Friday, October 7, 2016

Five (x2) Things Friday -- that Roman Light!


 I'm sorry, but I'm going to be cheating a bit for this post. I'm short on words and long on photographs right now and trying to figure out how best to take advantages of Five Things Friday to make that work. I thought I'd take the opportunity to show you Five Minor Miracles of Light, examples of the transformations buildings experience as sunlight inveigles its way over rooftops and into streets and onto balconies, telling shadow stories as it moves through its day.

I think it's what won me over to Rome three years ago, when I found its architecture a bit off-putting at first, the continual insistence on power more than a bit of bullying. And it can be as dirty as you've heard, and the traffic wearing, etc., etc. But then the light hits a wall plastered with a colour that's imbued with centuries of history, a colour originally ground out of available materials, I imagine.  So these ochres and rusts and citrons and peach, all even warmer when the sunlight shocks them out of the dark alley. It's as if they're organic, as if they change personality and mood along with the weather.

I know. I'm being fanciful. Going on a bit too lyrically.

But I had time to do exactly that. I scarcely left the neighbourhood (Monti) this visit, and my approach to my travel time was very much influenced by Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost.  While I often began the day with a loose goal, directions to which I'd Google-mapped and then screen-shot to guide my steps, I decided several times to take an alternative route just because. . . .
By the end of the week, I was even able to bring myself home without a map, having figured out a couple of the major arteries and noted a few important landmarks.

More on "getting lost" in an upcoming post -- and I also hope to recap some of what I've learned through having spent two weeks on my own. But for now: Five Pairs of "Minor Miracles of Light" (yes, that's the cheating: you get two for one). So 1A above, 1B below. . .
 2A
 and 2B
 3A (at the Borghese Gardens, the morning before my visit to the Borghese Gallery)
 3B and this one, several hours later, winding my way back toward Largo di Santa Susanna, I think.
 4A This is evening, and the light I thought was, if not miraculous at least very intriguing, is the light coming from inside that one window --- has someone taken a book down from those shelves? Is a reader turning pages in an armchair just inside?
 4B And here, again, twilight confers magic on all, and then that motorbike's light, banal enough in its actual form but elongated beautifully in reflection on the cobblestones. . .
 5A And two more, just because . . .

Only two more days solo, now,  and Pater and I will be reunited. Watch this space for news of our adventures in. . . . well, you'll see. . .

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this Roman light, and I wish you all a Happy Weekend (and a Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers back home).

22 comments:

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too :)

    I keep thinking I know where we are when we are walking around, to the point where I check my own photos...they never match! But I have convinced myself I can identify every street and building I don't have a photo of. Monti is a very homey neighbourhood isn't it?

    Also thank you to the readers who shared their thoughts on evening activities while travelling alone. It's helpful to have ideas for solo activities and also to know one isn't alone in collapsing with a book and some snacks after a long day of walking.

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    1. Georgia,I actually enjoy evenings like that as well,from time to time,after a day full of adventures in a strange city!
      And I have to admitt that I was never alone at lunch or dinner at my home town-I am more brave abroad ( and,of course,it's a must but I love it!)
      Happy Thanksgiving!
      Dottoressa

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    2. And thank you for asking the question, Georgia. While I usually, as I commented, tend to stay in, happy with a book, or at best wander out to eat in a nearby restaurant, I was prompted by the responses to your comment to get myself out there -- and I'll tell you about that briefly in a future post. Stay tuned ;-)

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  2. Those colours are so rich! I wonder about the book-shelf. Is there a book that we have read on those shelves? I will read A Field Guide to Getting Lost before I set off again. Happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. Other people's bookshelves are always wonderful to browse, aren't they, Mme! I think you'll enjoy Getting Lost -- it will make you think, at any rate...

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  3. Oh Frances, thank you for the gorgeous haunting photos. I am just about to sink into the Thanksgiving long weekend (supplemented this year with an extra Tuesday off for a fall Reading Break!). We just had a big fall storm overnight, and the light here is that thin watery light between clouds. It will be a good weekend for hunkering down with some books. Enjoy your time in Bordeaux. Brenda.

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    1. I heard about that storm -- and I know that light well. Enjoy the hunkering -- hope some of it is withOUT marking!

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  4. Such beautiful photos ...you've portrayed the area so well ...I feel as though I'm strolling with you ... and enjoying every minute.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you both, looking forward to reading the next chapter of your travels ... well done for "getting out there" and enjoying the first couple of weeks on your own.
    Rosie

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    1. I'm glad you're enjoying the photos, Rosie. I do always worry that I'm essetially recreating one of those dreaded 60s-70s evening "viewing our holiday slides" ;-)
      And thank you for that "well done" -- I must say I'm quite well pleased with myself. That's allowed, right?

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    2. Definitely! Interesting you mentioned "viewing our holiday slides" as that's just what we did on my birthday. My husband had all the many 100s we had digitalised from our first date onwards ....he was a very keen photographer, less so now! He picked out the best and we had a family viewing with our sons, daughter and their partners ...accompanied by a few glasses of champagne! Such a memorable afternoon and so much fun. Easier, too than our old slide shows when at some point the slide projector always seemed to stick!
      Rosie

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    3. I hasten to add our slide shows have only ever been shared with immediate family ... ie those in the pictures!!
      Rosie

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  5. Light is really intriguing. We lived through the outer bands of Hurricane Matthew today and the different shades of gray were fascinating, especially since we did not lose power as usual. The gray changed from almost black to pale with shards of light and then back again. So different from sunshine, but equally interesting.

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    1. Wow Lynn, that must have been something! I can only imagine a light like that -- and I agree that it is fascinating to see how the landscape changes with it. My closest (and quite different) comparison would be when we were shrouded by the smoke of a wildfire during last summer's drought -- the world became the oddest yellow-grey, such an eerie mood. Your description of the grey to black to pale, those shards of light. . . so evocative of the drama, thank you.

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  6. Beautiful pictures!
    I love Italy and its small cities and had fallen in love with Rome the first time I visit (not so much the second time,but still :-),so everyone of your posts and photos are precious to me
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Dottoressa

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    1. Thanks Dottoressa. The more I see of the country, the more time I'd like to spend there. . .

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  7. I like your use of the word 'bullying' in this context - architecture that intimidates . I've often wondered why I feel uncomfortable in some major cities . It happened last spring in Turin & it was raining too , so no interesting light to enjoy . Looking forward to your next travel report
    Wendy in York

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    1. Yes, and clearly the architecture is often deliberately designed to overwhelm.

      As for Turin, how interesting that you experienced it that way. We visited the city last October, but we had a gorgeous sunny day there; I did at first find the neighbourhood around our hotel too concrete, dark, industrial-urban, we had one marvelous day there that showed the city's strengths and I'd love to go back. The influence of light, indeed!

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  8. The joy of travelling solo is that you can take as long or as little to enjoy something. I love the way light hits buildings and you can really indulge that passion. I would be just like you; stopping and photographing. Make the most of the next few days solo. The advantage of course having your partner is that you can discuss what you see. B x

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    1. It's so true, B. No matter how accommodating my husband is -- and he's really very generous -- I can't help but feel guilty for stopping too often or too long for photographing those small details that catch my attention. It's been a real luxury to be able to take this time for myself, even though it hasn't always been easy and even though I'm really looking forward to seeing him later this weekend. . . .

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  9. Just lovely, Frances. Here's to getting a little bit lost. Happy Thanksgiving.

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  10. The light is amazing. And getting lost is a true luxury. Love that photo with the moto rider.

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  11. That stone glows beautifully in the autumn light .

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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