Saturday 26th June
It seemed rather odd to have departed Sydney on Saturday morning and then to arrive in to Rome on Saturday evening, whilst it was still light. I have this ‘conservation of matter and energy’ thing about me where I believe everything has to be ‘paid for’. Well, we paid for this expediency in transport with our very fazed bodies and minds.
Our journey from the airport to the hotel was uneventful. This note has relevance later. We stayed in a wonderful little boutique hotel, Hotel Adriano, right in the centre of Rome. It is located along a very narrow strada (read: driveway) quite close to the Pantheon. In fact, if you drew a rough circle connecting the Vatican, Piazza Navona, Pantheon and Spanish Steps, we were pretty much in the middle.
Although we had consumed about 20 meals on the flight, we still managed to get out for a walk to the Pantheon and then on to share a pizza before heading to bed.
Sunday 27th June
We only had a few hours in Rome this morning so we got up early and headed out for a walk so as to see the ancient city in all its beauty without the crowds. We wandered around to the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona before heading back to have breakfast. After a quick shower and pack up we were back out for a walk to St Peter’s Square and to buy Mark a few beautiful Italian business shirts.
Our time in Rome equated to only a little over 15 hours but we had packed a lot in. It was well worth the effort to stay in central Rome, rather than out at the airport, whilst waiting for our connecting flight to Prague.
‘Valentino Rossi’ arrived to take us back out to the airport at around midday. The drama started before we got in the car though. Tiny little buses would whiz past the front of our hotel, which opened directly on to the narrow lane. Tom, who is almost completely deaf at the moment due to a heavy cold, was walking ahead of us out of the hotel and was almost hit by one of these busses. We all received the most massive fright. This stress was then compounded by the journey to follow. ‘Valentino’ took the narrow streets around Rome at about 80 kms and the expressway at a cruising speed of about 150kms (speed limit is 100km!). He would reach 160km though when weaving in and out of the lanes, terrifying other motorists as well. Mark, who sadly had a better view of the passage as he was in the front seat, only drew breathe after he had got out of the car and paid off Valentino. Sadly, the in-flight service to Prague only extended to juice. Mark and I, by then, needed something a lot stronger!