Now, we just expect the unexpected…

Where are we going now?

Today Jorge, Ricardo, Maggie and I set off early for the Roman ruins at Ostia Antica. This important Roman settlement dates back to the IVth Century BC. Today it is a park, at the ostium – the mouth of the Tiber River.

Although it was founded as a castrum – a fortress to control access to Rome by sea, Ostia grew to become an important center and the principal port of the Empire.                                                                         

One can wander through the two kilometers of ruins with very little supervision. The Italian government seems to take it as a given that visitors will not trample the ancient mosaic floors or climb on precarious 2,000+ year old buildings. We explored: a graveyard, an amphitheater, a shopping area, private homes, a college, artisan centers, the baths and more. Do you know it was actually a law that all Roman citizens had to bathe? The public baths were provided free of charge to all did not have their own.

We spent more than 3 hours in what we started calling, “Rome’s Chichen Itza.”  Let me tell you, Jorge was in his element! After a delightful lunch at the site’s restaurant, we decided to call it a day… but first stopped to look at the amazing sculptures at the on-site museum. All the marble masterpieces were found at Ostia Antica.                                                              

Actually, we cut our time a little short… and that’s when our next adventure began! We ran for the train back to Rome. To make this complicated part of the story, also short: Jorge and I got through the doors, and Maggie and Ricardo didn’t!

Separated… Yee gads!  Did they pay attention on the way to Ostia? Did they know where to make the connection from the train to the metro? What are parents to do? We decided to wait for them at the end of the line, except we got out one stop too soon! We realized that… after we waited for three trains to go by, and no Ricardo. No Maggie.

“OK Joanna, we’ll go to the next stop and go home; if they aren’t there, we’ll think up ‘Plan B.’ ” The train arrived pronto… I got on, the doors closed and Jorge was still outside! He and I made frantic hand signals for me to wait for him at the next stop.

Three drunken Russian guys thought this was the funniest thing they’d ever seen.       Comb over- er-er hee-ee-ee-re Bubby!” they cried at full volume. Yikes! A young Italian girl held my arm and told me to stay by her side. And a few minutes later, we reached the end of the line… Boris, Igor and Ivan (or whatever their names were) exited and I thanked my little protectoress. She kissed my cheek. This place is seeming more and more like Mérida every day!

Anyway, I waited for Jorge for an hour, and he didn’t show. He had my ticket and the key to the apartment.

(This is an aside for my friend Mary who once lost me in the metro in Buenos Aires… Mary, you’d have been so proud of me… I haven’t lost those travel emergency skills!) I bought a new ticket, found my way through the metro maze and showed up at Via Clementina, shortly behind Jorge and Maggie & Ricardo. All was well that ended well!

So what did I learn? Well, actually not anything I didn’t already know… one must always stick with the pack! No lone gazelle behavior… because those Cossack wolves will pick you off!                                 

Tonight we’ll dine at a new little bistro… we have an unlimited supply in our neighborhood… Life is adventurous and,  so-o-o-o buona in La Bella Italia!

One of the metro trains Jorge was NOT on!


Filed under Family and Friends

4 responses to “Now, we just expect the unexpected…

  1. Looking back you can laugh out loud…not funny at the time, but from an observer’s point of view (knowing it turned out all right) it sure has some elements of a good sitcom!!!

  2. Wow, Joanna–you are some survivor! I’m just glad each of you had enough money in your own pockets, for your own tickets. Just think what could happen if, say, only one person carried the cash!

    All my former travels have been by myself, so I especially admire the know-how shown by all of you. Never thought about it before–there are indeed extra skills needed in traveling with others.

    • It really wasn’t serious but could have been if it was at night… we do have to keep our wits about us. but really it was not a big deal because all of us did have money on our person and knew where we needed to be. Nonetheless, it was a lesson re-learned.

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