After the election in the US the World suddenly seems a scarier place. It was, without a logical reason, unsettling to leave our comfortable home and venture out to Bella Italia. The morning was cold and we began with de-icing the car. The road to Ystad was good but on the E65 we hit a very slow moving queue which made the heart beat a little faster. After the Sturup turn things began to move more freely. We reached Kastrup nevertheless in good time and found a parking place on the 5th floor.
The SAS flight was comfortable and on schedule. We found the bus at Rome Fiumincino for Rome centre and alighted at the central station which is a few minutes walk from our hotel. There was nice lady receptionist, A clean, small room with a fine view of an inner courtyard and collected air conditioning systems. It will be fine. We wandered out for a stroll and it rained big time. We were forced to retire to a bar for two Perronis. We celebrated the return of the sun with a Gelato. Anna found a nice handbag and a sweater. Dinner was in Lacondo di Bacco. Nice restaurant full of wine boxes on the walls. The risotto was good. Before the dinner we enjoyed a G&T in a wine bar. The stylish bar had an enormous collection of wine displayed on the walls. The owner was also stylish and he played music from a collection of vinyl records. Beside us he served a couple with sparkling white wine and oysters. I began to regret my choice of drink. We took a nightcap in a bar where a lady played and sang whilst playing an electric piano. She sounded like a whole orchestra.
We slept well and breakfast was good. Latte and cappuccino were delivered to the table. Today it will be the Colosseum.
The Colosseum is colossal and full of people with selphie sticks and two finger salutes. It is an impressive building. We gained entrance without a queue via prepaid tickets bought on the internet. The technology behind its construction and performances the arena had hosted were also impressive. The arena was so called because the performance area was filled with sand. In Latin sand is harena. After the Collo we wandered in Forum Romano which offered lots of fallen stones and a few marble columns.
Lunch was a modern miracle. The restaurant we choose served two groups of 35 children and their Priestly keepers while we ate. They were remarkably well behaved. Just after we arrived a group of twenty Koreans had left. The meal was remarkable for the logistics more than the food.
Next it was the Trevi fountain and the Spanish Steps. When we returned to our hotel, we had managed just under 20,000 steps ourselves and we have still had an evening stroll to accomplish. The number settled at 25,000 by close of day and I feel at least a couple of inches shorter!
This evening we ate fish at The Crab. It is a white stylish restaurant which serves only fish. Oysters, mussels, vongole and tuna was consumed with enthusiasm. Good service and good food.
On the way home our nightcap was a repeat of yesterday. The lady with the orchestra managed to sing a whole new repertoire. She is also impressive.
Direct after breakfast we made our way by Metro to the Vatican Museum. Once again we went in directly with no queuing with pre-purchased tickets. The opulence and quantity of art was amazing. It bears testimony to the power and wealth of the Catholic church. The Sistine Chapel was a little disappointing, perhaps too many starters before the main course. We managed to include Piazza Navona, the Jewish quarter, Pantheon and Campo di fiori before we arrived back in our hotel via 17,000 steps.
This evening we had dinner at Babette with a lady I worked with 16 years ago. She is American and her husband was born in Rome. A good dinner made remarkable by the conversation. Trump only came up once when Corrado said you all laughed when we got Berlusconi now you have Trump!
The weather has been good to us, around 15 centigrade and sunny. Today promised to be fine also. Our morning and afternoon walk were in bright sunlight. We wandered in the Trastevere area along with Romans out for their passiegiatta. Lots to look at and enjoy. At twelve we heard the cannon shot which was initiated by Pope Pius IX who introduced the custom of publicly announcing mid-day throughout the city by the firing a cannon to make sure all clocks (and church bells) stayed on the same time. It started on December 1st 1846, but at that time the cannon was fired from the top of Sant’Angelo Castle. . Nowadays it’s been moved up to the Janiculum. We did not make the climb up to see the cannon. You are supposed to get spectacular views from there.
Lunch saw us in Il Ciak restaurant. It was busy with both people and its walls with of photos of customers, celebrities and film posters. They also delivered very good food. We wandered back to our hotel completing our normal 12+ kilometres.
Rome is chaotic, full of small “Smart” cars parked higgledy-piggledy in uneven cobbled streets and pavements with its fair share of rubbish and graffiti. But it is a wonderful city. So much history and beauty on display.
For dinner we chose a classic restaurant La Pentolaccia with mature male waiters. The service was charming and the food excellent. An elderly lady with carefully applied makeup but a little too much perfume managed three courses and a glass of wine. The waiters made sure she did not feel neglected despite dining alone.
This morning we wandered up to Villa Borghese, a green park, through wide elegant streets that reminded us of Paris. The expensive shops completed the illusion. We stopped at an stylish cafe on the edge of the park. It had the most beautiful espresso machine I have ever seen. We sat outside and drank our coffee and ate canolinni. After more piazzas and obelisks we arrived at Parlimento. Over the whole of Rome we have seen impressive security. All the main tourist sites and important buildings were guarded by soldiers in pairs with machine guns, Caribineri and local police. Lunch was a pizza and beer.
Tomorrow is a bus and metro strike in Rome so we have booked the express train to Rome Fiumicino. This evening was a high point. First it was Spumante and oysters at I colori del Vino. The owner is a vinyl record liking wine freak who serves wonderful oysters. Then it was over the street to a Taverna Flavia. The very aged owner greeted us at the door and we found a table beside two very badly dressed Americans. The walls were full of pictures of well-known artists from Clint Eastwood to Frank Sinatra photographed with the owner. The food was excellent. A man who has sung at tables for 53 years forced us to sing whilst he played guitar and the Lady badly dressed American said what a nice voice I had. She must have been drunk. It was a fitting last evening. Ciao Roma.