And then we came back to Rome, ate well, slept a bit and walked up to see the Ara Pacis, a piece of Roman history resurrected by Mussolini in the 1930's as a propaganda exercise - but originally created by the first emperor to be named "Augustus", over 2000 years ago as a monument to peace.
It was obviously fascinating:
But there was an exhibition of Impressionist art on in the lower gallery which might account for the levels of excitement... needless to say I didn't bother trying to get Mr Golightly to go along... it was enough of a strain for him to go to the Cheapside Hoard exhibition (which he amusingly kept referring to as the Cheapside Whore), and I didn't want to push it...
I thought it was extraordinarily beautiful:
and nearly best of all - it had seats!!
Afterwards we went for a wander through parts of Rome we hadn't seen before:
and I spotted my new winter coat (not!) in a window [excuse the blurry photo, I was trying to be discrete])...
I love Rome.
Thursday, 27 February 2014
Then we came back to Italy, and wandered round other bits of the countryside for our last few days. Turin is one of the most beautiful cities I've been to - laid out in a grid, very Parisian in style - with some very interesting sights:
and a fabulous Egyptian museum:
And of course, the Shroud. Well, the Church with the room with the cover over the box with the case in a chest... and no photos. Unless you're one of those functionally illiterate travellers who can't translate pictograms that look like this:
And there were some...
Hmm. There was also fabulous street life:
And wonderful art and architecture:
and they have trams! A fabulous network of trams that run right through the city - for €1.50, you can ride the trams for 100 minutes, or for €5.00, you can ride all day, round and round and round... surprisingly, for the home of European chocolate manufacture, we didn't buy any, and we didn't bring any Fiat memorabilia home with us either. What were we thinking???
Then we went to England, to see the Cheapside Hoard, and on the way, we wanted to visit St Paul's cathedral in London - did you know they want £16 per person to go into the church? In my mind, that's outrageous. In Italy, every single church is free to enter. Admittedly the Sistine Chapel costs to enter, but that's part of the larger Museum complex and isn't generally open to the public, but the biggest church in the world, St Peters Basilica, is free. Also, I think £16 is a bucketload of money - about $30/head at today's rates... to go into a church.
I might just add at this time that I also went into the Marble Arch branch of Marks and Spencer, and went nuts buying their excellent t-shirts. I love M&S. Are you listening? Offers of sponsorship (or free bras, or free t-shirts), gratefully received...
On the Saturday, we went to Brighton for the 100th birthday of somebody who would have been my grandmother-in-law, if things had turned out differently in the 1980's - but I won't post any of those pictures because they're all family and friends of the birthday girl - just take my word for it that lots of fun was had by all - including much admiration of the birthday card from Mr Golightly's friend Betty, who was in residence in Windsor at the time...
But because we spent so much time driving round the countryside with Gretchen the Whacked-out SatNav on the day after the party, we had zero time to wander round the countryside or the town - except for the frenzied panicked driving up and down the streets of Windsor looking for the hotel's parking lot - and so there's no photos. None. Not even the free ones.
On the Sunday before the Calcio, Mr G and I wandered over to Trastavere (literally, "across the Tiber") for a quick squizzy... it's interesting, in a studied "we're so different to the other side of the river" kind of way:
Not so different, really.
One of those things was the underground & top level tour of the Colosseum, bits that aren't accessible to mere mortals - plus you get the skip the depressingly long ticket queues (so worth the €23 each just for that (if you're wondering, the tour is €18 each plus €2 each booking fee, plus €3 each for the guide and you have to book - we did it by phone, even with my basic Italian it was easy - the phone operators speak excellent English))...
Well, bloody hell, where did that go? Yep, we're back. I can't believe three weeks went by just like ... that... but while we were living it, it seemed to last ages. Lots of lazy days, not rising much before 0900, wandering down to the excellent Cafe Barnum (or is it Barnum Cafe?) for cornetti & cappuncini...
Then off to wander the streets, seeking out the weird, the wonderful, the very Roman (and in the interim, a change from Google Chrome as the Browser Of Choice to Mozilla, don't even ask why...):
We did a fair bit of travel, too - London, Brighton, Windsor (via Eton & Slough, courtesy of a whacked-out SatNav), Turin, Naples, and Pompeii... and we did some interesting things too..