Sights, sounds and smells of Rome

What a day! So here I am in Rome, where it has truly been a new experience. But before we get there, I feel the need to backtrack to Tuesday morning and another awesome experience with Ryanair. My God, this has to be the worst airline in the history of the world. I get to Barajas airport in Madrid at 5.15am to catch this dreadful flight to Rome at 6.25am. What a meat market. Total chaos at check-in and noone seemed to care. Certainly not the Ryanair customer service rep who seemingly misplaced a customer's passport, resulting in a not so minor disturbance in the check-in area. Certainly not the chick who took her time to check people in causing us to make a mad dash for the boarding gate as the meat market made its way onto the aircraft. I had said never again, and had meant it but the difference in fares was too  significant at time of booking. But Ryanair still sucks. Thankful my return flight will not be with them.

Anyway, Roma is hot! Very very hot. I slept most of yesterday as the late Madrid nights had finally caught up with me, but ventured out in the evening for dinner. And at 9pm it was still in the 30s (Celsius). Tonight I came home after the longest and hottest day ever in my career as a brown tourist, and sure enough, there were the tan lines.

But it has been fun so far. As the title of the blog suggests, lots to see, as underscored by my amazing, amazing, amazing day at the Vatican, roaming through its fantastic museums, and the piece de resistance, the Sistine Chapel. I was surprised that the chapel was smaller than I expected, but what a masterpiece. Reading about it and seeing it yourself - two very different things. For a guy who was not confident of his talents as a painter, as he was of his sculpting,  and in fact who up to then had not really painted before, Michelangelo was gangsta. It's simply breathtaking. 

Did not see the Pope though today would have been the day to catch him during his Wednesday Mass, but not devastated or anything. Especially since getting to the museums took some doing. I am not ashamed to admit yet again that I am hopelessly directionally challenged. Lol. Maps do not work. I am just rubbish. The Rome bus system was the first problem. What a nightmare this is. I tell you, London has it under control. This is simply abysmal. Buses are not regular and certainly cannot accommodate the mass of tourists that plague the city. So when I saw a swarm of the ever ubiquitous Japanese tourists approaching my stop, I cried to myself. The bus got there after 35 minutes of standing in the blazing sun and then I had to literally swat tourists off me as they converged simultaneously on the bus doors. Nightmare. It did not help that it took me a good 45 minutes to find the f...g stop in the first place.

Tired and hot, I was now in the bus and of course cannot see where I am going with all the little tourist heads in baseball caps blocking the windows. So going with God, I say to myself, they could only be going to the Vatican.  The bus, unlike other bus systems, does not visually or verbally announce stops so I think to myself,  Japanese tour guide dude will tell them when to get off. And he does, and they do, and I did. Guess what? It was not the Vatican. Lol. Introduce, the map. Nightmare. After maybe 20 minutes of walking and not seeing any sign of the papal frock, and using too many cuss words for such a holy adventure,  I realised I was walking AWAY from the damn...darn place. A hiccup or two later, I was inside - hot, tired, sweaty and looking like I truly needed a blessing. Introduce wet wipes, oil absorbing sheets and a hair brush and life was back to normal.

This after a mini-excursion to the Roman Forum, and Il Vittoriano, which were much easier to find. lol. Last evening, after dinner, I got the chance to see the breathtaking Colosseum at night. Clearly something my Roman companion thought was a bore but a sight I am still more than impressed by.

The smells. Well, some good like the wonderful dinner last night at a small corner restaurant in Via Cavour. I gave some new things a go and it was all very good. Add the wicked smell of calories via the delicious gelato - my first so far during this trip - from Old Bridge Gelateria near the now personally infamous Vatican museums. I asked for the smallest serving and the guy looked so disappointed. Hello? Have you seen my ass? And still, this small cup was subject go not one but THREE different flavours in one serving. The people just wicked. But it was delicious.

The not so good smells came from some of the people. Now while we know there is an economic crisis, there also seems to be a deodorant crisis. The bus/metro experience is further aggravated by the rank smell of perspiration at any time of day. Now, my own Lady Speed Stick protection was put to the test in a serious way today but my underarms held out, much to my relief. It's bad though, this pervading smell of sweaty humans. Speed Stick!

As for the sounds, my room is on a very loud street but then again, Rome is freakin' loud.
So much more I can write about but there is an episode of Hannibal I still need to watch, so off I go for now. Dead tired and I do it all again tomorrow.

Next - The Agony and the Ecstasy - Roman adventures continue

The Roman Forum
The Colosseum at night
Inside the Vatican museums
The courtyard of the Vatican museums
Il Vittoriano - spectacular
What they call a SMALL serving of gelato - three flavours in one cup.


  1. Ma'am, if you're in Rome... ENJOY IT. ALL OF IT. You get lost? So what... there might be something THERE to see. ;-) I'm jellis of you.

    & you know Europeans have different opinions on hygiene than we do. Eeek.

    1. I enjoyed every moment of it, as it was all part of a really amazing journey and blessing!!

  2. Oh my goodness, can I just say how jealous I am? I don't know when I'll make it back to Europe. Doing it with P.(and then just Germany) was tough enough. And expensive enough. Doing it with two kids... don't know how we'd swing that. LOVE EVERY MINUTE!!!

    1. I hope you make it back soon, mama. Until then, you have 2 great gems to love and enjoy. I travel cause I can right now. But I did love it all. I did.

  3. mmm...gelato. did they have mango? that stuff is amazing. enjoy and eat everything! stopping by from sharefest!

    1. I only ever looked for anything that looked like it had chocolate in it, so not sure about mango, but the variety is almost endless!!!

  4. Oh, yes. Rome. My first and only visit was a year and a half ago. Incredible. But, whoa, you took a bus there? Oh, no, not me. That's when I took The West Indian Mother and I splurged on a driver because that place is madness! It's chaotic. It has all these small streets. There are all these tourists! I tip my hat to you. I loved that you really explored. Oh, how I miss the gelato -- not just from Italy, but from Spain. But, I really miss the food! I'm luving your posts. Bringing back great memories.

    1. Girl, I think I crossed every little street at least once, whether it was while getting lost or just wandering. I voted for the bus over the metro, which was too organic even for this wily adventurer. But it was all a grand adventure, one I hope to do again and maybe next time, share with someone.

  5. Congrats for having the chance to see this marvelous city. Come back in autumn or spring in order to enjoy it fully!


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