# 4: Roma

Gelato e sorbetto sono da morire

People asked me what I did in Rome.

[For those not following along, I taught in Rome after leaving China, and before returning to the US for my Fulbright orientation.]

I could say I did a bunch of things: saw all four of the famous Basilicae, toured the Vatican (twice), ate a lot of cacio e pepe, taught a business ethics course, drank good (cheap) wine, saw virtually every tourist site in the city, and walked 15 km a day.

Really, all I did was

  1. Eat gelato (and sorbetto)
  2. Wonder what happens if everyone buys a “jump the line” ticket

It is fairly clear that I am now an expert on gelateria, and am prepared to argue with any Roman about the best one (and the best flavors). This is a good thing, since every single Roman I met had a firm opinion (albeit often wrong) about the best gelateria in Rome. The answer, dear reader, is Guttilla at Via Fabio Massimo, 23.


Oh, for that other stuff Rome has, here’s what I saw:

The Vatican and Vatican Museum

The Sistine Chapel


The Forum

The Pantheon

The Basilica de Santa Maria de Maggiore

Palatine Hill

Trevi Fountain

Spanish Steps

Piazza Navona


Museo Nazionale di Sant’Angelo

Basilica of San Clemente

Victor Emannuel II Monument

Piazza Venezia

Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola

Piazze del Popolo


Ausgustine’s Mausoleum (from outside)

Non-Catholic Cemetery


St. Peter’s Basilica

Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

Site of Julius Caesar’s Assassination

Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls

Ponte Milvio

Underground Rome

Museo Capitoline

Baths of Diocletian

Chiesa del Gesu

#3: Between China and Rome

I finished teaching in Suzhou (PRC) in late April 2019, and then started teaching in Rome in late May. I didn’t really want to go back to the US, get jet lag, and then turn around and head for Rome and get jet lag again. So I had to find some interesting place between Shanghai and Lisbon. Not that difficult.

I chose Madrid, and took a couple of days out to go to Lisbon and a brief guided tour of very nice (and very touristy) spots in Portugal. I’m considering various places in Europe to retire: feel free to offer suggestions! The criteria are: a) close to a beach b) not too cold c) a language I can learn, more or less d) something I can afford. Spain is looking very good; Portugal as well.

I took approximately 9,473,214 pictures. I’ve posted here a few representative ones, with minimal captions. I left out a lot, such as the Palazzo Real (Madrid), the cathedral and synagogue in Toledo, the opera in Madrid (I saw Handel’s Agrippina), a lot of paintings and sculptures, and most of the food pictures.

Madrid is one of my favorite towns now, right up there with Aix-en-Provence, London, San Francisco, Cooperstown, Austin, and, of course, Suzhou. If you’ve been there, you may well agree.

In any event, this blog is mostly pictures.

The Prado: Overwhelming
Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights”: 哇!
This Ramen place always had a long line until late (11:30) one night, when I could get in. I found out why: the best meal I had in Spain was, interestingly enough, Japanese.

Empañadas at Mercado de San Miguel
Cabo da Roca, westernmost point on mainland Europe

So, in a few weeks, I went from Shanghai, China to Cabo da Roca. Portugal: 10,718 km (6,659 miles)