Monday, December 16, 2013

Roman Holiday

We never made it to Norcia and the Apennines – bloody snow again. We’d had enough cold weather and snow so just hung out in Assisi and did some walking. Weather was beautiful, cold and sunny.

On our way to Rome, we stopped in Rieti. We stayed the night with Julian and his family. Some of you may remember that Julian is the guy that Lawrence bought the Mog from! They’ve stayed in touch, so we decided to pay them a visit. He’s a really fun and interesting guy and his wife Lucia is lovely. We left on the Sunday with farm fresh eggs and 6 bottles of wine!!

Next stop Rome! The campsite is outside the ring road so this meant a bus and train into town. We made the decision to spend 2 nights in the city centre, and found a cheap, fabulous, serviced apartment in Trastevere. Day one was spent simply re-acquainting ourselves with this amazing city. Neither of us had been to Rome since the early ‘80s so we were a bit rusty.

We did our usual thing of stopping in a sunny Piazza first up and having a coffee. Now, we always know that these are going to be expensive, but it’s a nice introduction to a new city. Well!! The bill came and I burst out laughing in disbelief. Lawrence went pale and had trouble breathing – €23.40 for 2 coffees!!! That’s far more than Piazza San Marco – or anywhere in the world I think!! Can anyone beat that??

Then of course we got stuck right in. Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican City, you name it – we saw it. The highlight for me was the Raphael rooms at the Vatican Museums. They were so very beautiful, we spent an age looking at these frescos. Thankfully we had taken the binoculars so we could see the incredible detail up close.

Just to prove I was at the Colosseum

Roman Forum

I thought the Raphaels were much more striking than the Sistine Chapel, which I find slightly disturbing. Michaelangelo had a very strange idea of what a man’s bottom looks like, but if you look closely at the famous ‘Creation of Adam’ painting, under the God figure is a young man with a VERY cute bum. Worth taking the binoculars for!!!

Of course we did loads of churches, St Peter’s, the Duomo, Pantheon and so on. A highlight was the byzantine mosaics in Santa Maria Maggiore. Some of these were not in great condition and the lighting was terrible, but they were really worth seeing. You need to look behind the monstrous baroque altarpiece.

We met more Aussies in the campsite, who again gave us the lowdown on Sicily – over quite a few bottles of wine and great meal cooked by Lynne.

From Rome we headed straight to Pompei. The campsite is a bit ho-hum but we expect that as we head south. The location is brilliant, walking distance to the ruins, train to Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi etc. we’ve only seen Naples briefly so far, but it’s everything you expect – busy, dirty, big.

Today we did the Pompei ruins, which are mindblowing. I wasn’t sure what to expect as so often these thing are over-sold and your expectations are way too high. Pompei does not disappoint. We spent most of the day there and are now very foot sore. It really is something to see and impossible to describe. The whole experience was enhanced by wonderful weather – warm and sunny. Oh bliss. Photos to follow. 
Lawrence at Pompei

Fresco of Achille

One of the three ampitheatres

Fresco in the Villa of Mysteries

Pompei street
Of course we found a vineyard!!

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