We awake to a beautiful morning in Florence and are ready for our morning train ride into Roma! The train terminal is also the bus terminal and a very busy (and a tad bit confusing) place. After successfully determining our line, we board the
loading our own very heavy luggage and taking our seats. Huge windows allow for all the sightseeing oohs and aahs of leaving the city and making our way to the countryside and luscious landscapes connecting Florence to Rome.
The train ride was not long – just an hour or so (at 186 mph) to take in the countryside and for Robyn to experience a train ride – albeit a high-speed train ride! We arrived in Rome at another combo terminal and make our way to the McDonald’s inside – and yes, they ARE everywhere – where a private driver was holding the sign with my sister’s name. He spoke hardly any English, but went right to work taking the heaviest of luggage with a smile and nod and “follow me”. He left us at a curbside loading zone and retrieved his Mercedes in no time flat. He knew exactly where we were going and dropped us as close as possible. Exceptional.
We wheeled our luggage past a ristorante and just beyond a pizzeria was the door leading to our apartment for 3 nights. The owner met us and took just Robyn and one suitcase up to the 4th floor apartment in what has to be the world’s smallest elevator. When the elevator comes to a stop, the doors open to yet another steel type door that you then push open to exit. Very quaint. I came up in the elevator on the second run. Gave us a little chuckle.
It was disheartening to see Rome with graffiti in every possible space – almost surreal. In between businesses, the doors were a conglomeration of graffiti. Surprisingly, it seems as though the “artists” do not deface churches or fences surrounding churches or business establishments. But any vacant door or building becomes a public canvas it seems. I wondered why there was so much graffiti and in a city of such holiness. So, I (what else?) googled it!
ROME (AFP) – Scribbling emotions on walls has been a tradition in Rome going back thousands of years and even the word “graffiti” was first used for markings found in the ruins of Pompeii. The modern version could be the scrawls seen in maternity wards in the Italian capital: “Get a move on, auntie’s waiting!”, “Chiara is born!”, “Welcome little Mattia!”. From wealthy neighbourhoods in the city’s north to working class suburbs in the south, Romans are not shy about scrawling on walls – often with phrases in local dialect.
Not my cup of tea, but hey, I am only a tourist.
I love that city dwellers can find any place to have their garden. Balconies, rooftops and window planters are common sights here. I couldn’t get enough of them.
Tiny little cars and scooters dot the streets 3 rows wide and all parked within mere inches of the next. I seriously do not know how they move their vehicles in and out while in between each other. There seems to be very little in the way of street markings and yet everyone seems to know how to navigate the road, often moving within an inch or two to skirt past a scooter or bus and turning this way and that. It is a bit of a ride in a taxi that can really make you question if you should have used the facilities before tempting fate!
(to be continued)