Sunset view from our Rome apartment (Via del Babuino)

When we planned our summer, we worried that it might be very hot and congested in Romes. The first 4 days here, we were surprised by how gorgeous and balmy the weather was. We figured that the fabled heat of this city had been exaggerated. Each day was just perfect. Then the mercury climbed, and for the past 4 days it’s been really intense! The shade is fine (mostly), but in the sun, it’s hard to breathe. The locals walk down only the shady side of the street. What that means is that even in the most congested areas, the sidewalks are totally empty on the sunny side. Nobody wants to venture into the sunshine.

That’s meant a very Mediterranean schedule for us. Sleeping later than we’d ever sleep at home (even Early Riser Eli), heading out while it’s not too hot, and retreating to our apartment after lunch for a few hours inside. Then when the sun goes down a bit, at around 5 or 6, the city comes alive again. When we went to toss the football after dinner in Piazza del Popolo last night at around 9 PM, there were big crowds of people strolling the Corso (the main drag), with lots of kids up and about.

So we planned several summer trips to more temperate climates. Today we are flying to San Sebastian, on the Basque Coast of Spain, to meet our dear friends from graduate school, Inge-Marie and Jim, and their kids Lucia and Ella. They are spending the summer in San Sebastian, followed by the academic year in Provence. Here’s a link to their sabbatical blog:

http://mansfieldtomarseille.blogspot.com/

They told us to pack sweaters, as it is chilly there in the evenings. Between the beach and the evening chill, it will be a fun change. We will be there for 5 days, and hope to enjoy a lot of great seafood and pinxtos (tapas, Basque style). Our Italian teacher told us to try not to listen to Spanish, as it will just confuse our Italian (buono vs. bueno, etc.), since the languages overlap so much. Maybe we’ll just use Basque instead, which will interfere less with Italian. If only we could! But learning one new language right now is enough.

I’m also really looking forward to coming back to Rome, but not just because I love the city. I’ve found that I never really feel like I’m living someplace until I leave and return.

-Jenny

Sunset view from our Rome apartment (Pincio Gardens and French Academy)

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