Monday 21st April
Here we are in the countdown to home return and after three weeks of successfully relegating all thoughts of home to my deepest subconscious visions and images started to appear in my dreams last night. And did I feel homesick for the grey understated grandeur of Auld Reekie with its wide streets and pavements, general lack of grafitti and litter and its cool, genteel air? Not really, maybe because I know my return is inevitable so what would be the point of squandering my final days on some daft abstract concept like ‘home-sickness’. Now there’s a bourgeois conceit if ever there was one..
It’s Easter Monday and I can’t over-emphasise how quiet everything is – there’s marginally more going on than yesterday (Tuodi and Conrad were both open in the morning and Circolo delgli Artisti has an all-day Pasquetta Festival on but it all looks a bit Glastonbury without the music or any of the entertainment – that may happen later but it’s a blisteringly hot (to us honkies!) day so we return to the refuge of the flat. And as even the mighty Yeah! is closed – where sanctuary could normally be found – tempers get fraught and the day ends on a bit of a downer.
Tuesday 22nd April
In a semi-desperate effort to mop up some of the ‘must-do and see’s’ before our time is up (stupid really, we will be back) we venture into Rome centre after buying 4 x 100 min travel tickets at the local Tabacchi. That gets us to Testaccio no problem – the new ‘improved’ market looks new but not improved so we have a quick scoot around but tempers start to fray and bladders start to bulge so the inevitable search for a toilet ensues – we end up at the Protestant Cemetery and use theirs (top tip when at Pyramide!!) We then make our way to Ponte Milvio – way up in the north of town where we’ve never ventured before – to view the padlocks symbolising lovers’ declarations and the site of some battle involving Constantine (I’m being very flip here – I know it’s staggering significance re christian and western history). We then take the tram down the lengthy via Flaminia, sweating as the 100 mins on our second lot of travel tickets ticks away. We get off at Piazza del Popolo, wander around the Augustus Tomb area – decide we’re too tired to view the new museum there. We try to buy to two tickets to get back to Pigneto but draw blanks everywhere – it dawns on me later that the tickets must be becoming collectors items as they feature various popes. Even by Rome standards the centre is looking pretty mental (all to do with JP2’s sainthood thing) so we decide to walk all the way back to Pigneto. If nothing else it was a good (and much needed) workout. So focused was I that I apparently walked past Denzel Washington carrying a shit-load of designer bags (Richard told me later). Quite depressing really that he was fulfilling that complete stereotype but then I went off him when I read that he would only do love scenes with ‘women of colour’ after bowing to pressure from certain groups of narrow-minded people. Sa-a-a-ad.
Knackered in extremis so get a very early night.