06/03/11

Though I still had more mysteries to explore, my calendar told me it was time to move on to the next district. Regio conchae was next; I could proceed down to regio luti from there and then loop around to regio ignis dei, which was perhaps the most interesting district of the city, one devoted not to a god by most mythologies, but an angel, deified and worshipped only here, in this city of gods, alongside the others.

The "kingdom of shells" – the coastal district where Venus is worshipped. Streets paved with calcium white seashells, and delicate metalwork in copper tarnished by the ocean air to a beautiful sea-foam green.

Showing how honored pilgrims like myself are in this city, the "hostel" here could barely even be called such – it's a beautiful row of cottages along the water, with a beautiful view. I'm told that if more visitors show up during my stay, I may be required to double up with another traveller to make room, but for the time being I have the whole building to myself. The bedroom is on the top floor, with a balcony overlooking the beach, and the downstairs has living quarters and a full kitchen. I may even be encouraged to use some of my saved allowance to buy stuff from the market and cook a meal.

I've got to say, though, that the place feels incredibly empty. It's clearly been built for a whole family – there's three bedrooms, three bathrooms – what am I going to do with all this space? Part of me hopes that the place does fill up. It's June, so I wouldn't be surprised if visitors do decide to treat their pilgrimage as a vacation. What better place to commune with the goddess of beauty than beachfront property?