Sunday, February 15, 2009


Our ten day holiday started with brother-in-law's B day. I spent a lot of the time at the restaurant trying to convert his mate into more of a lefty. We went to Belgo's in Covent Garden. Pretty poor service. OK food.
They loved their Christmas/B day presents. We had a good laugh.

My MA is chugging along. I might have decided it is too difficult. There is no agreement anywhere on anything. Least of all me with anyone else.

Then of course we went to Rome! A holiday I've been looking forward to for a long time - one of my favourite cities as for someone with a historical bent there is *so* much to see and do. It was a surprise for mum-in-law. We met up with cousin-in-law at the airport which was fun.
We got a lift with a maniac Italian taxi driver. After my hit and run experience I was terrified . I left my black gloves behind.

Arrived and C span hubbie round, it was lovely. That was the last surprise.

There were ten of us altogether - C and T (2 sisters) and their children and wives/husbands. Pizza place for the bday night itself. marvellous, incredible ravioli for me. The following night P & C (brother and sister in law) had discovered Rome's only vegetarian-ish restaurant - half the party were veggies. Amazing food again. Wonderful pasta - home baked by Nonna in the background who kept on waving at us. Tiramisu - had to have it daily of course. Artichoke ravioli followed by Sea bass. Immaculately cooked so delicate, simple and subtle. Yet so tasty. Don't know how they do it. And we kept on saying this about every cup of coffee too. So much so that for hubbie's valentine this year he got an Italian on-stove coffee maker. We had a cheaper one in London for a few years but it broke a couple of years ago!

On Day two we went to the Collosseum. I lobbied for a human guide and got it. I like the human guides as you can ask them questions. It's called a didactic tour in Italy. I asked 2 questions - was the excavation of it related to the rise in nationalism (at the start of the c19)?. She said no, it was the rise of neoclassicalism. The rise of nationalism came quite a lot later. My 2nd question was about tickets. She had proudly told us that they sold tickets with numbers on them correspondending to seats. I said what were the tickets made of? They didn't know. Sources don't say. Bone, animal skin, bark? Our party started discussing my second question.

My 3rd question - I didn't ask because husband was taking the pizza - was why the financial crisis of the Western front of the Roman empire happen? Fresh in my mind because Gordon Brown has been saying there's no lessons from history on the latest financial crisis.

Everywhere you look in Rome there is some historic building or other, and some story behind it. The building they call the typewriter or wedding cake, built by King Victor at the height of nationalism a couple of years before the first world war. We went in it to see the Picasso exhibition. It appeared to be quite a cheerful time for Picasso - 1917-37. He got a bit grumpy when the Spanish Civil War started. Anyway a lovely exhibition and really inspirational to see his works of true genius. We also went to La Chappella Sistina and the Vatican. *Amazing*. The room of maps was just breathtaking. Every last little detail you wanted to soak up. You could easily spend a couple of centuries in there. And Santa Maria Maggoria. The Church of Mary Major. 5th Century. One of the best conserved churches in the world. The gold leaf, altar and mosaic frescoes just took your breath away.

Roma was perfecta. A brilliant little break. We went back to Shropshire and had more fun, running, great food and arrived back to the economic and literal fog. Happy in the gloom.

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