Ides of March Visit (2005)
For those of you who do not know… Hynda and I returned to Rome for a week in March to participate in the Ides of March run sponsored by the Hash House Harriers. The run was actually a three day excuse to drink and eat. About 65 people from all over the world participated. A group of 12 `hashers' from Geneva came as well as people from England, Scotland, Germany and Finland.
The Hash House Harriers were started by a group of British soldiers in Malaysia in the 1930s. They appointed one person as a hare to set a trail for the rest to follow. This was normally preceded by downing a few beers before running and then some more afterwards. Gradually rules were put in place for every run and names were assigned to everyone who participated. As the people came back from Malaysia and went to other parts of the world they took the developed customs with them so that today there are chapters of the Hash House Harriers all over the world - singing the same songs and performing the same rituals. Hynda and I ran several times with the Rome group during our stay. The following is the summary of our week in Rome:
Thursday, March 17th: Arrive in Rome… our baggage does not. We proceed to our apartment near Campo di Fiori. The apartment was nothing compared to the one we stayed in during our 6 months here but was clean, bright and had a great location. The photo is of Hynda in our bed. On Thursday night we walked over to Trestavere and went to one of our favorite restaurants.
We found a nice place for lunch where Hynda was joined at the table in the window by our waiter.
Friday, March 18th: We waited for our luggage which had been found but was to be delivered to our apartment. Since we had rented an apartment for the week, there was no desk for the luggage to be left at like there would have been in a hotel. We decided to leave the apartment and head off to our favorite pizza place in Trestavere. We found out later that the luggage came soon after we left. We called Alitalia and told them that we would pick up the luggage the next day at the airport and not to try to deliver it again.
Friday night was the first Ides of March activity. It consisted of a short run, then a pub crawl to five pubs and then dinner. Most of the Rome group that we had run with were there and it was nice to see them all again.
Saturday, March 19th: We got up at 6AM to take train to the airport. Although the person on the phone at Alitalia had told us that we would be able to get back into the baggage area easily - this turned out to be not the case. We needed to go to three different security offices before we were able to get in the baggage area. At the first location they told us to search the lost baggage room which we did. Our luggage was not there. We then went to another office where another room of luggage was located. We searched that - no luggage. At that point we had decided the luggage was still on the delivery truck or it had been sent back to DC. The last person we talked to seemed to know exactly where it was and directed us to a room where we found it immediately. One bag was ripped but at least we would now be able to change our underwear. We had to race back from the airport to begin the second Hash day.
The second Hash activity started in a little grassy area just outside the Aurelian wall near the Porta Pia gate. The Hash had set up some tables and they had beer, wine, cookies, sandwiches, etc.
One of the members of the Geneva group had on a shirt with the slogan of the Geneva hash. This is a picture of the backof her shirt:
After our little picnic we climbed in busses and drove 1 ½ hours to Manziana, a town near Lake Bracciano where Hynda and I had biked this summer. We then proceeded to run through the woods for 2 ½ hours. The trail was hard to follow since it was made of flour and we were running though the woods. There were two beer breaks along the way. They had driven a car up a dirt road in the middle of the woods and set up the same picnic tables with beer, wine, etc.
At the conclusion of the run we had the normal end of run circle where various people had to consume a pint of beer while a hash song was being sung. Any beer not finished before the song concluded had to be poured on your head.
In the picture below Mastikator (left from UK) and O Solo Mio (right from Italy) are trying to figure out who will get a down down or beer to drink.
I received my usual down down for peeing on the trail. One of the worse offenses is running in new shoes. If you run in new shoes you have to fill one of them up with beer and drink it out of your sneaker. This young man actually had a hole in his sock so they first poured the beer through his sock into his sneaker.
As silly as it sounds the way you get to speak is by putting a beer on your head and shouting respect. This is Wellington from the Geneva group.
This is Hynda with PornStar, Beep Beep and Parton Dolly.
Here is a group down down.. I do not remember the reason but sometimes there isn't..
At the conclusion of the circle we walked into the little village and went to dinner in a restaurant. There were about 50 of us and we occupied two tables. There was an enormous amount of food and all the beer and wine we could drink and a lot was consumed. We started at the restaurant at about 6PM and did not leave until midnight.
The guy in the blue shirt on the right is PornStar (Harry from Scotland) and next to him (his left) is Sexual Pleasures who was returning to Canada after this weekend. The guy to her left, making a face, is Ivan (real name - I believe) who was 'over-the-top' drunk for the entire weekend.
This is our table... much more mature. Parton Dolly (Ray) and Beep Beep (Hillary) have lived on a boat for the past 20 years. They have been docked in Rome since September and will be leaving in April. They have no idea where their next stop will be.
Couple on the right below live in Milan - she is from Sweden and he is from UK.
A lot of hash songs were sung and a table of younger children pulled up chairs to listen to us. They actually were coaxed into singing a song for us.
There is 'over-the-top' Ivan preparing to attack the leg of veal that will be served as one of the ten courses we had.
At one point in the evening Ivan piled chairs on top of some tables and convinced a few of the hashers to get on top to play a game. You cannot see it but these tables and chairs were of the plastic backyard garden variety and the gentlemen all had been drinking for awhile. I thought for sure that someone would be on the floor before very long but that did not happen.
Sunday, March 20th: At 12 noon we walked over to Circus Massimo to meet the rest of the hashers for the Ides of March run. The idea is to run in a toga so Hynda had on a towel and I had on the fitted bottom sheet from out bed. Everyone showed up in some form of toga. The run took us to all the major tourist sites in the historic center. The following pictures are from the run and post race circle.
This is us with the Blooms from Bethesda, MD. They both work for the UN and have lived in Rome for 6 years.
The couple on the left are from Tunisia and Germany. The women next to Hynda is from Tunisia and takes care of their three children. The women kneeling is from Germany. That is Ray in the center.
Here we are with Orgasmic from Croatia and Malcom from the UK.
This is Hynda with HandShandy (Scott from Canada). He is working in Italy for two years for a Canadian firm that has a plant that builds railroad cars in Italy. Notice that he is getting ready to run by drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette.
During the run we stopped at various places to take pictures, sing songs and/or drink beer. Notice Hynda in the first row on the left as she tries to get up or kneel down. We did leave a tip for the Statue of Liberty street vendor since we occupied his time.
The next stop was the Trevi Fountain. Notice the guy on the right in the red baseball hat. This was only his second Hash run. He is an author who has moved to Rome with his family to research his next book. His name is Jonathon Levi and he has published one book. It is ranked number 1,450,391 on Amazon. Go out and buy it and maybe we can help him out and get the book up to 1,000,000.
At some point during the run the Geneva group re-enacted the death of Caesar at the location where he was stabbed to death. You can see the weapon used in the hand of one of the perpetrators - a soup spoon. The woman on the right is putting McDonald's ketchup on his toga to make it look like blood.
Here is the Geneva group reading their lines right after killing him.
Here we are with the Forum in the background. Hynda is on the left with her hands up in the air.
And finally in front of the Arch of Constantine at the Coliseum.
At night we had dinner at another of our favorite restaurants.
Monday, March 21st: For lunch we visited with the lab where Hynda worked this summer. We had lunch with them and the lunch lasted over three hours. The food just kept coming and coming. The plate that Sarah is holding up is not for the whole table to share - that is just for her.
After lunch Hynda and I visited the Jewish ghetto and went to the kosher bakery. This is the famous one that burns everything. The guides book say that the pastries are good but they look so bad it is hard to buy anything.