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Egg Fried Basmati

Rome is great. It wasn't what I expected, but then when I tried to think of what exactly I expected nothing came to mind. It was big and dusty and the traffic was horrific. Too many tourists (I couldn't get near the Trevi Fountain or into the Pantheon, we tried to visit the Sistine chapel twice before giving up...the longest queues there I have ever seen in my short little life.) Big grand buildings everywhere, a lovely Old Town with winding cobbled streets, incredible ice-cream, no tall unsightly modern buildings from the hill-top views...until you're driving out in the suburbs and see a really different story. The second time we couldn't get into the Vatican Museums we decided to escape the city for the day and took the train out to Ostia, the awesomely preserved Roman town conveniently situated 30 mins away. (Better than the Roman Forum, better preserved, prettier and less busy.)

Our nun-run hostel was less than 10 mins away from the Vatican and we ended up seeing the Pope twice - once on the way back from dinner on Good Friday when he drove past us in his car and waved, the second time on Easter Sunday when we got tickets to the Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square. It was the first time I've been to mass in about five years. I felt like a bit of a fraud; don't really believe in any of it, have big problems with the Church doctrine. And yet still it was very cool; more chaotic than expected, thousands and thousands of people from all over the world crammed around us, really beautiful choir music (including an amazing group of Russian monks) and in the midst of it all there was His Holiness himself sitting up front, pretty frail and croaky, benignly looking down on everyone. A bit creepy.

Home: catching up with Paul Newman films, trying to make a start on de-cluttering my dusty junk-filled room, email email emailing so many people (Alison wrote from Novgorod university: You are like a mini celebrity here which is just the sort of stuff I like to read in emails.)

Came back yesterday. Edinburgh was blooming and beautiful and sunny. Chas and I walked up/over/down/around Arthur's Seat for two hours, following a troop of nuns. Today the weather's reversed and there is phenomenal mist everywhere. Zulekha called it'haar.' Alex came home. We had a cheap picnic in a pantry (flaky sausage rolls, juice, reduced chocolate cake, grapes.) I laid out a blanket on the floor, put up an umbrella, Mo said 'what the fuck?' and tried not to laugh.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
I had the most awful hangover of my life (as yet unsurpassed) two years ago at the Vatican in Rome on a school trip. I do not remember the place fondly. I think it was all the tourists walking around talking about the Da Vinci Code.
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
Tourists are ew. Except me of course.
Apr. 14th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
I'm so jealous... I've always wanted to go to Roma...

Have you seen Three Coins in A Fountain about La Fontana di Trevi?

Apr. 19th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
No I haven't. Is it good?
Apr. 14th, 2007 09:48 am (UTC)
Ooh I remember those queues! You walk for miles and they n-e-v-e-r e-n-d!

I love your last paragraph. It sounds like the blurb for an arty film. Lovely! :)
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
They were so awful...

Ahaha thanks! It's a bit pretentious.
Apr. 14th, 2007 12:49 pm (UTC)
Going by this entry, Edinburgh sounds a lot more fun than Rome. I plan to see Roma someday, but I don't have much intention of spendin that long there. I prefer the slower speeds of Berlin.
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
I don't mean to make Rome sound bad - visiting a new place is always stressful. I know Edinburgh so I always relax when I'm back.

My flatmate-to-be is German and looooves Berlin! I really want to visit it.
Apr. 14th, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
I keep meaning to go back to Italy sometime, particularly Venice.
Rome is full of incredible history, and I'd love to check out Ostia.
Apr. 19th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
I loved them both but between Rome and Venice, I go for Venice. Then again it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges...
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )