By Pat Gallagher
It’s been a very long day. This morning, intending to walk to the Piazza Venezia, for shopping and lunch somewhere nearby, I set off from the train station at Piazzale Flaminio. In the wrong direction. Again. My son warned me, the first time I’d embarked on an exploration of Rome, not to orient myself by the Tevere, the ancient river that snakes its way across the eternal city. It is very easy to get disoriented. He, having lived in Italy for most of his adult life, was right. Again. I’d walked straight down the Via del Corso toward the Piazza Venezia. But, turning left at some point instead of right, I’d crossed the river twice, ending up in the hills above the Vatican, far from my destination in a residential neighborhood bereft of cafes and bars where I could sit, rest up from my meandering, and have a bite to eat. I walk and walk, further and further from my original destination. This journey has now become my destination. And while the neighborhoods are leafy and homes quite lovely this is not where I want to be. I am tired, beyond hunger. My head is beginning to ache and I must sit down.