Sunday, May 27, 2007

Roman, er...Rome!

Right then. The eternal city of short change and pickpockets. Actually, as long as you keep your head about you, it is no worse than, say, Chicago or Toronto. Brenda was the victim last night...the guy didnt get anything, but it was a bit of a wake up call to be more vigilant.
Walked about Rome the first night, visited the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, and watched the touts at work, selling counterfeit gucci purses and watches. Rather more entertaining than watching the water pour out of the grotto behind the fountain and into the pool. There is a LOT of water in Rome...the famous aquaducts of course are no longer in use, but the sources are the same as in the old days, and huge pipes laid on the same routes bring in more water than the city can use! Every few blocks there is a corner fountain which pours fresh cold water out into the street for anybody to use. The spigots have a small hole in the top of them, and when you cover the end, the water jets up through the little hole for you to get a drink. The Trevi Fountain, for instance, is at the end of the Holy Virgin Aquaduct, and I strongly suspect that judging by the clarity of the water that it is continually fresh. If you google "Trevi Fountain" you will see what I mean. (Though you never know...I could be wrong, and they are recycling it!)
A tour through the Civic Forum, and met three lovely young women all finished their University and are taking the trip of a lifetime. Their sparkle was wonderful. Brenda and I, along with these three ladies visited Trajan's Forum, and I took plenty of pictures of the armour for the Reverend Dark. They have all the armour types perfectly illustrated, only trouble is, the scaffolding gets in the way of a good picture. Not sure why the scaffolding is even there...put perhaps it is to prevent the ubiquitous graffitti.
Earilier in the day, we had visited the convent on the Esquiline Hill, and Brenda was pretty sure the order was the same as Mother Teresa's order, judging by the blue stripes on the veil. Sure enough, we came across a statue of the good Mother herself, in a park in front of the convent, and there were several homeless people sacked out in the middle of the day around the base of it. Seems appropriate some how.
Our hotel is a bit of a come down from the palatial accomodations in Malta, but heck, its nice enough. It is clearly made for the fast cheap buck though...the fittings are all Ikea unless they could find cheaper, and the bed is a fold out couch. No, its not even that! The second single is a foam pad which fits under the couch. I though it was a joke! But no, thats how it works here! No air conditioning, or ceiling fan. They grudgingly provided us with a fan on a stand which fortunately makes enough noise to cover the road noise.
Ah well, it wasn's so bad. The wall opens up, and the HUGE balcony becomes part of the living room. Brenda was a little ticked off at the compulsory "club surcharge" of 30 Euro a week per person. As far as I can see, we don't get much for the "club membership", but heck, maybe it pays for the shuttle bus which goes from this place in the sticks to the local train station. A tiny little kichenette serves our needs just fine. Now if only I can figure out how to open a can with these European can openers!
I sound like I am complaining, but since that is the extent of the "complaints" so far, so I guess I am doing all right! And I see another person is now waiting for this one and only internet point, so I must sign off, and plan today's adventure.
Regards from Roma

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