Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Travel Email – Roma (5th Oct 2009)

Hi all,

Well, we just finished our 'Last Supper' (Pizza) in the beautiful Roma, and are on the way back to the Hotel to pack.  We have half a day tomorrow for final shopping, then it's off to the Airport to come home.  Having said that, I don't actually arrive home until Wednesday morning, given the time difference, long flight and a lengthy wait at Brisy Airport.  What a holiday it has been!!!!

Well, in my usual fashion, I am just going to give a bit of a rundown of our final days, and then I will leave you in peace.

In Positano (Amalfi Coast), we were back to a 3 star Hotel, so no more cute white slippers.  Now, it did bring me to wondering how many stars we have to achieve to get a matching white robe??  I would so love a robe.  A 3 star toothbrush/paste & sewing kit just don't quite cut it in the gift stakes now that we have slippers!!! 

Hhmm, we were brought back down to earth in our Rome accommodation.  Not sure if it is 2 or 3 stars, but you know it's on the lower end when your shampoo is in sachets!!!

On Tuesday, our 'walk of the gods' along the 15 stations of the cross from Praiano to Positano was just fantastic.  Although it was 7.4 km's uphill (along the mountain cliff face for the most part) and 1200 steps/2.5 km's downhill (no exaggeration on the number of steps), the views were to be seen to be believed.  Truly spectacular!!  It took us 4.5hrs as we took a half hour lunch stop before we could bring ourselves to tackle the 1200 steps.  My poor old knees!!

Wednesday we spent a lovely day loitering around the village shops, which brought me to procrastinate over a small purchase (candle holder).  It started off the following conversation I had with myself.

Me: Do I need it?
Inner Voice:  It is not about need, it is about want!

Me:It is more than I would normally pay (after quick Euro conversion).  Would I pay that much if I saw it in Cairns?
Inner Voice: You are not in Cairns.  You are in a small village on the Amalfi Coast where you will most likely never come again (unless you start dating a famous person).  So buy it if you want it.

Me: What would Mum say if she knew I had paid that much?
Inner voice:Don't tell her, or halve it.

Me: What would my husband say, if I had one?
Inner voice: Unless you hadn't noticed, you don't have one.  Which is why you are able to be here in the first place! And if you did have one, he could give you extra money to buy a matching piece.  Which is back to why you don't have one.  Cos men like that don't actually exist!

Me: Will I regret it if I don't buy it?
Inner voice: It's not good to have regrets.  Don't chance it.  If you don't like it when you get home, throw it in as an incentive for EBAY person buying backpack (with no wheels).

Me: Should I ask for a discount for cash?
Inner voice:  Now you are starting to sound like your mother!!  Plus, unless you have already forgotten, you already did and she said no!

Me:  Where will I put it in my house?
Inner voice: Your concern should be, 'where are you going to put it in your backpack?'. Toss out the stupid sand ornament you got conned into purchasing in Dubai and it will fit!

Me: Will it match my other house ornaments?
Inner voice:  Aaaarrrrggghhhh....... OCD freak!!

Me:  Hey look.  There is a matching piece.  Oh, they look so good together.  What am I going to do now?
Inner voice:  Pretend your imaginary husband just gave you the extra money and buy both!!

MELINDA's voice:  You have to buy them both.  They are lovely and one by itself just wouldn't work.  Look, I'm buying these matching earrings, bracelet and ring.  Aren't they lovely too.

So, between the advice from my 'shopaholic' travelling partner and my extravagant inner voice, what choice did I have?  I became the proud owner of two over-priced, yet matching Positano candle holders!!!

Thursday morning we were up early saying good-bye to the beautiful Amalfi Coast, as we made our way to Rome.  We arrived about lunch time.  We looked at the travel agent's note which said the Hotel was a mere 50 metres from the train station and headed off in search of it.  Well, I can tell you, about 2 km's later, I was ready to kill the travel agent.  Not only was I mimicking the Hunchback from Notre Dame, but by the time we found the hotel, I felt like I was dragging a full size trailer beside me (disguised of course as a Louis Vuitton wheeled bag which was laden with many of Italy's finest treasures).

Melinda has attended 6 months of Bootcamp in Tassie prior to our holiday, so she was marching gallantly along a block ahead of me as if she was carrying a paper weight on her back.  She said she could hear my 'trailer' being wheeled along the footpath behind her, so she knew I wasn't lost!!  What doesn't kill me, will surely make me stronger!!!

Well, Rome is another unique city, rich with magnificent architecture and history (and more churches than I've seen in a lifetime).  We've spent the majority of the last few days walking from one end of the city to the other visiting famous piazza's, churches and monuments.  On Friday we went to the Vatican City looking for Popey (that's Melinda's pet name for the Pope), but he must have been having a day at home.  I'm sure I would have recognised him if he had walked past me considering his face is pictured on every type of souvenier you could imagine.  Was going to bring you all back a Popey souvenier, but couldn't decide between the calendars, fridge magnets, pendants, pens, cups, spoons, plates, key-rings, snow globes, T-shirts, caps and many other special items. 

We went into St Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and Museum and the artwork and architecture was amazing.  I had such a sore neck from arching backwards to take photos of the ceilings.  Word of warning though - even I was falling asleep when I was looking back at these photos, so there is no pressure to view all of these ones!!!

We also threw coins in the 'Trevi Fountain', walked the 'Spanish steps', wandered through the 'Pantheon', ate gelati in 'piazzo Navona' and stalked some nice policemen standing outside the 'Victor Emmanuel Monument' (commonly known as the Wedding Cake).  All the while, taking another 1000 photos!

I decided that while in Rome it would be quite a treat (for the good Catholic girl that I am) to attend a mass service on Sunday.  So just before Midday today, I headed off to Saint Maria Maggiore Church in preparation for my first Italian Mass.  As I arrived, a Bishop (important priest for you non-catholics), was walking out of the church.  I adopted my usual stalking photographer stance and snapped a quick one off.  SPRUNG!!!  He started motioning at me and I thought 'Oh Merda' (oh shit in Italian) as I believed I was in trouble.  Quite the contrary.  The lovely Bishop was asking whether I wanted a photo with him.  Well, is Popey catholic??  Course I did (for the photo album of course).  So the other nice priest took a photo of my mate (the Bishop) and I.  I then ridiculously did the whole 'Japanese thank you thing' of nodding and bowing and repeating 'grazie, grazie, grazie' while backing away.  And then off to church I went.

To be honest, even though I hardly understood a word of the service, it was very special.  It is probably the only Sunday Mass I will remember always.  The singing was like going to an opera.  It was great!

Melinda on the other hand decided an afternoon of shopping in Rome was an experience she would treasure more than a mass service!  We met after the service and she showed me her purchases and I showed her my nice Italian Church pamphlet.

And on that note, that is the end of my Travel Emails for this holiday. Look forward to catching up soon.

Love Joyous xx

Oh, one last thing.  My pretty walking shoes were great and managed to get me through this holiday with no blisters to speak of.  They even looked new until I dropped a piece of jam toasty bread on one of them!

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