18.08.2012 - 24.08.2012
Bells, bells, bells. Ringing bells were the soundtrack to our Italian adventure. Our stay in Rome was punctuated by the ringing of bells from 7am every morning - on the half hour until late! Our apartment in Rome was an easy stroll to the Vatican City, so much so that we could see St Peters Basilica from our building's front steps. We were also blessed with a church beside our building, so oh how the bells rang!
Rome was a sightseeing feast and we spent our days wandering around the Colosseum, Vatican City, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and more ancient ruins. It is absolutely in cities like Rome that you wish for a time machine. All around the city there are on-going excavations as more ruins, antiquities and ultimately history is uncovered.
Further to the significant beauty of the historic sites of Rome, nearly every building around the centre was stunning and had some faded fresco or Virgin Mary with baby Jesus alcove built in to it. Shuttered windows and wrought iron balustrades featured everyhere and you wondered about the safety of the crumbling balconies that are laden with terracotta pots or held together by ivy. Our apartment had a little terrace that was lovely to hang out on - except we had to make sure that Bodhi was fully protected from the mosquitoes who wreaked carnage on him. There are reasons for the Romans leaving in droves during the month of August - mosquitoes and heat probably being the main ones. Holidaying Romans however made it really easy for us travel. Dave was pleasantly surprised by the ease of driving as Rome was his main concern. Perhaps we'll even go okay in Paris now.
To get around we mostly walked or went by bus. On the bus we noticed only a handful of people pay for their fares, and these were mostly tourists (and nuns). It seems no one is concerned with paying for travel. This might say something about the state of the Italian economy! Another reason for the state of the economy could well be the three to four hour siesta which every day seemed to take us by surprise. We would just start thinking about lunch and low and behold the restaurants would be closing their doors. We never quite got the hang of it as being in holiday mode means that we are always sleeping in. Serious retraining is in order for the three of us to be on time for school and work when we get home! Siestas are wonderful though and Perth does have a Mediterranean climate, so maybe it could fit...but I can't see people wanting to travel the Mitchell freeway four times a day. Instead I might try to convince my fiscally responsible husband of our 'need' for a Tuscan hideaway. Anyone want in?
An aside... Bodhi is now demonstrating resilience towards smoking and no longer holds his breath when passing every smoker. For him to do so in Rome would probably cause him to turn blue as it most evident in Italy that the non-smoking message has not found its way to Europe - everybody smokes, everywhere! An elegant lady in a government office happily served me while smoking and flicking her ash on the floor! In fact, the only Italians I haven't seen smoking are the grand old Nonnas but I bet they did in their day (and looked damn sexy doing it as well!)
We love Italy, it definitely is the 'good life!'