Santa Susanna Used Book Sale, Colosseo, San Giovanni in Laterno

06.11.2010

Today was jam packed with lots of stuff.  I started out by going to Santa Susanna, the American Catholic Church in Rome.  This is the place for English speaking Catholic ex-pats to gather.  They were having a used book sale.  I was interested to see what they had, figuring the books would be cheaper than the ones in the bookstores I had been finding.  There was a lovely group of Australians, Brits and others working the sale and I had an interesting time chatting with them.  They must have thought I was living in Rome at the beginning of our conversation.  Later, I explained I was just visiting, saw they were having the book sale and was craving a book or two in English, so that’s how I ended up there.  They were very nice and helpful, even offering opinions on working in Italy in the medical field.  I found an Italian book and two books for reading, including “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac and a non-fiction book about Jerusalem.

I continued along to the Colosseo.  They have a really good deal for admission to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum for only 12€ and it’s good for two days.  I decided to just see the Colosseum today and save Palatine Hill for tomorrow, with more of a focus on the Roman Forum.  I walked around for about an hour, took in the exhibit they have on Gladiators, and then split when the tourists started driving me nuts.

I was within walking distance of St. John Lateran, so I decided to go there.  It’s a nice church and is actually the Church of Rome, not St. Peter’s like everyone thinks.  It is also one of the four major Basilicas in Rome.  I happen to like it quite a lot, mostly because the crowds there tend to be much less than some of the other more centrally located churches.

On my way to St. John Lateran, I noticed a restaurant with a “rainbow” theme to it and stopped as one of the waiters was trying to get me to come in for lunch.  The restaurant/bar was called Coming Out.  Yep, I found the gay restaurant/bar in Rome!  I told him I was heading to see St. John Lateran first, but would come back and have lunch.  I don’t think he believed me.

Well, I continued along to St. John Lateran and spent quite a bit of time there exploring and taking pictures.  It was pretty quiet and there weren’t a lot of people inside, compared to St. Peter’s Basilica.  I enjoyed the quiet and the coolness of the inside for a bit before heading back to Coming Out for lunch.

The waiter remembered me and I asked to see the menu first to see what the prices were like.  They were pretty good for the area and they had a nice selection of Panini, pasta, and salads.  He also waived the service charge for sitting outside since I was “family”.  Ha!  I sat down, ordered a sandwich and an iced tea and settled in.  There were three guys sitting next to me and they were speaking English, so I struck up a conversation with them.  Two of the guys were from Arkansas on a cruise with some free time in Rome.  The third guy had just met the other two and was from Kansas.  He was studying in Rome for six weeks this summer.  We ended up chatting for quite a while before meeting some more Americans, this time a guy from Los Angeles traveling with his female friend and co-worker, also from Los Angeles.  People kept mistaking them for a married couple, which they found funny.  The two of them work in television and were taking a break before their busy season gets going at work.  I had a really good time talking with all of them.  I think I was at the restaurant for almost two hours!

I went back to the hostel and chilled out for the evening.