Michael bought us monthly transit passes last Friday—so exciting—and today was the first day I could use mine. I couldn’t wait to ride the 116. I call it MY bus, because on its western route, it stops right in front of our house (as do the 23, the 280, and the 271); on its eastern route, it stops behind our house, on Via Giulia. We rode the 116 in June, but I hadn’t taken it since, and I was itching to see where it went.
One of the fleet of toy vehicles that wend their way through the Centro Storico, the 116, which is an electric bus, holds eight seated, 22 standing, and one wheelchair passenger. Because I catch the 116 at one of the first eastern-bound stops, I almost always get a seat. It’s just the best ride! From Via Giulia, it drives through Piazza Farnese and Campo de’ Fiori, kisses the eastern side of Piazza Navona, twists just south of the Pantheon, wiggles its way to Piazza Colonna, sails up Via del Corso and Via del Tritone, turns left onto Via Vittorio Veneto, passes leisurely through the grounds of the Villa Borghese (lovely—I must go there soon, now that I know how to get there), and ends at Via Porta Pinciana. The whole ride usually takes about 30 minutes, but we got stuck behind a trash truck in the Centro Storico and it took about 45 minutes today. I didn’t mind a bit!
I hopped off the bus at its terminus and started walking. I thought I might be somewhere near Via Veneto, but I wasn’t sure. I walked down a steep, wide set of stairs, and voila—Via Veneto! From there I walked back home and stopped at Caffé Farnese to have a Coke (con ghiaccio, per favore) and stalk a hair salon across the street. I need a haircut desperately, but I’m terrified to just go do it! I tried to see who went into and out of the salon, but I kept getting distracted by people passing by and finally gave up.
I then walked to a macelleria (butcher shop) just off Campo de’ Fiori where Michael bought delicious pork chops and chicken a couple of weeks ago. The butcher, who remembered Michael, helped me pick out pork loin chops and steak. Next I stopped at a small market that sells cheese and salumi and bought some wine. By then I was hungry, so I went to Forno Campo de’ Fiori (a place that makes baked goods, including sandwiches and pizza) and bought a pizza for lunch. I’m on a quest to find the perfect pizza (more about that in a future blog), and this one was a winner!
Now I’ve tried to take about 50 photos of the 116 so you can see it, but I just can’t do it. Either the sun is reflecting off it badly, or it’s going faster than I think it is and the result is blurry, or someone walks in front of my camera—it’s just ridiculous! So before I walked home today, I perched on the stone benches in front of the French Embassy and waited for a 116 bus. I took three pictures: in two of them someone stepped in front of me, and in the third the bus zoomed around the corner and I caught only its tail end. I gave up and headed home. Just as I got to Via Giulia, the 116 going west rounded the corner in front of me. I knew that meant that it would be in front of our house in no time, so I ran the last block, set up the camera, and finally got an okay—not great, but okay—photo.
So here’s my wee 116 bus—the best bus in Rome!