Friday, October 1, 2010

Final thoughts on Rome

As we head to our next destination, I have been thinking a bit about our time in Rome.  It is a beautiful city and I was always amazed to turn a corner and see some wonderful fountain, statue or ancient ruin!!

In my opinion, the city is overrun with tourists.  This belief is partly because our apartment was located smack dab in the middle of prime tourist ground, but I found it really hard to get to a place where there were no souvenir shops or people selling city tours in double deck open topped busses.

Our apartment was wonderfully located as it was walking distance to Trevi, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trajan’s Forum, the Coliseum and Roman Forum and countless museums and churches.  Basically, the only sight that we had to use a metro for was to visit the Vatican and St. Peters. 

However, this close proximity meant that everything was LOUD!!!!!   The apartment sat on a cobblestone street which magnifies every sound so that we could easily hear it in our third floor home.   AND, the city NEVER sleeps.  There were people walking and talking and motorcycles racing down the street until the late hours of the morning.  About the only quiet time was between 5 and 6am.  This meant that sleeping was a bit hard, but what the heck…we ARE in Rome!!!

We had the most fun with the bathroom in our apartment.  As I mentioned early on, the shower was TINY…..here is a picture of BIG David showing his entering technique (fully clothed of course)….

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….he said that he had to soap up first so he could slide in!!!!   However, he had the best description of it.  On one HOT, SWEATY day, he dubbed it “4 square feet of heaven”!!!

One of the funniest things about the bathroom was the door…in particular, the noise that it made when opening or closing.  Have a listen for yourself…..

We each had our own special technique….some moved it slowly, some fast, and Roy shushed it each time made a noise.  But the  bottom line was that everyone in the building knew when we went to the bathroom!!!!

We perfected the means of crossing the street.   When we were here in 1998, we dubbed it “the Roman stare” and it goes like this……step out into the street and glare at the driver until he stops for you to cross.    There were numerous cross walks, both at corners and in the middles of the  blocks, but the driver’s would not always stop.  I had one motorcycle driver glare at me as I crossed (in the crosswalk), and I just glared back….the eyes say it all.   Another one came racing up as I was already in the crosswalk.  I hesitated and he smiled and nodded for me to continue. 

The hawkers and sellers of “original” products are everywhere looking for an innocent buyer who will believe that this Gucci bag only costs 15 Euros!!  Most of the souvenirs were the same from shop to shop but prices would vary greatly depending on how close you were to a tourist site.

Driving is harrowing….the lanes are fairly fluid and people just fit in wherever they can.  When cars stop at a light, all of the scooters and motorcycles weave between the cars to the front of the line and rev up and take off when the light changes.  And, people park EVERYWHERE, sometimes on the sidewalk!!!  Also, I have never seen people so adept at parallel parking.  There were cars pulling into spots that were only 18 inches longer than their car!!!

There was one thing that I had planned to do in Rome that simply did not ever happen.  I had images in my head of sitting in an area and playing with sketching, painting etc.  The problem with that dream was that there were TOO many people around and not enough places to sit.  Also, once I had climbed the stairs back into the apartment, I really did not want to go out again!!   I am happy with the work that I did on the underwater piece, but am sorry that I didn’t get around to the other.

The bottom line here is that we had a WONDERFUL time in Rome and have truly enjoyed our Roman experience.  But, now it is time to move on to another form of paradise…..more to come!!!!

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