Unlike this picture, it was a grey and windy day … and I met blogging-friends in person for the very first time. Dona and Peter are enthusiastic foodies, seasoned hikers, curious travelers who have been to many countries, and out-of-the-way places too.
So it was rather bizarre that meeting up in the heart of Rome turned out to be more difficult than expected: knowing they were nearby, I texted them to meet in Piazza Farnese, one of the historical center’s largest, impossible-to-miss squares, where the sparse crowds make it easy to see each other. GPSs are often hard to follow in the labyrinth of narrow, crooked streets, but they got lost simply because some passersby gave them the wrong indications.
Indeed, in Rome, stay wary when asking locals how to get anywhere. If you’re really lucky they’ll they send you off in the right direction. But don’t count on it: they would never admit to not knowing a place, especially if it sounds like somewhere famous they “should” know, in which case just flipping a coin would be better than asking them. Besides, many Romans get a kick out of sending tourists off on wild-goose chases. The humour of it escapes me, but we all know that sense of humour is culture-specific.
Anyway, we did finally meet up on a grey and windy afternoon. I’d seen their picture on some of their posts, and they just had to look out for my pink wollen scarf and pussy-hat-light (no ears).
By then, it was almost sundown and we only had time to wander through some of the ancient streets flanked by artisan’s workshops and tiny boutiques . Which was probably best for them, as I’m not your star tourist guide: like most long-time slightly blasé inhabitants of this city, we’re so used to all the art and sights we don’t bother much about the history… unless someone visits.
The subsequent conversation in a discreet street level restaurant terrace – around a bottle of chilled Pinot Grigio – was a delight. It felt like meeting old friends.
You follow someone’s blog* for a couple of years, and find out so much about them, how they think and see the world. On one hand it’s a only a partial form of knowing each other, but on the other, if it’s a life blog, you catch the essence of what they’re about, and the details you don’t know are areas to discover and surprise you in the future, as you develop your newly-found connection further. And maybe in some other part of the world.
All roads lead to Rome. So sooner or later, I might get a chance to meet some other special blogger-friends from distant shores. Be sure you let me know when you do come to Roma Caput Mundi!
* Livingtheqlife is a rich blog based on photos, travels and food, plus personal notes, anecdotes and comments that bring it all to life. The posts are always a pleasure to read. Do check them out!
Photos: Piazza Farnese: Wikimedia Commons; central Rome map:mappery.com; white wine: bbc.co.uk/food/white_wine;bloggers: 14thcountry.com