After we explored Ostia Antica, the forgotten city, we hopped back on the train and went a couple more stops to the modern Ostia, a seaside suburb of Rome. We wanted to stick our swollen, suffering feet in the Tyrrhenian Sea and eat wonderful Italian food. A few blocks from the train – with a quick stop for gelato, of course – it was a little weird to see the entire seafront fenced off and divided into sections, each portion controlled by a bar, a restaurant, or some other business that regulated access to the ocean. We found a bar, bought some drinks and wandered down through the cigarette-butt-infested sand to the water. (Did I mention that people smoke outside in Rome – everywhere – and toss their butts all over the ground? They do.)
Still, the atmosphere was much mellower and less crowded than Rome. Our group wandered up and down on our little patch of shoreline, sporting ever-larger smiles, watching cream puff clouds billow on the horizon. Once my feet were in the sea, all was well. Later, we feasted on pasta and seafood supplemented by sparkling water or wine as we felt inclined, and laughed our way through the evening.
The day bid farewell by treating us to the most glorious sunset. It went through several phases, ending in flares of purple, pink and grey that rivaled the art of masters. Following the sky show, I didn’t even mind riding back to Rome on a graffiti-blasted train.