Sunday, 29 June 2014

If You're Not Lost, You're Not Working Hard Enough!

There are a few interesting discoveries we've made over the last few days.  One, it's okay to be lost in Rome.  The saying goes that all roads lead to Rome, but it seems that when you're in Rome, the roads often lead nowhere.  And that's okay, the bewildered looks on peoples faces as they peer at maps of all shapes and sizes gives us a good degree of confidence that we're not alone.

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of walking to some of the major attractions with Sergio, a local tour guide.  For six and a half hours, we didn't need a map, were never lost and were regaled with some of the lesser known aspects of the history and culture of Rome.  Perhaps you know, but we didn't, that the Coliseum (Il Collosseo) held only 65,000 people, all requiring an invitation, so shmoozing was a full time job in ancient Rome; Sergio told us that contrary to later Christian propaganda, believers were not fed to the lions because of their faith, as Roman polytheism was far more tolerant than monotheism.  Rather it was for criminal activity that people of all faiths were tortured in the arena.  The truth may lie somewhere in between.  Circus Maximus held 250,000 people of all classes and charged no entrance fee.  This was where all the chariot races were held; it took Michael Angelo five years to paint the Sistine Chappell and it took the restoration fifteen years (financed largely by the Fuji Corporation which may explain why you can't take pictures anymore...copyright!); 20 to 30 percent of all water delivered to Roman families comes from the aqueducts and pipes of the ancient Romans! Also, the Roman "nose" (drinking water fountains) spews forth clean cool drinking water and it's free!!!

Finally, we have a new found respect for sweat, as the more you sweat the less you have to use the toilets :)  (although we've been lucky it hasn't been too hot), both of us could survive the U.S. Navy Seal training program after walking around Rome for the last 3 days and as a side benefit, it's great for tightening butts.

Off to dinner now.  More posts to come.

Friday, 27 June 2014

A Few of Our Favourite Things

Here at last.  Already day two and Charles and I have so much to say already about the beautiful city of Rome.  For one, overwhelming!  Rome offers hustle and bustle on steroids!  Cross the roads at your peril, even if the green light says it's okay. By day two, we are already inured to the traffic rushing past us before we've even gotten to the other side of the street. Somehow, it seems to work out.  The traffic keeps flowing, pedestrians keep moving, and although it's crazy, everyone seems to figure out just when it's time to stop and go.  We have found the Romans to be delightful people who are acutely aware of tourists.  Speaking Italian helps, but anyone can get by with English.  In fact it's surprising how signage is more often in Italian and English.

Charles and I are captured by the awesomeness of the culture that is rooted in some of the deepest history that has been written.  Besides all this, we have encountered the best of some of our favourite things:  good food accompanied by a fine wine, gorgeous vistas with Roman ambiance, and a damned good cappuccino!  Joe, you were right about converters for our electronics.  Luckily there was a shop just 3 doors down from our hotel that sells widgets for electronics so we were able to get converters for charging our stuff.  Unbelievable!!!

Charles & I having dinner at A La Cancelleria on Via Cancelleria just outside of Piazza Navono

Cappuccino served just down the street from our hotel is about as yummy as it gets :)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Getting Closer

Less than a few weeks away and beginning to get a little jittery about our upcoming trip to Italy. Jittery in a good way, mind you :)  Things started to get a little too real the other day when we received our Eurail Travel Passes. We are at the list stage.  Anyone who's been anywhere away from home knows what I'm talking about. It's the giant to do checklist that fills the traveller with a modicum of confidence that all is progressing as it should, that they won't be running around like a demented fool at the last hour, or having to retrace their steps to locate an important document or important item they just can't do without.

So this will be my last post before we leave.  One disappointment was that the Blogger App isn't as intuitive as I had hoped on the iPad.  I had to migrate to my laptop to manipulate the photo.  My daughter would say, "first world problems, Mom" and she'd be right.  All is well. Charles and I are feeling very lucky and happy to be sharing this marvellous opportunity to see Italy together.  Can't wait!