Brenda still had three churches on her list to see in Rome, they were all on the Aventine Hill. They included the oldest church in Rome, the Maltese Square (where the Knights of St. John hang their hat these days ever since Napoleon kicked them out of Malta) and a church which is the chief church of the Dominican Order. Very peaceful, these churches, and not overly decorated. Its kinda neat to see frescos which are more than a thousand years old! Unlike most of the churches in Rome, which are IMHO over decorated, these ones are closer to the "common man", and therefore much more accessible.
We picked up a trio of American girls over on a College art study programme. I really was not enamoured with the choices of church their teachers had selected for them to study....they tended to be overdecorated roccoco places. They asked my why I didn't like roccoco art, and I had to think hard for an answer. I decided that the real reason I don't like the high renaissance fancy cherubs, and ornate decoration is because it assumes that "architecture is a decorated box" I don't believe that...I believe that architecture is all about movements of people, storage, acoustics, and function, the decoration should be subordinate. They asked me if they could quote me...I suggested that they find their own sources same as I did, it would carry more weight than an armour maker from Canada. The girls (Anna, Megan and ????) were a total breath of fresh air. Easily distracted by shiny objects, and seeing things for the first time made it VERY pleasant to just walk around the Circus Maximus, and visit the Bocca Della Veritas, and Titus's Arch in the forum. (the Curia was open! Yaaah! That place is HUGE, and one of a half dozen places which are still in use. I noted that Julius Caesar still had fresh flowers on his grave. Much loved even after all these years.
As pleasant as the tour was, I knew the blisters I had formed by walking in wet shoes were not going to get better if I kept walking on them, so I was so looking forward to a day of just being a couch potato, flying all over the continent. And despite the best efforts of the Roman Transit System to sabotage the flight, we ended up meeting D. at the Prague airport sometime in the afternoon. Of course, after a meal of roast beef, spiced chicken and potato dumplings, I had to walk off the calories, at least a little bit! (Boy oh boy, these Czechs do know how to chow down on good solid comfort food!) So, a few more kilometers on the old blisters to see the old market, the famous clock, and the equally famous Charles Bridge was just what the doctor ordered to settle that huge meal.
I have discovered the reason why we see signs in the window that say "No English Allowed". Apparently the lager louts in England have discovered that Czech beer is plentiful, cheap and potent, and they book tours to go on "piss ups" here in Prague. Apparently it is not unusual to see Brits dressed in dresses, angel wings and puffing on cigars waving their private parts while lying on the ground in the middle of the town hall square. Not unusual, but certainly not what you think of when you think of the home of Alphonse Mucha and Dvorcak. Brenda and D. just shook their heads...its like a train wreck, you hate to look but you can't look away!
Today D. wants to take me to a castle south of the city. Oh boy! more walking! And with luck, an opera this evening! Not that I have anything to wear to an Opera, but, hey, when else would I ever get the chance to see a real Czech opera! Might be an idea to polish off several pints of pilsner to really enjoy it!