The last couple of weeks I’ve not been thinking about Kenya because I have been in Rome, with my son, his girlfriend and her parents.
We met there on a Sunday, my son and I travelling from London, his girlfriend from a singing festival in Slovenia and her parents from a holiday with some of their other children. My son and his girlfriend are big fans of AirBnBs and they came up trumps again with a lovely large apartment which was remarkably close to many of the places that I, as a first-timer, wanted to see.
Our first evening stroll found us visiting the Castel Sant Angelo (which I thought was quite reminiscent of Broadcasting House) and then the Piazza Navonna. It was busy – but not overcrowded – with people strolling in the more comfortable evening temperature. (In fact everyone else strolled, except me, as my son was sensible enough to hire a wheelchair for the week for me). We had a pleasant meal at a pavement restaurant and retired for the night exhausted from our travels.
The following day it was decided that we would visit Vatican City, only twenty minutes or so from our base. We began with a visit to the Vatican Museum. The whole party was astonished as, with the wheelchair at the helm, we were ushered past long queues which were barely moving. Once inside, I and my “carer” were given a free pass and we were treated with great kindness throughout our visit. There was such an enormous variety of art on display, including roman and greek statues, centuries of sacred paintings, hangings, paintings, liturgical objects and vestments. Then, of course, the buildings themselves, which are so beautiful.
I had been warned that queues to the Sistine Chapel would be nigh on impossible but, once again, we dodged them as we were routed in totally the opposite direction to the crowds, evenutally entering via the exit! Once inside we were left to view the ceiling in peace (no photos allowed unfortunately). Finally we made our way to St Peter’s Square and when we had taken this in we just made it into the Basilica. The beautiful sculptures took our breath away.
Having been out all day we stopped on the way home to eat at another pavement restaurant. So many to choose from!!
Tuesday was another day of discovery. Our first visit was to the Pantheon. In my ignorance, I was not aware that behind the imposing facade is a beautiful and functioning church. We were treated to a group of priests singing plainsong, which reminded me of my time at school. From there we headed for the Trevi Fountain via a break in a small square for a light lunch. It was the beautiful but it was difficult to get close. The fountain was also guarded by whistle-blowing officials to prevent any suggestion of a repeat of the paddling scene from “La Dolce Vita” or that anyone was helping themselves to the coins. I’ve read that about €3000 a day is now collected from the fountain and given to charity. We arrived bottom of the Spanish Steps and looked up at the Trinità dei Monti. There was no suggestion by any of the party that they would attempt to climb the Steps. Instead we rested at the bottom to take in the sights, including the Keats and Shelley House. Keats spent the last days of his life staying there and it’s now a museum.
That evening we walked up to a restaurant near our apartment. We were treated to some delicious food, none of which was what we had intended to order. We each found ourselves eating something quite different, suggested by our waiter!
I have to admit that almost none of the photos of Rome are my own. I was too low down in my wheelchair and so they were taken by my son. Consequently, I don’t remember where some of them were taken. But I do know that the top three are from the Vatican Museum (where there is a caste of The Pietà) and the bottom two are at the Trevi Fountain (where we returned later in the week after dark).