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Friday 28 October

Non-Peter Vidmar here, sitting on Linea C well before 8:42 this time, leaving for Rome without my skates — weight 78 = 172 —

And a whole day has gone by, it's probably about midnight, I'm in a nice room at the Valle, apparently the more modern rooms, without toilet grinders,​a are up on the 3d floor — I'm in 305 — A relatively unpredictable day, sort of medium —

The train to Terni I plugged away at the Pope's book, a bit more than halfway thru — no surprises — the train from Terni to Rome I was latched onto right away by the two young people across me, a young man and a woman both law students at Bologna — we talked about all kinds of things, including Amalasuntha and Procopius who seem to be developing into a minor fetish of mine. [. . .] to Lepanto to my astrology book store, which was open finally: long conversation with bored proprietress, who is fascinated by ice skating (as a spectator, at least) — bought an ephemeris, a whole century for 25 ML, in very fine print, since no Raphaels: that's the price of 3 years of Raphael, OK, altho' it's no better than Parker's, except for some exceedingly comprehensive Tables of Houses, degree by degree of latitude. Also bought a basic text in Italian on how to cast a chart (the language-learning at work), and an OK but no stars book on solar returns, which I read say a quarter of on various buses etc. during the day: mostly stressing the return ascendant.

[. . .] I sent [. . .] a card, decorously dressed Sibyl, had to buy a pen to do it, from the Vatican post office. Then checked for Mentana buses at Ottaviano as it had been suggested me (altho' O. is West, and Mentana is east of Rome): sure enough, the Mentana bus leaves from Staz. Tiburtina, so I dove into the metro, got off at Termini to put everything at the hotel and wash my face. Back to Termini then Tiburtina, then long bus ride to Mentana, a helpful woman steered me to the proper stop (at il Fornascione in Mentana) and then about 2‑3 km walk in almost countryside to the sports center, in fact at Mezzaluna rather than in Mentana proper.

I'll continue with this account tomorrow: I'm tired and sleepy.

Later Notes:

a toilet grinders — A correspondent of mine at the University of Chicago, familiar with these machines and their occasional appearance in my life in Italy, writes me about some new dormitories there:

"and, to tell you it was an Italian architect, everyone complains that the building is so sound-proofed that it's eerie, except for the toilets, which are so loud that the students call them 'rocket toilets'. Probably have grinders attached, too."

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Page updated: 7 Dec 20