Shakespere in the park
Trip Start May 25, 2007
73Trip End Oct 29, 2007
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One of the differences between this gallery and every other is that you have to reserve a specific entrance time, and you have a maximum of 2 hours to see everything. After your time is up they kick your ass out (no kidding). Although a bit rushed, the advantage is that the place is never really crowded. If anyone is wondering if it's worth it, the answer is yes. The sculptures by Bernini and Canova alone are worth the entry fee.
I'm an observant person by nature, and being a single guy I'll nearly always take notice of the women around me. One feature of European women that is hard to miss is how very few attractive women actually smile. Most just hide behind their gigantic sunglasses and frown their way from place to place. This has been especially true in Rome. Whether it's just the fashion or some time-saving creep-repelling defense mechanism really is irrelevant; my point is it's become quite noticeable.
The Borghese gallery consists of several small rooms that are meant to be visited in order. Due to that you'll usually see the same people in each room as you go through. There was this tall, attractive dark haired woman, alone, that I kept crossing paths with inside the gallery. As usual she had a scowl on her face, but I did notice that she spoke English (the audioguide gave it away). Over the course of the visit we exchanged some small talk, but not much else as we were both focused on the art on the walls. But I was thinking, "Here we go again, another woman thinking she's too good to talk to anyone." It's a common thought among the guys I've talked to on this trip, believe me.
After leaving the museum again we started chatting, and before long it was clear that my first impressions were totally wrong about this woman. Her name is Ramona, she lives near Vancouver (Burnaby), and is bookending her week in Rome by visiting family in Germany. The cause for her unhappy look earlier was due to the fact that she had to run halfway across the city to make it to the gallery on time. As we walked and chatted over the next little while I figured that hanging out with her would be much more interesting than seeing the city alone, so we became travel buddies for the rest of the day, and then the following few days. It turns out that this girl with the scowl is one of the sweetest, most honestly friendly people you would ever want to meet.
After checking out a few shops and visiting a few churches, Ramona had the brilliant idea of getting tickets to see Julius Cesare, playing at the Shakespeare theater back in the Villa Borghese. Since I had missed seeing the Shakespeare festival back home this year I was really excited. The fact that it was all in Italian made very little difference. But getting there was half the fun. Earlier we checked out the Capitoline museum (highly underrated, IMO), and realized that we had less time to get to the theater than we hoped. We decided that the bus would save us some time, but it immediately started taking us in the totally wrong direction. By the time we noticed this we were much further away than when we started, but closer to the metro station. A few stops later, and about 10 minutes of running through the park, we got there, huffing, puffing and sweating amongst a crowd of very well dressed young Italians. If there was any way for us to stick out as tourists I don't know what it is.
But the way, the play was great even though we didn't understand a word. The Italian Language is perfect for drama, and the theater is built just like the Globe in London. That, and a couple bottles of wine made it tons 'o fun.
We also found out that even in a huge city like Rome, it is nearly impossible to get something to eat after midnight on a weekday. One of the many charms of Italy, I suppose.