Sunday 12 June
We set off with the view of going to see Saint Francis in Assisi for a couple of days but after driving over the mountains and getting to the other side the heavens opened once more so we rang him and gave our apologies. After an hour of heavy rain, an executive decision was made that being as we had not packed the Snorkles & Flippers, that we would give up on the idea of visiting Assisi and drive through to our planned campsite at Rome a couple of days early.
I chose to not take the motorways and pay the tolls ( tight *#^%,’, ) and drive on the smaller roads. This was perhaps not the best decision as the money we saved in tolls we will probably pay in replacing our fillings after they have been shaken out due to the poor state of the roads we drove on.
It has been a hard slog today because of double the distance I normally drive, the torrential rain and the poor state of the roads. We thought that being a Sunday that we would avoid the lorries and heavy traffic on our journey, however it’s the day when the whole of Italy decides to come out on their cycles and do the Tour de Italia in the winding roads through the mountains endangering any other road users who may be about ( namely us ! )
Having come across a small town that was having a fete and the road being closed, the little lady that sits inside my Sat Nav kept trying to return us to the same place for several miles until we managed to get far away from that junction and added another 20 minutes to the journey by ignoring her constant whining !
We finally arrived at Flaminio village around 3.30 and managed to squeeze ” Cis” in the tightest of spots in between a telegraph pole and a load of trees on a very full campsite ( that’s no way to treat a lady ! ) and then had a wander around the site. Of course we had to try the bar on the way ! The site is pretty good and very close to transport to Rome but seems a little run down in parts and being probably full most of the time they don’t seem to be bothered in addressing the faults. Hey Ho that’s life ! It suits a purpose as we want to have a good look around Rome and our friends Mouse ( Alan ) and Marie are arriving tomorrow and are staying in a bungalow on the same site so we are looking forward to them coming and meeting up for 5 or 6 days.
Having decompressed for a while, Widow Twanky does her bit and sorts out the washing before preparing dinner whilst I set the table and do the washing up after a very nice Steak which we had brought with us from the UK,after which we chilled again for the evening.
Monday 13 June
We chilled around “Cis” today busy doing nothing, awaiting Alan & Marie, who we knew landed around 10.00 at Rome airport. They landed OK but then had a horrendous wait for over 4 hours to pick up the hire car they had booked and finally arrived at the site after 3.30. Being the excellent friends we are, we hurriedly whisked them away to the bar to assist with their necessary decompression !
Later after they had unpacked, showered etc, we rendezvoused at the restaurant where the meal was fair but not brilliant. The service however was mega slow and crap even when we asked for the bill so consequently so was the tip !
We returned to “Cis” for a nightcap and dessert before settling down for the night with a plan to visit Rome tomorrow for a good look around ( Prepare for the photo onslaught ! )
Tuesday 14 June
Buongiorno my little Blogettes. So today I have to give you an advanced Mega warning that this episode of the blog is going to be the Ultimate Death by Photograph as I have shot off 171 photos today although not all have made the final cut !
The four of us ( remember Mouse and Marie are with us ) set off to Rome catching the train locally into the city. The trains appear very basic and are filthy but still run on time. They are mostly adorned with colourful Graffiti. ( I wonder if Michelangelo would have been a Graffiti Artist in his day ! )
On arriving at the train station we swap onto the Metro on two different lines to get to the Colosseum but not before I was told off by the Police for taking a photo of the train. ( get a life Constable ! )
On the second Metro train, Marie narrowly avoided having her purse stolen out of her bag. It magically became unzipped when a youth distracted us seemingly to look at the Metro map by the carriage door whilst his two female counterparts did the dirty deed. Before we realised what was going off, they had left the train. Luckily Marie’s purse was well buried and they left with nowt ! ( *^@+3!” ‘s !!)
The first port of call with us today was the Colosseum which was begun in 72 AD and of course used for the local Bloodsport of feeding the Christians to the Lions and hacking each other up in the Gladiator ring. You will see from the photos that this was amazing and incredible to think it is still pretty much intact after 2000 years.
Following from the Colosseum, we ventured into the Roman Forum and found the best place to view it was from the top of the Palantine Hill, looking down on the incredible ruins. After a couple of hours wandering around here, we needed to sit down and so we left the ancient Rome and strolled into more modern downtown Rome where we found an Irish Bar called Trinity College which reminded us of home and had a good selection of cold draft beers. The first one barely touched the sides, so we had to stop for another just so we could taste it properly.
Whilst in the pub, a pigeon flew into the bar and commenced flying headlong into the window doing an excellent impression of a Japanese Kamikaze Pilot. The bar staff didn’t really know what they were doing so I stepped up by jumping onto the bench seats, grabbing it after a couple of attempts and releasing it safely into the streets of Rome ( where it probably got splattered by a Roman tour bus ! ). The management of the bar kindly bought me a beer on the house for my valiant efforts in evicting their troublesome visitor. Grazia !
The next place on our itinerary was the Pantheon ( not to be confused with the Parthenon which is in Athens and was built by the Greeks not the Romans ! ) The Pantheon is a lovely church which still has the worlds largest concrete dome atop it.
The Pantheon was beautiful inside and there is a large hole in the roof which lets sunlight in and is in fact used as a massive sundial to tell the time. ( See the Nun photo. She was taking selfies 5 minutes before on her iphone ! Love it ! )
We then continued our travels and went to the Piazza Navono and then the Trevi Fountain ( remember three coins in a Fountain ? ) and then to the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately the steps are undergoing refurbishment due to the wear they have been subjected to over the years from excessive Bum traffic !
To finish off the day we visited the Hard Rock Cafe where we all pigged out on various decadent goodies washed down with copious amounts of alcohol. We stayed there until rush hour was over and made our way back to the campsite, luckily without encountering any criminals checking us out this time !
On our return we went our separate ways as we were all Knackered. Unfortunately for Jane & I, just behind us there is a Tennis Centre where tonight they have a star attraction who kicked off playing just as we were turning the lights off and wanted to get some shuteye. This was some talentless wannabe on a keyboard who thought he was Harry Belafonte but was more like Harry Worth ( Time for those earplugs again ! )