Saturday, September 07, 2013

Oregon Arts Orchestra - day 3 Rome

Tuesday morning we had breakfast in the hotel and then took to the bus for a walking tour of the colosseum and surrounding areas.  The weather conspired against us.  As we entered the colosseum, rain started to fall.  Serious rain.  The kind that means business.  The middle-eastern men selling postcards and scarves switched gear and brought out umbrellas and brightly colored ponchos with images of the colosseum on the front.  The rain was accompanied by lightning and thunder.  The rumblings reverberated around the colosseum, sounding like the gods were angry and wanted us to know. Some of the lightning flashes struck very close, shaking the colosseum as they thundered around us.  Those of us who were foolhardy left the comfort of the covered areas to look down on the colosseum floor.  We were soaked through in seconds.  Most of the tourists took shelter inside the arches, even retreating past ropes to cluster out of the reach of the drenching rain.  We waited and waited, but the pouring rain didn't stop, so we worked our way to the exit.  I broke down and bought an umbrella from a vendor reaching in through the iron bars surrounding the colosseum. That way, I could hold it over the camera and take pictures of me and Kip in the rain.

The orchestra voted to scrap the rest of our walking tour.  Everyone was cold and drenched and just didn't want to spend two more hours walking around.  Most of the group headed back to the hotel on the bus and some even chose to dry off and have an extra rehearse.  Guy, Lou and Jae invited us to visit the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains to see the statue of Moses by Michelangelo.  The church was not open at that point, so we went to pass the time at the Moses Bar.  They served us thick rich hot chocolate, pizzas, and caprese.  It was a nice way to pass the time.  When we had eaten our fill and warmed up a little, the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking through.  We headed to see the Moses, walked around a little then took a cab back to the hotel.

On the schedule that night was the fancy dinner of the trip, at the Restaurant Tanagra, where you enjoy live opera music while you dine. Kip and I sat with Guy at a table in the back.  We placed our food allergy labels on the table, 'no glutine' for me and 'no arachidi' (peanuts) for Guy.  They served us pasta (gluten free for me) and risotto, meat and spinach, and fruit for dessert.  Or Tiramisu for the gluten-eaters.  And between the courses there were four opera singers who performed, two women and two men.  Some of the numbers were serious, some more fun.  The Barber of Seville took Jim up for a shave, face and bald head.  Lou and a man from another party were pulled up to sing along.  'Carmen' sang on the laps of several of the men.  People had a lot of fun.

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