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Rome 2005

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Kiril joined me (and the Scandinavian women; the men too, but through no choice of his own) on Friday evening. On Saturday we moved to a rather more salubrious hotel: 8 beautiful rooms housed in a 16th century palazzo near the Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona, highly recommended (www.romeby.com/banchivecchi/). We spent a happy day wandering through the city and the Forum Romanum, full of temples, basilicas and other buildings from the Roman Republic and Imperial periods. We continued to the Colosseum where we found a cat looking for Christians and Kiril gave in to the urge to purchase tat (though only a fridge magnet, thank goodness, rather than a Colosseum snow storm). The day (and the rest of the weekend) also featured wonderful coffee (a good enough reason in itself to leave London?) and delicious ice cream (seek out San Crispino on Via de Panetteria).

Met up later in the evening with some friends of Kiril’s (Jason and Simon) for drinks and dinner and for the boys to compare notes on the previous night, in particular the relative merits of a night with Scandinavian or Scottish women. Kiril also ordered (inadvertently) possibly the most expensive fish he had ever eaten.

We spent Sunday exploring the Palatine hill and the Capitoline museums before a wonderful evening of camparis and delicious food in Trastevere (seek out Asinocotto, Via dei Vascellari, for superb Italian cooking: a short menu with modern interpretations of classic dishes, served in a casually elegant restaurant decorated with frescoes). Kiril and I met up with Marc-Antoine from the seminar and bumped into Jason so once again, I managed to be entertained by three boys. Hmm, could get used to Roman life.

Monday was dedicated to the Vatican city: museums and St Peter’s. After grumbling our way through a queue half a kilometre long (the record is six kilometres – and this is Italy rather than Britain!) we grumbled some more through the internal queues to reach the Raffael rooms and Sistine Chapel. All was forgiven upon arrival, however, since these really are masterpieces of the Renaissance and absolutely unmissable on a trip to Rome. The Vatican really is a treasure house: not only frescoes and some of the most ornate and sumptuous interior decoration I have ever seen, but also paintings, Classical sculpture, Etruscan/Egyptian/anthropological collections, maps etc etc etc. We were less impressed by the contemporary religious art and the omnipresent tat shops.

Dragged our aching feet to Saint Peter’s in time to join the huge crowds assembling for a mass. Think we caught a glimpse of the Pope in the distance – ask Kiril for the tall person’s opinion. Annoyingly, had to change hotels for the last night (our own fault entirely for deciding at the last minute to stay an extra night, but well worth the extra day in Roma), but the dank and dingy staircase gave onto a charming apartment in the roof, the steeply pitched sides perfect for K to bump his head on.

The only notable feature of the final day was almost missing our plane and losing a couple of years of the ends of our lives.

Locations Visited: Rome

You certainly get the prize for the best journals to date. Very cool! Will bear that hotel in mind for the marathon next year.
Posted by: Calan Horsman on 19 Oct 2005

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