Soliloquy in an International Cloister

Watch your step as Brother Lawrence takes you inside the monastery walls of a five hundred year-old international order. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had ignored your hormones and joined the monastery.

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Location: Rome, Italy

28 August 2011

Bicycling in Rome II

In an earlier post about bicycling in Rome, I mentioned that a bridge along the Tiber River bike path had been inexplicably closed for four years. It finally opened last March after the Inspector for Aged Oak in the Wooden Plank Committee of the Bridge Inspection Office of the Parks and Recreation Department certified its safety after deciding that he was too tired to go all the way to Tor di Quinto to look at a stupid bridge. As far as I can tell, the only change they made was to paint the railings. I have used that bridge for the last three Sundays while bicycling from the monastery to the Ponte Castel Giubileo and back—about 36 km altogether. It's wonderful! And on Sunday mornings in August, most Italians are on holidays or still in bed so it is relatively free of obstacles. Okay, I know it is sad to think about other people as obstacles, but many Italians on the bike path are out for a leisurely, social experience, while I am there for exercise. Riding a bicycle on Sunday afternoons provides me with many, many opportunities to practice patience and self-restraint!

This morning when I came to the famous bridge it was again barricaded (incompetently, however, so it was easy to by-pass). Some genius had decided to set fire to the grass underneath the bridge, which then spread to the wooden planks covering it. Yeah, wood is flammable Einstein! Based on past experience, I'd guess it will take only ten years to get the ruined planks replaced.

At this point, you are probably asking yourself, "Why doesn't the big whiner just go the other direction on the Tiber River bike path?" Well, I tried that two weeks ago, but that path is blocked by the booths for a summer festival. There are two banks for every river; why do they have to set up the booths on the side that has the bike path when the other side of the river equally suitable? Sigh.

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