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Tuesday 18 October

And speak of shape up, I weigh 78½: on schedule, if I mean to come back at 76½ = 168 pounds.

I woke up three times last night. The first at one with the alarm so I could call James who should have been at the house (7 P.M. in Chicago) — I did and there was no answer; the second at four-thirty due to a nightmare that everything I owned had burned down, the only thing that bothered me was my grandfather's paintings; the third just now at eight. The second wakeup was redeemed by a beauti­ful reddish-orange full moon setting over the rooftops —

Sitting at the station at Ponte Rio after my walk down, the first walk I think on the way to the rink (rather than bus down the hill) in 2 weeks, my pink shirt off and the grey hair on my chest flapping in the breeze — warm day, I hope it keeps up on nonskating days as well.

 . . . .

I've brought my camera and in the 1h40m between trains in Rome I'm going to the Villa Borghese and take a few pictures — unless I feel quite hungry on arrival, in which case I'm going to Alessandro's brother's restaurant in the via Milazzo and have lunch.

 . . . .

Just pulled out of Narni on the way to the rink; for once I stopped looking for that blasted Arch and instead looked at the upper town 150 feet up above the tracks and the opaque greenish-aqua river — there's tons of medieval stuff up there and I hope I'll have the sense & the opportunity to visit them.​a

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The Nera river at Narni, pristinely unpolluted. Its natural color is due to dissolved minerals.

On the train a few rows merci­fully behind me a French and an Italian woman talking, very much of a language lesson in Italian with the former being corrected every other word or so by the latter and thus everything being repeated three times — all very slow and purposive: at least my version of horrid Italian is fast and fearless and my accent is better.

 . . . .

At the hut at S. Maria delle Mole waiting in the dark with the usual small knot of people, mostly young couples only one of whom will take the train. Full moon already high in the sky, from here almost directly over the rink.

A crazy crazy day suddenly, starting at about 3:50 — I got to Termini at 2:35 as usual and followed my map to the Villa Borghese, stopped at the various places in the gardens that I liked most on Sunday and took pictures — I hadn't taken my camera to Rome Sunday — and walked back to Termini. At the Porta Pinciana it was 3:50 and 20 minutes back to Termini, while doable, was tight, so I was delighted to see a sign for a metro station and dived in. Big, big mistake — I got madder and madder as signs kept on directing me down block-long tunnels, 2‑storey high escalators, etc.: I finally was made to walk to Piazza di Spagna, 6 blocks out of the way — then the wait for the train; then 3 stops and an almost solid run, a good part of it upstairs, thru Termini: I missed my train by 15 seconds and could still see it pulling out as I got to Track 24. Of course, I was furious. Had I not been tricked into thinking there was a subway station where there was none, I would have caught my train.

I took a cab (44 ML) to the rink. Considering my frame of mind, anything else would have been unfortunate — so I got to the rink at 5:10, skipt my warmups (I remember thinking the run thru Termini was an OK warmup in itself) — and hit the rink where I worked mostly back XO's and back spirals, meaning really my RBO spiral which is starting to look like something. I fell several times, once on the right elbow for a change, which I had the presence of mind, since it felt it was going to swell, to put against the ice immediately for 45 seconds — as a result I only have two very small nodular bumps around the elbow — I also ripped my tights on another fall; an expensive day; although no lunch in Rome — just a ciambella in the gardens in the via del Lago near the mini-obelisk: a ciambella is a sort of large donut with a texture similar to a churro but better — although sprinkled with sugar it's just a big piece of starch and exactly what I needed; plus it was good. After my skate, a Gatorade and a piece of torta ai pinoli then I watched a rather crowded middle-FS session (no Silvia, although Roberta was there I think her last name is Pucci, a rather elegant skater who is or will be competing in the Europeans); a tall blond boy of maybe 15 with amazing spins, tight, phenomenally fast and perfectly centered —

Later Note:

a visit of Narni: I finally didn't visit the town (and the "blasted Arch") until October 1997.

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