What is the first thing you do when you get to Rome? That is after you have made your way from either of the airports to the city centre. Every now and then, as occurred yesterday, my first thing is to go to the supermarket to fetch the dinner and the essentials for the breakfast. This time it was more urgent than ever since my son would not have taken missing his evening milk lightly. It was only an hour to the closing time and it was easier to run down the hill to the well-trotted supermarket instead of finding the way to the more distant ones that are open until 11pm or 24 hours.
So here I went with a rucksack in my back, through the gate and through the park where a large number of pensioners had placed their deckchairs in groups. Down the chairs past the Spanish school and down the second set of chairs into Trastevere. Then a brisk walk across the square almost not seeing the tourist sitting around the fountain and ignoring the beggers. A brief scan around on both sides of the road as I proceeded. Yes, Bar San Calisto was full and my favourite pizza place and the neighbouring pizza places were open for business as well so the future meals seem sorted. Then a quick spurt down the road, turn right and through the doors, meandering through the children’s clothing section (Yes!! The sale is still on!) and down the stairs to the super market.
What followed was a 1920’s comedy silent film paced run through the super market. A grab of minimum fruit and veg and rapid progress to the chilled milk section. A quick pick of a couple of yogurts and plenty of milk, basic cheese and then a turn to look for some bread. Next picking up some ham and a diversion to the wine section. I paused only to check that the white wines snapped from the discount section were not the ones I do normally avoided. I had a grave disappointment when my favourite coffee was out but Lavazza Rossa will do. I managed to find the rearranged fruit juice section and pass the biscuit one and proceed to the tills just before when the lady started to make announcements about the imminent closure of the shop. After ignoring the usual pleas for small change – I did only have a one big note – I had achieved a result. The final hurdle was waiting for the regular bus and get uphill with my bags bursting. Now we were able to cook our dinner. How mundane can a first night in the Eternal City be!