Tirami il dito!

[9-jan-2004]

Tirami il dito : The latest phrase in our Italian vocabulary (English translation : pull my finger!)

Ah, Bella Roma!! As we arrived around 2230hrs on Wed night we were stuffed! We had a transfer booked and we happily dragged ourselves into his Mercedes! He did not really speak English so I had a chance to show off my Italian (or lack of!) We managed to chat away he had a five year old daughter, had never been to Australia as his wife was scared of our spiders! Did quite well really! Our apartment was booked on the net – the Vatican 2 Suites and we were met by David the owner. He took us in behind a massive door – that looked like a big gate into a fortress. It was the marble lobby of a block of flats really! Still, very impressive to us. Two flights of stairs upwards ( or in a very rickety lift that fits one person at a time and requires manual operation!) we entered our apartment.

We have one bedroom with parquetry flooring and double bed, small table and small bathroom. Complete with bidet and “intimate cleansing gel” – for those intimate, delicate areas! We have not attempted to make use of these facilities. The loo and shower are all we need! There is another two bedrooms off a small sitting area which are both rented. One of the rooms has access to a small kitchenette. It has been rented to a family from Adelaide whom we met last night. Mary and Peter have been travelling around Europe with their three kids (5, 9 and 12 years) for three months. Lovely people – we shared a cuppa and revelled in being able to speak uninterrupted, free flowing Aussie! The kids especially -They hadn’t had the chance for a while – so it was a good Goss session!

During the day yesterday we explored! Our room is a five minute walk away from the Vatican so we went there for the day. We went to the Vatican Museums – even me, who can talk a fair bit – I was lost for words. Never ever, could you imagine seeing anything like what we encountered yesterday (see pics!) The artwork and statues and tombs and history amazing. Artefacts dating back to B.C It took us nearly four hours (mum you should be proud – we stopped and read almost everything! and did it fairly slowly!) just to get around the museums and finally reach the climax of the Vatican – the Sistine Chapel. Incredible! (See pics) The ceilings and grandiosity of these rooms are unbelievable. The whole complex (the Vatican) is its own state and the security and staff there are Swiss Guards.

I could go on for hours to try to explain it all – but there is nothing I can say that will sum it up except – get over here and see it for yourself! It is truly truely amazing. We also walked around to St Peters Square – again, metal detectors and security checks were required to get in but worth the wait. Although it is the low season it is surprisingly busy! The Basilica took our breaths away. Just so enormous; gold, ornate, ancient and symbolic. You can go under the floors of the Basilica and visit the catacombs – tombs of the dead popes. Incredible. You can also walk up 320 steps to the top of the dome! Again – words will not describe – so please.. put it on your to do list before you die! Yesterday was very special and quite touching!

Enough romantic babble – some facts about Rome. It is pretty skanky – dog sh!t and chewing gum and cigarette butts everywhere. Don’t ask for a Latte – as you will be given a cup of hot milk! Must ask for a cafe latte! It is cheaper to stand at the bar and eat and drink – not sit down! Dave here – if I may get a word in edgewise – Narelle is doing very well with her Italian – she understands most people. We have not gone hungry and of course, had partaken in several coffees (when in Rome!!)- (she can even ask for her very weak latte, or coffee on the side!)She navigated her way around the streets and could ask questions at the Vatican and St Peters. Also, she managed to organise me to get our photos off digital camera and onto a CD. Good one Relle. Me – I am a woos! I just push her in front of me and (as she is used to!) she can do all the talking!! haha – no really, am proud of you sweetie!

Goodness – well, looks like I have earned some brownie points! Well, we are off to visit the Coliseum and Spanish Steps shortly. Sorry to you all it has taken so long to update the site – it has been a combination of laziness, tiredness and in Asia , the expense. But – you cant get more up to date then this – hopefully the weather has stopped raining and we will go do “tourist stuff”

Arrividerci!

Dave & Narelle