Landing in Rome it took us almost 2 hours to get our bags, yes 2 hours standing in front of the baggage carousel, no bags! Dale made the very poor joke that they were probably taking so long because the baggage handlers had to go through and pilfer each bag individually. Not a funny joke. There I am breaking out into a cold sweat thinking if this baggage handler steals my Clarins Anti-wrinkle cream to give to his granny I will be locked up in an Italian jail for serious assault! It was with a great amount of relief when we finally saw them inching their way towards us! YES! Thank you God I am not going to have to share underwear with Dale for this trip our bags had not been lost! Tash 1 - Baggage Handlers granny 0.
Rome was exactly what we thought it would be and so much more. All the sights and I mean all of them come pouncing out of the shadows at you as if from out of nowhere! You come out of the Metro station and wham! Coliseum! Come strolling out of a side street and *pounce* theres the Pantheon in front of you. It was all very exciting the first 2 days, until Dale and I had lost all feeling in our legs and yet our feet still managed to cry out in agony. They're mean that way, feet I mean. You abuse them enough they start to randomly trip you up at the most inopportune times. But I recommend the walking.
We sat in this restaurant in Rome on our second night in waiting for our pizzas to arrive, when the waiter began blatantly flirting with me, well as much as he could in his halting English and I sat there smiling thinking ... how sweet! until I saw Dale starting to give him the evil eye, uh oh. I was fully expecting Dale to jump up, slap the waiter in the face with a glove (ok, so we had no gloves - it would have to be a beanie) and demand a duel - pizza cutters at dawn! Just when I thought things were going to turn ugly the waiter sidles up to Dale, puts both his hands on Dales shoulders and says "you are a jealous man non? Donna warry.... I no like the gurls!!" ... And as the tensions eased out of my shoulders and I sat there grinning like an idiot, Dale became paler and paler and the waiters hands had not moved off his shoulders, and here we were worrying about gropers. We had read about the dangers of pick pocketers and gropers, Dale worrying that some Italian guy would pinch my bum on a bus and here we were. Having a nice relaxing dinner with Dale the one being groped.
Rome just has too much beauty for you to take in, in a short amount of time. You could spend months wandering the streets and Piazzas, finding something to see at every turn. They were grand, and they wanted to show it. Everything was done on massive scale and it took our breathe away.(So either grand ... or the Caesars all had serious small-man-syndrome because everything is built to slam the fact that we are but mere mortals compared to them into our faces ... the jury is still out).
Dale overnight turned into a Japanese tourist, he eventually took on the look of a little red headed angel with a glowing halo of light constantly surrounding him - until he had no more use of the flash that was.
The Vatican city - again pounces out of the shadows. From what I had read I had assumed because this was a papal residency that you would have to go through some serious security to get in to the Vatican City. I mean we're talking rubber gloves and some KY jelly, having to remove the fillings out of your teeth because you could potentially fashion a bullet out of them, but alas no. Dale and I found ourselves wonder straight off the street, through massive pillars and straight into St. Peters Square. We stopped walking looked at each other all stupid like and both said I think we're in the Vatican City.... And we were! No violation of body parts needed. We just wondered straight into the Vatican City.
St Peters Basilica - The largest church in the world is breathtaking. Filled with Michelangelo, da Vinci and Bellini. We wandered off to see the Sistine Chapel, which mind you I was horribly disappointed in. It is less a chapel and more a smallish room with loads of painting on the ceiling. Where is the massive Dome? Where are the violins? Where is the God-like experience we had been waiting for? Nothing but a room packed to the rafters with tourist. My little Japanese tourist managed to click off some pictures of the good stuff before being given the evil eye by the guards and being told off "NO Photo's!!" I thought they would ask us to delete the photos for a second and I was getting ready to start screaming amount my rights being violated and freedom of speech and erm photos and the like - but they left us alone and Dale and I decided that it was getting a bit cramped and decided to blow the panini stand!
Eventually we became all churched / statu'ed and painting'ed out. We would come around a corner and instead of standing in absolute awe at the beautiful obelisk in front of us, marveling at the craftsmanship and just stunned at how those Egyptian pigmy virgins from Mesopotamia hand carved this gigantic statue by hand with blindfolds on - all we could manage was "Oh look, another sticky thing" *take pictures - wander off to the next amazing stick thing*
Just too much, just too beautiful. But we saw all the good stuff! Coliseum, The Roman Forum, Palantine Hill, The Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, The Vatican City and too much more to talk about.
What did we take with us from Rome into the rest of our Italy trip?
- The cappuccinos are straight from God.
- The public transport - how to use it without getting out in Uzbekistan when all you wanted to do was go to the corner cafe.
- That your feet can take a hell of a beating
- That when your boyfriend is trying to point out a huge sight to you, don't look the other way and say "Oh my God yes look it's the Prada shop!!" and squeal. Important sights mean different things to different people :)