One day when I grow up, I want to be a Roman

Trip Start Mar 19, 2007
Trip End Apr 21, 2008

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Flag of Italy  ,
Saturday, June 23, 2007

Roma is proudly bought to you by the letter S.P.Q.R. and the number 30+C.  There are more Catholics then you can poke with a stick, er, poke a stick at and everything is made from Italian marble, from the gutters to the Pantheon.  The stuff must grow on trees it's so common.  I'm tempted to go back with an angle grinder and size me up a nice kitchen bench...
Our (Cath, Ryan, Kel and I)  trip to Roma started with a 3.5 hour delay to our departure time.  Time we used well sampling the English beers at a bar at the airport.  I'm glad we didn't book any accommodation for our first night in country!  Needless to say the flight there and our arrival at 2:30am(?) are a nice warm fuzzy haze, the highlight being Ryan getting escorted off the plane by the polizia.  Soon enough the misunderstanding was all sorted out and we were rejoined by the birthday boy (go the quarter century!) resplendent in his bobby hat.
On arrival in Rome we dropped our bags off at the hotel and immediately took to the streets in the direction of the Coliseum, bottles of duty free 'strayan wine in tow (that stuff is almost cheaper then it is back home!)...
All in all we were in Rome for 58 hours.  During this time we:
- Fell asleep 3 times for a total of 16 hours.  I know, a lot compared to usual, but that's possibly because we:
- Consumed 2 litres of vodka, countless beers, the contents of 1 champagne bottle and at least 3 bottles of wine,
- Took 473 photos.  That's one every 13 minutes. Marble features in 97% of these.
- Walked 57,298 km of marble foot paths,
- Saw 934,577,432,468,831,811,845.735 scootas, some of which were parked on the marble gutter.  No respect, I tell you!
- Saw 1 pope (alive) (on a marble balustrade),
- Got stuck in a Sunday session, catholic style.  Mum, dad, you'll be proud of your son taking the time out to attend Sunday mass led by none other then Mr Benedictus himself 
- Saw 40 popes (interred) (in marble),
- Gazed upon enough marble to create a second moon for the planet Earth,
- Nearly got ran over by 29,522 motor vehicles.  It's a road.  You drive on it.  Those signs on it are just there so that we can put SPQR on something and to show the tourists where to go.  In Italy there is no wrong side of the road.
- Observed 9,428,568 religious establishments, 9,428,567 of which were devoted to Christianity, some bloke or other getting martyred or feeding and watering pilgrims on their way to see the church built on the site where the tweezers that removed the marble splinter that stuck in the foot of said bloke on his way to getting martyred were found by his mother in law's marble sculptor after a divine visitation. 1 church was called the Pantheon(?).  It was the best one.  St Peter could take a few pointers from this church when he plans his next basilica.
- Walked under the gaze of 7,485,269,985 pictures and statues of some Madonna person.  Judging by her popularity she's going to win the next election.
- Stumbled across 3,157 obelisks.  The Egyptians must have had a fire sale in 394 AD.
- Spent more money on taxis then Zimbabwe spends on evicting farmers in half a decade.

Overall, the Italian experience was great.  There's so much to see and do you'll wear your feet down to stumps before you've seen it all.  It's all older then Jesus and it's set at 30 degrees Celcius.  The Italians were all really friendly, even though we could hardly speak a word of Italian (not even 'can you speak english').  The food was great when we got off the beaten track and the beer was cold.  COLD I TELL YOU!  I like the zen of the place.  It's not like Paris with it's wide open spaces - the Romans were too busy burning Christians to burn their city down like the French - but there are still no sky scrapers to be seen in central Rome.  Plenty of open 'parks' full of old crumbling bits of Marble, Christians and tourists taking photos thereof.
Best bit: Colluseum, Pantheon and Treby(?) fountain.  And Gelati.  And Italian Marble.  And Italian women.  And the atmosphere.  And the fact that they all stay up till the wee hours of the morning.  And Italian Beer.  And the weather.
Worst bit:  I only saw one (1) single, lonely Aprilia.  They need a motorcycle awareness program in conjunction with a ban on anything smaller then 250cc.
Kel's corner:
You fall into an exhausted sleep for one minute on your return to London and what happens?  A cheeky so and so sends a cheeky email out...  Since she's suddenly so good at sending out emails about what's going on, I'll let her update you...  In the mean time, here's a pretty picture or two.  Ones that she chose not to send to you :)

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