It's a very tired tourist writing this blog entry. Rome was a lot of fun, and sometimes fun can be exhausting.
So the last time I checked in, I was preparing for an outing to Villa Borghese and a meetup 20 years in the making with a childhood penpal. Galleria Borghese is a small museum but boasts a very rich collection, mainly featuring works of Bernini. Getting there is just as amazing as the museum is located at the end of the beautiful Villa Borghese grounds - a beautiful stretch of open, green space which as a park is clearly much loved and appreciated by both locals and tourists alike.
I will confess, the morning was soured by the rudeness of the bus driver, and I would go further to say that he just could not handle or appreciate this awesome dark brown girl, and that is as diplomatic as I am going to be. Generally, I felt an overwhelming unfriendliness in Rome, which some may not appreciate me saying, but it was certainly my personal experience. Not generalising but just stating my own opinion based on MY experience in this gorgeous city. The brown tourist experience is a unique one cause in some places you never blend in, but then who wants to be a faceless other anyway? Still, between the rude stares, impolite behaviour or the often aggressive adoration of black hair, and brown skin, it was often a test of my patience.
However, the warmth and love were most apparent when my penpal and I finally met during the second part of my trip. As I had mentioned before, we forged an overseas friendship in our pre-teen years, when snail mail was in, and social media was not even an option. And she is as lovely as I hoped she would be. There were hugs, kisses, laughs. It was really something else. She also introduced me to her sister and her friends who made the Roman experience a truly memorable one, with their light heartedness, humour and inquisitiveness. Of course, as always, I sold my own country as the place to visit so hopefully our second such meetup will be on my side of the pond.
On the first night, we attempted to take in a music festival at Piazza Farnese, but soon traded that for drinks, which is always the best way. The night after, I had the chance to experience typical Italian nightlife in Trastevere, where we had aperitifs, gelato, street entertainment, and a walk along the river, where the summer fair had recently started and all the booths set up. Along the entire length of the river - lungo di tevere (Jason should he impressed with my power of recall) - there were booths showcasing art, hawking various wares, peddling cocktails and other such uplifting substances, all against the backdrop of a beautiful, albeit cranky looking Tiber river at night. The throngs of people were evidence that Italy was clearly welcoming the first days of summer.
Sadly, it all had to end sometime, and after one last stroll through St Peter's Square on Sunday morning, I bid Rome farewell. It was truly a magical experience and one I will treasure forever. Of course, I will be back. Duh. Thanks to my new, beautiful Italian friends who opened their hearts and their city to me, to the lone Brit for just speaking English and being a bit funny as well, and to the various people I met along the way. It was grand.
|The lush greenery of Villa Borghese|
|Cannoli - so sweet.|
|Awesome sculpture on the bank of the Tiber|