Rome, as the saying goes, was not built in a day; The same goes for the final blog in our Grand Tour but this in no way reflects our feeling on the place that was our final tourist destination.
Because in our collective opinion, Rome rocks!
The food, whether it’s a gelato in Vatican City (so many flavours including viagra…not quite sure what to make of that), or a sit down, wine soaked, pizza and pasta fest in one of the countless cafes, is unbelievable. If we’d spent any more than three days there, they would have had to roll us onto the plane.
The history and subsequent sightseeing is mindblowing.
But it was the hospitality that sold it for us. Everywhere we went, people were happy to see us. After a week of being a large-group-nuisance we were suddenly being celebrated.
“Ahhh, family! Welcome, family!”
The people were so fast to laugh and share a joke. When we arrived at our hotel (incidentally incredibly affordable and about 2 minutes walk from The Colosseum) bug-eyed with exhaustion after our marathon train day, we couldn’t get the lift doors to open. A couple of us dragged ourselves up the very narrow flight of stairs to the reception desk on the first floor and the very nice gentleman rushed out and rattled the buttons frantically on that floor. Bellowed voices in our very un-lyrical accent signalled the downstairs door had opened and The Goat Herd, not one to miss an opportunity, leapt with all the suitcases. She then spent the next ten minutes yo-yoing between the ground and first floor while we all pressed buttons, scrabbled at lift doors, and (I should be ashamed to admit) laughed hysterically, the lovely gentleman included (although he had the grace to utter reassuring comments to the trapped Homesteader through his giggles – and the unbudging lift doors).
Of course, there are always flies in the ointment but I felt these had nothing to do with Rome or the Romans. The English-speaking tour touts, predominantly American travellers (yes, I got bolshy and asked), tended to wish us “fun waiting all day in the lines” in a tone which belied their words, when we turned down their personal tours; a couple of them added “Aussie” so the joke was on them – HA! Actually, all lines save the Vatican tour one moved incredibly swiftly for the number of people waiting and we felt totally justified in spending the money saved on skip the line tickets and personal tours on just-one-more-pizza/gelato/cannelloni portion.
The Goat Herd’s birthday was bittersweet: tomorrow we Homesteaders were heading home to the goats, the chickens, the cats, and adventures anew – but not before we said goodbye to The Princess who was heading over to meet her Mum for a fortnight in Ireland.
Rome, we love you.