Dispatches From Italy -  Return to Rome, San Pietro's, time in England

Monday morning, 10 July 2006.  Outside Lerici.

I’m watching the sunrise from the water again, cradled and caressed by salty splashes and swells.  We leave the pleasant olive grove today, returning Karen and Kevin to Ciampino airport and myself to Rome.  We leave Tuscany, but I think I can safely say that Tuscany will not leave us.  There is a passion here that is infectious.  Hard to describe, hard to decipher.  I’ve felt some of the same in southern France, but there is a difference.  Cultural?  The famed flare of Italian life?  Maybe an even denser history?  I’m not sure.  Either way, the infectious passion will require some exploration.  The sun has risen.  I turn and stroke towards the sea.


The morning view before diving in

Karen with palm frond in hand on her way back to the UK

Tuesday early morning, 11 July 2006.  Stazione Termini

Patience is a virtue.  Especially in long lineups.  I’m waiting to drop my backpack at the train station.  Later today I’ll head out to the Rome airport, but first I want to get to San Pietro’s before the lines there grow kilometre-long.  I’ve patience for 10 people, but not thousands.  Slow, Peter, patience is a virtue.  Be here.  Be the line.

Tuesday mid-day.  San Pietro’s Basilica

Some things get so big that perspective goes wonky, gets disproportionate.  A column from across this room looks big, but standing next to it prompts… wha? Where’s the top?  I would still rather be in that mountainside cavern-cathedral, but I’ll admit that San Pietro’s art, structure and impact is impressive.  In this ever-bigger escalation, aiming for ever more powerful effect, what do we gain?  Do we get so blasť about the last sense of scale that we need a bigger/taller building to convince ourselves that we are more important than the previous guys?  The Pharaohs are long gone, their ‘bigger-better-taller’ race a tourist attraction in the desert.  It would be great one day to see the artefacts of the cold war be as crowded a tourist attraction as the pyramids.  I wonder if wonky perspective applies to the immensity of history, also.

Tuesday afternoon.  Rome Fiumicino airport.

Rivestimento - finish.  All roads may lead to Rome, but the same roads can lead back home – to the end of a journey.  Aren’t homeward trips supposed to take longer than the outbound journey?  This one can take as long as it wants.  Though with new perspectives, a new journey may await.


Patterns, people, prayers

The commanding view from the cuppola - note the hat on the bottom left

The stairway from heav… the cuppola

San Pietro dwarfs humans, but humanity overwhelms San Pietro

Tha massive front entrance!

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Wednesday, 12 July 2006.  Outside London, England

Almost 2 decades ago, the Newburys were in London, homeward bound from Russia.  Our family friends the Whittinghams hosted a wonderful Christmas visit, including a crisp December walk in a London park, a park I never successfully found on any map.  Yet here I am, in that very park, and with Gayle Whittingham!  We are driving home from the airport, already in deep discussion.  Time may have passed, but the connection hasn’t.  I’ve come to highly value friends where the mental intimacy doesn’t fade with time, where, even through long absences, a core connection of true caring doesn’t falter.  This park is gorgeous to be in.  I’m all but sitting on my hands trying not to take any more photos… Gayle could we take another round through the park and I’ll put more film in my camera and this sunset is fantastic…


Deer ghosting in Richmond Park

Sunset in Richmond Park

A crane out fishing

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Peter Newbury's Published Adventures