Monday, 27 August 2012

Roman Holiday

We are just back from five nights in Rome – Youngest’s idea, and no one came up with a better suggestion. We visited all the things you’re supposed to see.

I am staggered by just how much Roman ruin there is and how big their buildings were. Vatican City was another enormous set of buildings with much ornamentation on show – and opportunities for money making in every direction.
It is true that Italian drivers, at least of cars, shouldn’t be allowed on the road: our taxi driver from the airport first tried to rip us off by demanding a larger fee than the price advertised and then drove at 100km/hr while talking on his mobile phone, changing gear and hand such that he regularly had no hand on the steering wheel. We agreed we’d not get in another taxi and returned to the airport by train – even more expensive but it felt safe!

It is also true that Italian food tastes even better in Italy: we ate bruschetta, pizza, pasta, and tiramisu (including tiramisu ice-cream) washed down with Italian beer or wine most nights. Our evening meals were relaxed and fun, if on the pricey side, but buying drinks was extortionate! Iced water in bottles was readily available and much needed in the heat, and we were able to top up bottles at the many drinking fountains around the city, but if you wanted to buy a coffee or a Coke we’re talking 5Euro each at best.

We stayed in a hotel near the Trevi Fountain so we have many photos of it at different times of the day and night. We went early on our departure day in hopes of finding fewer people: there were, but the fountain wasn’t on because it was being cleaned and all the tourists’ money being collected from the pool!

Having viewed the Coliseum, the Palatine Hill, the Forum, the Vatican, four museums, the Spanish Steps, lots of fountains, ridden on the metro and the buses, marched all over Rome and braved the high temperatures, we took a ride up into the hills to visit the Villa D’Este and its garden in Tivoli on our last day. It was delightfully cool and we loved the place. Very few flowers this late in the season, but it was lush and green and had every imaginable water feature. My high point!

Thursday, 16 August 2012


I’M STILL HERE! It’s just taken rather longer than I expected for Husband to set up the wireless network again after it crashed – yes, I do understand that our internet connection doesn’t NEED to be wireless, but it does if all your photos and files aren’t on the only computer with a connection. Hey ho, I’m back now and looking forward to catching up on what you’ve all been up to.

But, today, the only important thing going on in this house is a celebration: Eldest got three A* in Maths, Further Maths and French for her A levels and has thus secured a place at Oxford to read Maths.

I am smiling from ear to ear!