Monday, February 18, 2008

In the shadow of St. John Lateran...

...appears a HUGE flee market open only on Saturdays. Sister Veronica and I went in search of its treasures this past weekend. We took the train from the Casa to Termini and changed to the Metro. Metro line A took us to San Giovanni. I thought we were getting on the wrong subway until I realized that Giovanni means, "John." DUH!

The market, once it's set up, is several blocks in size. The primo "real-estate" is under a giant roof (which seems like nothing more than a frame and LOTS of tarp and plastic.) Apparently, this is a very popular shopping spot for Romans. I could barely make my way down the sidewalk to the entrance. All along the way, merchants greet you and call out their bargains. (It's a little intimidating for a person who has trouble returning things in department stores.) But, there is also an excitement in the air. There are vendors from all over the world: India, Guatelmala, Peru and China - very global! And, the prices are very low - perhaps, the source of the crowds. (DUH, again!)
Sister Veronica and I split up for 45 minutes and picked a meeting place so we wouldn't lose one another (like at the Vatican - another story.) I think I saw her, though, about six times as we both wandered our way around the booths. I had really just one thing I was searching for and I found it at one of the first displays on the outer sidewalk. As my little sister, Maggie has been known to exclaim, "Que ganga!" or, "What a bargain!"

We took the Metro back to the Vatican and had lunch outside - a little pizzaria, table in the sun. Would you believe it had paper-thin slices of potato on it along with the much-desired mushrooms? It was thin and glazed with olive oil and herbs. Yum! Then, Sister Veronica took me to a gelaterria nearby that she had visited with some other sisters. Gelato is very different from ice cream in texture and consistency - but the flavor, oh my!

It was a lovely day - a short one, just five hours. But it was just right. I suspect that was my last trip into the city. Not a sad thought, though, because that means we're coming HOME!

Love to you all...

- Sister Vicki