far too much writing, far too many photos

Sometime yesterday, I shifted into full input mode and the data/sensations have been flowing in, me scribbling as much of it into my little notebook as I can manage. How I inflict all of that on whoever stops here without reducing them to idiocy, I don’t know. Plus I’ve discovered that internet access here in Florence — where I arrived a few short hours ago — is wildly expensive, so I may spend less time flogging this blather. We’ll see.

The major discovery of this last 24 hours: this speaking-Spanish-in-Italy thing? It’s fun. Many folks here know at least some Spanish, those that don’t mostly get the gist of what I’m trying across, the languages having so much in common. They often seem intrigued by this Spanish-speaking weirdo, the few who start out treating me as your garden-variety English-speaking tourist have to switch to Spanish or ask for help, either of which induces a different ‘tude. Woo-hoo!

Rome: Far more chaotic than Madrid. Feels more like New York than any European city I’ve been in. The subway trains are covered in graffitti. Traffic is heavy and wild. Life is fast-paced, to the point where just stepping out into the street gets my pulse cranking. Much of what I’ve seen of the city looks more tired than Madrid, the streets and buildings in poorer repair, more dog-eared. But the people? Genuinely interesting. A good-looking bunch — physically attractive, stylishly dressed, whether you’re talking high style or low style. And then there’s the language. Like constant singing. A slightly repetitive repetoire, but easy on the ears.

Last night as I walked back to the hotel from a meal, I passed through la piazza Barberini, alive with pedestrians and the usual river of fast-moving traffic. Out of nowhere, amid the usual mix of buses, taxis, passenger vehicles, five ATV’s came whizzing around the corner. Moving at high speed — each sporting two huge banners waving from poles attached to the rear of the vehicle, the riders standing up as they passed — they whipped by then were gone, disappearing up one of the streets that feed into the piazza.

Roma.

More tomorrow.

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