Thursday, January 10, 2019

Reflections From Roma #12

Reflections From Roma #12
10 gennaio 2019

Photo Update Alert:

Hello there… Rodger French here.

A cheery “Buon anno!” to you all, and I’d like to apologize (again) for being such a feckless correspondent. The truth is, my heart hasn’t been in it lately, for any number of reasons, most of them frankly lame. But rather than dwell on the past, let us do a little catching up.

Christmas in Vienna- A.J. cashed in some hotel “miles” and we joined the obligatory Christmas ZOTA™, staying seven nights in Vienna. As with our trip to Salzburg, we elected to book passage on the NightJet train instead of dealing with airports and, although there were some glitches on both ends of the journey, it was totally worth it, especially considering how much loot we stuffed into our suitcases. 

Vienna is a shopping kind of town and the Christmas markets were great fun. It is also positively lousy with music and we attended a couple of classical music concerts featuring excellent musicians performing in butt-freezing cold (but very scenic) churches. And the food was surprisingly good, assuming you’re in the mood for meat, starch, and pastries. We even managed to be treated discourteously by one of the famously rude waiters in one of Vienna’s famous (and, IMHO, overrated) caf├ęs.

It was a lovely being in a city where there was excellent tap water, reliable public transportation, and not one scrap of litter, never mind overflowing trash dumpsters. Given an opportunity, I’d go back to explore further.

America Held Hostage: The Trump Shutdown- I will simply report that I am currently working. Anne is currently furloughed. And “stupid” is the most positive thing I’ve heard anyone at the Embassy say about the whole idiotic thing. 

Ricordando Nereo- A.J. and I typically walk together to the Embassy on weekday mornings, although we return at different times. Our route along Via Salaria takes us through a gap in one of the Aurelian Wallsbuilt between 271 and 275 AD, during the reign of the emperors Aurelian and Probus.

The sidewalk at that intersection was the site of a makeshift habitat for a homeless fellow and his dog. I never really interacted with him (although the dog barked at me once) and, apart from walking the pooch, he seemed to spend pretty much all his time reading. We saw them there almost every day for 14 months.

Today there is a memorial of flowers, candles, and messages in his place. His name was Nereo and he has passed away. But the wall abides, serving no real purpose except to stand a silent vigil for someone who lived, died, and is missed.