Okay -- so we've been tired. So very tired. We go out in the morning, we see stuff, we have lunch, we come back, we zonk out for three or four hours, we go to the store, we come back and eat food from the store, we clean up, we go out for gelato, we come back, we go to sleep.
I hope to come back and fill in some of the last few days. Friday, Vatican. Saturday, Pantheon, St. Ignatius, San Luigi dei Francesi, and lunch; Mass at Santa Maria in Trastevere before bed. Sunday, attempted to go to Angelus, wound up at Papal Mass followed by Pope Francis riding around in his cart, unexpectedly; then, lunch, rest, clean up, gelato.
Today, everybody needed a break from the routine. You just can't keep going and going and going to churches and museums, however much you might want to, if you have a bunch of kids under 15.
You need... a beach day.
First step: figure out how to buy bus tickets (easy, there is a tobacco shop on the corner, and that is where you can buy them).
Second step: Figure out which children are free (not so easy, half the sources say "kids under ten" and half say "kids ten and under;" we paid for the ten-year-old just in case. Buy four single-voyage bus tickets.
Third step, made much easier with the advent of Google Maps: Find bus, any bus, that goes to Roma Ostiense train station. There are four within walking distance. Go to bus stop. Attempt to ask advice of young lady who turns out to be an Argentine tourist trying to take her own first bus trip in Rome. Wing it.
Rush to train station. Figure out which children are free and which are half price. Buy three full price round trip tickets and three half-price round-trip tickets. Rush to platform. Await train. Ask little old lady, "È questo il treno per Pisa?" just as the announcement starts to come over speaker, causing her to irritatedly make shushing noises before confirming it. Get on train. Collapse into seats.
Ride 38 minutes to Santa Marinella, nervously following progress on Google Maps so as not to miss stop. Get off at tiny station. Walk about three blocks. Arrive here:
Pay a bunch of money to rent two umbrellas, three chairs, and a chaise longue.
Rejoice. Take it in.
Put iPhone away so as not to get it wet and fail to take any more pictures. Fill day with splashing children, four-year-olds brandishing chunks of driftwood, moat-digging, babies with pirate bandanas tied on their heads and sand-stubble sticking to their faces, and a good deal of sitting in a chair under an umbrella next to one's spouse watching the children and the sparkling sea and the gulls wheeling overhead, and thinking, "Damn, it could definitely be worse."
Don't get the iPhone out again until it's time to pour drinks after staggering tired and rosy through the front door.
Such a good day. The kids are excited that they swam in the Mediterranean. Me too.