The beginning…..ciao Roma

We left Sydney on 14th march for our European oddessy. First stop Roma.
We arrived, sank 20 coffees and headed off to have a quick look around. We were staying by the Vatican and the river.
At our first breakfast, and lunch if you count the ham and cheese sandwich, yoghurt and fruit that I’m sure it is compulsory to take when breakfast is included, we noticed a strange phenomenon. Loads of Irish people.
Well, good catholics all, we thought they must be here to welcome the new pope…. But no there was a rugby match! Ireland V Italy!!!!
We accosted some people found out the match was at 3.30 and went off for a bit of touristing first.
Piazza del popoli, the borghese gardens and villa guilia first. For people, plants, views and Etruscan bits and bobs from tombs. I loved the offerings- I’ve got a sore foot/arm/leg so here’s a little model- please improve! My favourite being the little uterus votives, offered I guess for a child, or period pain.
The rugby match was pretty good but the highlight really was the crowd, especially walking in and out. A crowd of 70000 slowly building from about 3km away. Merging and walking in. There were Guinness leprechaun hats, fake beards, Italy and Ireland scarves, clover sunnies, Italy headbands with fake frizzy hair etc. that was all normal. Then there was the pope and some cardinals, chefs with handle bar moustaches and a big group of smurfs.
It was brilliant, especially the 3x round Mexican wave and Italy winning (the crowd went wild).
We went for Colettes pilgrimage to see wordworths letter at Byron-Shelley house and the Irish girls there gave us a tip for lunch.
Some other accidental Rome highlights were;
The Rome marathon being on- saw the paralympians setting off in reclining bikes and an upright hand controlled bike! Then the runners. Kept seeing it through the day in snatches as we walked around Rome. Although, must say, not best day to try and visit roman forum as race ended there.
If only Colette and I had known it was on, we would have been in it for sure….
Seeing a big military hooha all feathers aplumed, helmets ashined and capes athrown as el presidente laid a wreath. I’ll admit we only knew it was him coz someone yelled out and he waved.
The craziness of the Vatican museum-crowd surfing along these huge corridors and watching all the people taking pictures non-stop. Of everything. Where do all these photos go? Who has to sit through the slide shows?
Our lovely hotel (a surprise booking) and it was in a brilliant location amongst all these old mansions including one all decorated with carvings and frescoes of fruit and veg (we noticed coz there was a guy weeding the gutters 3 stories up outside the rail on the edge, as you do)
Then… Ciao Roma kalimera Lesvos!!