What a beautiful place Rome is! Yes, I’ve been. Just got back a few days ago. There’s so much to tell, it’s hard to know where to start, so I’ll just start with my arrival at the airport.
We (Phil, his daughters, Alice and Emily, and I) arrived at the airport rather late Aug. 11Th, Saturday evening. It was dark. We were supposed to have been there earlier, but the flight had been rescheduled at an earlier date. It was cool. I was just happy to be there.
It was very easy to get through customs in Italy. I was surprised. I say this because it seems to be quite an ordeal for me to visit England. With each successive time I go through customs, I get asked more questions. Returning from Italy to England was the worst yet. I shall digress for just a moment and share with you a bit of what I had to endure:
What is the purpose for your visit?
I’m visiting a friend.
How long are you here for?
What is your friend’s name?
How did you meet him?
How long have you known him?
What sort of relationship do you have with him?
At this point, I’m feeling a bit amused that I’m getting the third degree. I’m wondering why. I smile and say “We’re just friends.”
He obviously doesn’t believe me.
Friend? Boyfriend? Lover? What?
If I ask him the same question what would he tell me?
(I laugh. Mistake) I’m sure he would tell you we were just friends too.
He thinks I’m lying. I’m thinking what the hell does it matter what we are? The questions continue.
What does he do for a living?
Is he currently employed?
Does he have a house?
Is he single? Children?
What do you do for a living?
Where do you live?
Are you single? Children?
How can you afford to be away from your job for so long?
Who’s paying for your vacation?
Is your friend paying for anything?
At this point I’m getting the feeling that he thinks I’m a conniving American woman who has used my wiles to seduce an unsuspecting Englishman into paying for my holiday. Wrong. Finally, after a few more questions and several looks of contempt (I’ve no idea why), he let me in and I rushed to catch up with Phil and his daughters by the luggage area feeling somewhat violated after the ordeal.
Italy was a piece of cake compared to that! Hell, I don’t even remember what I was asked. In nothing flat I was through and waiting on my luggage. That was the only delay but it wasn’t too bad. Soon we were in a taxi and on our way to the hotel. It was beautiful. On a narrow, cobbled side-street, it was fairly central in location to all the sites we wanted to see. Walking distance to most.
Our first morning we enjoyed an excellent breakfast and headed off to find the Trevi fountain. We received a map from the hotel clerk with the hotel position circled so we were sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find. Hey, Phil had been to Rome several times before so it was all cool.
What seemed to me to be several hours and many miles later, we finally found Trevi fountain! We’d obviously taken the long way…haha. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful, we saw some amazing sites, ancient ruins, the Spanish Steps (yes, my fat ass had to walk up them!), but I was wondering if I was going to fall over and have to wave them on and tell them “Go on without me! Save yourselves!”
Yes, I learned just how out of shape my lazy American ass really is. Day 2 drove home that realization as we made our way to Saint Peter’s Basilica and I proceeded to climb the 551 steps that would take me to the top. Phil was very patient with me as I had to stop and rest several times on the way up. I made it though! I was very proud of my achievement. However, it took a lot out of me. More than I realized, because next we were off to the Vatican museum and while I enjoyed what I saw of it, I was so tired and dehydrated that I didn’t get to see all of it because I started to get ill. At one point I felt as if I were going to pass out. I think it may have had something to do with being in a fairly small enclosed space with seemingly nothing to breathe but stale air full of bodily odors and scant oxygen. I felt a bit better after some much needed fresh air. Unfortunately, it cut short the tour and Phil didn’t get to see all he wanted to. I felt awful. He said I couldn’t come with him and the girls to a town with ruins (can’t remember the name) the next day. It involved lots of walking in the hot sun. I was relieved!
I had most of the next day to myself. I grabbed the map and decided I would go to the Coliseum! I was excited at the prospect of heading off on my own. Up to this point, I’d been just following Phil (lagging at times) and not really paying much attention to landmarks or streets or directions of any kind. Now it was time for me to use my brain. I plotted out my course and took off with a big smile on my face. It was amazing. Here I was, on my own, in Rome, and for the moment, totally dependent on my own self. It felt amazing.
My first glimpse of the Coliseum thrilled me. I turned a corner and there, at the end of a long street, was a small piece of the historical site. When I left the narrow street, I stood there for a bit, admiring the breathtaking beauty of the Coliseum. I made my way across the street and joined the queue. It was lucky that I had no idea what queuing for the Coliseum was going to involve, because I’m sure I would not have bothered. As it was, I stood in line and waited, thinking things would get moving faster eventually. They never did. I kid you not when I say I spent more time standing in line than I did inside the Colliseum itself. I’m glad I stood there though. I have wonderful pictures and the memory of it will last a lifetime.
The next day we went to see a couple of shows, one a 5D adventure through the history of the world and the other an entertaining special effect show about the history of Rome. Afterwards, we returned to the Coliseum (the girls wanted to see it) but didn’t go in.
Throughout the trip, we ate in several amazing restaurants, one not so amazing, and one meal was taken at McDonalds! It was quite different than the ones back home and very low key. Nothing garish and gaudy about this one…they simply wouldn’t allow that among all the beautiful architecture.
The pizza and pasta was amazing and it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. In fact, I think it’s about time I fix some dinner. I’m going to go check in the English kitchen and see what sort of delightful food I can find for my tea (supper). Food stuffs here in England are a bit different than back home. It’s wonderful though. ASDA (walmart) is amazing. I’ll tell you all about it in another post though. Next time!