giggetto Al Portico D’Ottavia.  The meal was really lovely (the company unbeatable, of course), the main thing that was a specialty, was the deep-fried globe artichoke as an antipasto.  Absolutely delicious.  I also had pasta with cheese and something else that I forget now and a kind of lamb stew.  It had been a toss up between that and the oxtail, which I haven’t had for years.

The whole thing was delicious and not over-expensive at all (€35 per head including wine, coffee, etc.).

The following night with FfR’s sister and brother-in-law, we had some super pizzas at Baffetto2, near the Campo de’ Fiori during which time I found I had so much more in common with FfR’s sister than I could have imagined – apart from the amount we both smoke, that is!

I passed both the Vatican and the Forum as we were driving but that was about as touristy as it got, and for which I was really pleased as I’ve done the tourist thing there every time and it was really nice to not be doing that this time.

Although, we did do a four-hour stint along the Via Appia, lined as it is with the tombs, in nearly 40°C heat and not nearly as much shade as FfR thought, nor the breeze that she had pictured.  We stopped at this café where they were kind enough to come out with bowls for the dogs and a jug of iced water.  It’s one thing I’ve noticed about Italy – stop at any café with dogs when its warm and they invariably offer water for them.

Hopefully I will be able to get back there soon as Rome took on a completely different and very pleasant flavour.

An interesting revelation


[Written 16th August, in Rome – no Internet access]

I guess, after non-stop talking (on my part) for the last two days, that, being gay (and all that that means) has had an enormous and incalculable effect on my life and its course.

For some strange reason, this has only become clear to me now and I remain somewhat shocked by this revelation.

If someone had asked me, even a few hours ago, if being gay had been really important, I would have replied in the negative in that, yes, obviously it was important as to who I chose as my partner but that, in reality, no, since my life includes so much more that the gay ‘thing’.

However, that ‘reality’ I saw was very flawed and the real reality is that, almost without exception, decisions in my life have been made, in some part, solely because I am gay and my attempt to reconcile that to the world I inhabit – which is not the ‘gay world’. I have always seen things, biased towards being both gay and wanting to fit in (or not fit in).

And I am not a strong person, needing ‘someone’ probably much more than they have ever needed me. Now, without anyone, without someone to love and focus on, I am finding it difficult to fit into this world and past decisions (though they remain, I am convinced, the right decisions), may seem foolish now, in light of the real reasons that they were made. All in retrospect, of course.

I remain, as one would expect of any man, emotionally immature and helpless.

I may berate Italian men for their lack of commitment (which I, on finding that ‘someone’, definitely do not suffer from) but at least they are, in some way, honest about it.

Friend from Rome (FfR) has been so kind – listening to my crap and being interested and I have no way to thank her.

And this has been such a lovely few days – Roman without the touristy bits. I am truly blessed by having some great friends.