Around the World a Bit at a Time

Travels: Past, Present and Future

Archive for December, 2004

El Pape

Posted by Leanne on December 25, 2004

After sleeping ’till quite late, I went into breakfast and requested a glass of water, which was refused on the basis that it wasn’t special enough for Christmas day. I was ‘forced’ to have a hot chocolate before rushing off to Vatican city to see the Pope do his christmas address in 40 different languages.

Each rumbling word seemed like it may be his last. It looked like a lot of hard work for an old man but he was well received, despite the pouring rain. It was difficult to see, what with all the umberellas in the way but we caught a few glimpses.

Our ‘traditional’ Christmas lunch consisted of pizza in a nearby restaurant, and then wandering around the streets of Rome, getting lost, yet seemingly stumbling upon ‘Trevor the Fountain’ around every corner we turned.  With squelching shoes, we returned to the hostel to dry  off and get ready for a big Christmas night out.

That evening, we opted to join the hostel’s organised Christmas day pub crawl – a drunken affair starting with a meeting at the top of the Spanish steps.  Christmas cheer flowed in abundance all night and  it was in one of the last bars in the evening that I started to feel that there was a little too much Christmas cheer coursing through my veins – it was time to go to bed.

Indicating to Jo that I was leaving, she indicated that she still had 3/4 of a pint left to go.  I shook my head and told her – “no,  I NEED to go home NOW.”  She got my drift and left me to it while she finished her beer.

Somehow, through the magic of Christmas and beer, I managed to find my way back to the hostel, without a map or any idea of the direction the hostel on my own without getting lost – which is more that 2 of us had managed to achieve in the 2 days we’d already been in Rome!

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Planning isn’t an Italian Strong Point

Posted by Leanne on December 24, 2004

My Rome guide book stated somewhere amongst its pages that ‘Planning isn’t an Italian strong point’. Today we found out why.

The second attempt at buying a ticket to Pisa went very smoothly. However, the train was then delayed by half an hour. Given that our tickets and timescale only allowed us 4 hours in Pisa anyway this wasn’t a good thing so it was a relief when the departure board finally showed a platform number. After we boarded the train (which was segregated into compartments of 6 seats) we sat there for a further one and a half hours due to ‘problemos technico'(as far as I could make out). We finally got there at 2.45pm, giving us 2 hours to see Pisa.

The tower is situated at the opposite side of the town to the train station which gave us the opportunity to walk through the smallish town. The tower was easily spotted and was indeed very tilty. The extent of the lean, however seemed to defy all photography. We spent an hour trying to take a photo to do it justice, before finally giving up and returning to the station to sit on a train for another eternity.

The Tilty Tower of Pisa

The Tilty Tower of Pisa

Dinner tonight was lasagne, we drank a toast to christmas with the sparkling wine provided by Lorenzo, the hostel owner and were in bed just after midnight. It was certainly a vast change from the drunken Christmas eve antics in Lichfield but I didn’t miss it too much.

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Doing Rome in a Day

Posted by Leanne on December 23, 2004

Rome wasn’t built in a day but we decided that we should try to do it in a day after failing to purchase a train ticket to Pisa for a viewing of the famous tilty tower.

We started at the colosseum- which seemed like as good- a-place as any, passing through the Roman Forum as we departed towards the river.

Colluseum

Colluseum

It was strange to see a large area of Roman ruins which was full of cats. Turned out it was a cat sanctury.

We worked our way to the river and across until Vatican City was in sight. Instead of going in, we decided to go back to the Hostel via Piazza Navona and its famous Christmas Market and past Trevor’s Fountain (trevi to his mates). Quite a big fountain it is too!

The evening was spent in the hostel common room (more of a corridor than an actual room) chatting to the staff of ‘Gay paradise’ as one italian man called it and drinking Vinegar (wine). Free beer and pasta was flowing and spirits were high.

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Ciao Roma

Posted by Leanne on December 22, 2004

After a 2 hour delay on our flight I was beginning to think that a trip to Rome over Christmas was going to be a very bad idea. I never felt excited about going away at the best of times but now, it just seemed like madness to be away from Lichfield over the festive period. I needn’t have worried though- The first question I got asked when I arrived at the hostel was ‘are you coming to the pub?’ to which we replied ‘erm can we check in first please?’

‘Sure- there’s another party of people heading out in about 10 minutes.’

The second question I was asked was ‘do you want some cake?’ The answer was ‘yes’ but we still wanted to check in. Within 20 minutes of our arrival in Rome we were in a bar, supping beer and happy to finally be here.

Roman Sunset

Roman Sunset

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