italy the last
all right, my final update on italy - stop the last: Roma. =) of all the cities we visited, frankly, i liked Rome the least, though -like Florence- it grew on me. perhaps it takes a while for larger, more disorganised (and non-english) cities to grow on me; i have a hard time finding my way, and being constantly lost is not really conducive to learning to love a place. plus it decided to rain almost continuously the entire time we were in Rome (unlike the absolutely gorgeous weather we had in Tuscany, and even in the Cinque Terre, though it did rain in La Spezia), which predisposed me to be grouchy.
also, we had public transport issues -- the first morning we were in Rome, i wanted to go to the Vatican (oh, how i looked forward to seeing the Vatican!), which necessitated taking the Metro, since walking would take too ridiculously long. so off we trekked to the metro station, only to find it was closed, and we would have to take a bus (it turned out later that the entire line was closed, and shortly after they closed the second metro line as well -one line goes north-south while the other east-west, like in Singapore) -however there were already what felt like tens of thousands of tourists who were waiting for said bus. grr! so we wound up walking all over Rome that first day -the buses didn't seem to be running too consistently either -just our luck to walk into a pseudo-strike where buses kept coming into the terminal and then not leaving again. (the drivers went into their little rest booths, had long chats with each other while smoking like chimneys, and assuring people that yes the buses were indeed running...sort of) i saw the usual sights -the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon...=) and ate the best gelato in Rome, from San Crispino near the Trevi. oooh, the grapefruit gelato! all the wonderful loveliness of the grapefruit taste without any of the messiness of getting the flesh out of the skin! and the hazelnut gelato and the chocolate gelato were beautiful too -smooth, not too sweet, rich with the essence of the distinct flavours...i was a very happy camper after having some of that gelato, let me tell you!
i didn't throw coins into the Trevi like i was supposed to, but i did take a picture:
the second day we were in Rome it was slightly more successful: we made it into the Vatican Museums before the major storm broke over our (unshielded) heads -i watched the rain thunder down on the glass ceiling of the reception area, and thanked my lucky stars we were already indoors!- and spent a great deal of time in the Sistine Chapel, where i didn't take any photos, because i am a good tourist. we also saw Raphael's The School of Athens, which was really cool. (alex bought a 1000 piece jigsaw of said painting, which we completed on Sunday afternoon at his place) but i've already posted about seeing Michelangelo's Pieta -i discovered that serendipitously i had bought a postcard of said Pieta while in Florence, so it is on my wall above a picture of a Ferrari- and the Basilica di San Pietro, so nothing more on that.
we rounded up our second afternoon by walking by the Spanish Steps, where we lounged in true tourist fashion and watched the Food Nazi policeman walk around, blow his whistle almost instantly upon discovering a pair of gelati-eating tourists attempting to settle themselves on the steps -"no food! no food! you sit elsewhere, please"- and also me pointing out random expensive stores -"missoni! and gucci! and oh! is that a bvlgari?!"- before we decided to go find the Ferrari store. and am i glad we did! because i got to have my picture taken with an ACTUAL F1 RACE CAR (one of the most beautiful machines on earth!) and bought an outrageously expensive photo of Schumi in his machine after winning, pumping his fist in the air while congratulating and being congratulated by his pit crew. (i wanted one with both Ferraris in it, but they weren't that attractive; besides, i'm really a Schumi fan. i almost bought one of him doing his little star-jump, which i adore -i think it makes him look like a really big Ribena berry.)
but the next day, it was back to London where the giant-transit-party was just beginning; we saw Amos (who had just arrived from Lyon and would return to Paris that evening) and Julian (who is enroute to Dublin, but settling his sister into London in the meantime) and Feng-Yuan (we stayed at his place). it was wonderful to see everyone again, and actually get to spend time with Feng this time, not to mention Julian. yay. but you already know the rest of the story -i am back in Chicago, yadda yadda. italy is now but a wonderful memory -and a desire to go again!
come away with me
in the night
come away with me
and i will write you a song
come away with me in the mist
come away where they can't tempt us
with their lies