Thu 14 Jul 2011 - Sun 17 Jul 2011
Here's the thing about Rome...The Eat, Pray, Love lady really knows her food! Tried some killer good honey gelato she mentions and to be cliched, when in Rome...drink Espresso, try a non-Starbucks Cappuccino, and drink yourself silly on grappa. Believe it or not, I have never had an espresso or a cappuccino ever before. I am a devout tea drinker.
Did the usual sights- Colosseum, Vatican, made a wish at the Trevi fountain. What amused me the most was the chatty tour guide at the Sistine Chapel, who referred to anything around a 1000 years old as Contemporary; For contemporary Romans, they live among 2000 and 3000 year old ruins, so what's just a thousand years!
After a whole day of walking, my tired buddies grab some ZZZs at a piazza...Lots of people took pictures of them napping!
For me, I have come to realize that I can appreciate how hard it is to show folds on a toga on a marble statue and to paint a ceiling on ones back being half blind. But what I am truly awed by is the ancient world. To think that the Romans 'took' obelisks from Egypt because, back then, to them, the obelisks were already a respectable couple 1000 years old!
All this being said, Rome got on my nerves. For being a First World nation, their trains have graffiti and barely functioning air conditioning, their loos are filthy, and their traffic chaotic. They have had visitors from all over the ancient and the modern world for 1000s of years but they have no concept of tourism organization, let alone systematic queuing. Some context to this...London has a brilliant train system, Singapore is sparkly, Switzerland's quietly stylin'. I have been spoiled and I got this feeling that Rome is resting on Roman-era laurels.
I don't know if I could even visit again. Oh well. Fewer than a handful of photos...