One of the biggest challenges of traveling is the presence of down time. While shows on the Travel Channel often make being a tourist seem a non-stop whirlwind of one wonderful experience after another, the reality of travel is often far more mundane, especially when the traveler is expected to satisfy other demands (i.e., schoolwork). Figuring out what to do with ourselves while waiting on delays caused by transportation, weather, or any of a number of other reasons can be a bit tricky.
As my posts have hopefully made clear, the Rome Fall 2 2012 contigent (man, that just rolls off the tongue) successfully navigated one of these types of challenges yesterday. Now, thanks to the Brothers here at Castel Gandolfo and the fine folks back home who made it possible, we have access to the Internet, so a rainy day here might be wiled away fussing with our individual machines and individual worlds, allowing us to retreat back to the safe cocoon of what we all know, immersed in the protective bubble that characterizes our digital lives. Of course, that’s not this group. The way that our folks used their day is what I think makes this experience particularly special. As my wife’s family says, this group believes wholeheartedly in making memories, and I’m pretty much amazed at their capability for making lemonade out of lemons.
We were supposed to go to Castel San Angelo yesterday, but torrential rains shut down much of the public transportation system. In his usual good-hearted fashion, Danilo was willing to lead us into the midst of the Poe-style maelstrom…
Poe knew what we would see.
…but we all decided that discretion was the better part of valor and stayed at the proverbial ranch.
All right, so what exactly would we do with our day inside? Spend it dealing with angry birds or watching dvds? Not this crew – at some point every one in our group braved the weather and wandered through town, further integrating ourselves into the local culture. In between writing their first journal on art (beware, art aficionados, I have asked them to define ‘art’ differently than you might be comfortable with) and chatting with folks back home, we all (some in groups, some singly) went out in the rain.
And rain it was – as Abby, Steven, and I quickly discovered, the steps leading up to the park that we walk through to catch the train had a Class II rapid cascading down it…
Our rapid was much bigger, of course…
We successfully navigated this, and made it to the top and down the other side. At the top we were rewarded with a warm espresso and pastry (Steven had a nice chilly banana gelati). I will attach a short video to another post, but Abby kindly graced us with her photographic presence as evidence that we were, indeed, there.
Singing in the rain.
So, on a day that was the (warning – slight hyperbole ahead) wettest in Italian history, we all managed to have a marvelous time and continue developing as a group.