Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back to Reality!

I am finally feeling human again after suffering from intense jet lag feeling wide awake every night and tired every day! Today Mr B has returned safely after spending this week in the UK with relatives. We have caught up with the family and now life will return to normal, at least for a month before we fly off to NZ for 9 days for more celebrations and to catch up with heaps of friends and relatives.

On Saturday (11 Oct) Mr B drove Mandy and I safely to Siena where we caught a bus for a winding, interesting, hilly and bumpy ride to Chiusi to catch the train to Rome. Alighting the train at Siena was interesting with all our very heavy luggage in tow. To start with we had to pull the bags up several flights of steps just to reach the correct platform – no escalators of course! It was a slow difficult process and pulling the bags on to the train was yet another hurdle to overcome. We caught a cab from the station to our hotel which was also interesting as when we reached the number on the street it looked just like a huge door and not a bit like a hotel. Just as we were contemplating how we were going to get inside an American couple emerged, held the door for us and left us with the comment “you won’t like the steps!” Ah me, this is Italy – always steps. And so we clambered up several more flights of steps with our bags very, very slowly, to find at the top of the stairs a rackety old lift, the size of a small cupboard, to take us the rest of the way. When the lift stopped we stepped out into a cute little hotel – really delightful – all blue, white and pretty with a little lounge room and dining area by reception looking out onto the back streets of Rome through high windows. The receptionist helped us with our bags to our room – that part was easy, no steps! It was a tiny little double room with a cute little bathroom and bed – very small but perfect for just one night in Rome. It was unfortunate that without time or transport we were unable to visit the Black Knight in Civitivechia as that is an hour’s drive from Rome. We did throw coins in the Trevi Fountain though so we will return!

After freshening up mother and daughter hit the sights of Rome. We walked for some time to find a spot for lunch and coffee then we decided to try the train lines and re-visit some of the tourist spots. We managed the underground surprisingly well and visited the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Circus Maximus (where we ran last year). There we were caught at the finish of a political protest. There were crowds and crowds of people dressed in red carrying red flags and representing the Communist Party of Italy. They were shouting and chanting and cheering. It was quite exciting until we tried to catch a train. I can’t believe how many people would squeeze on to trains in Rome. It is indeed an experience in itself. They are packed like sardines, nobody can move and still more people push themselves aboard. No way would that happen in Aussie. We just couldn’t squeeze ourselves in to that extent. Every train was the same and crowds of people were still pouring onto the platform as each train left. We wore our bags on our fronts and held each others hands just to enable us to keep together.

While the sun was still shining we decided to find a spot to enjoy a glass of wine in the sun. It was fun people watching and then we walked on to find somewhere for a meal and another glass of wine. The advantage of having a young beautiful daughter is that Italian men give her lots of attention and service is very prompt. We certainly experienced it that evening in Rome. We enjoyed a lovely meal, great wine, two amazing cocktails and excellent service from a very attentive waiter. It was a great night and lots of fun!

All good things must come to an end and thus it was that next morning, Sunday, after a relaxing breakfast we caught a cab to the airport and flew the long, long flight home with a two hour stop-over at Hong Kong airport on the way. Fortunately there were no hassles with our bags which were a few kilos overweight nor with our hand luggage which was opened and searched at HK airport. I watched several movies during the 24 hour flight but I did not sleep one wink! We were met in Sydney by a friend who drove us back to Canberra to arrive in the early hours of Tuesday morning absolutely exhausted.

On Thursday I attempted a run but lasted only 5km before having to return home utterly defeated. Yesterday I returned to work to plough through several hundred emails. Life is slowly returning to normal and another exciting adventure has ended. Photos will be posted soon!!


  1. Welcome Home Strewth,

    Loved reading your exciting holiday blog...

    It would be easy to follow in your footsteps, no need for a tour guide.

    Thank you and see you soon.


  2. Ah, I told you to pack light! One pair of shorts, and two T-shirts!

    At least you passed the "train fat test".

    Welcome home. See you Monday for Speedygeese torture, or Weds for an easy 13k :)

  3. Knock knock
    Hoo's there?
    Woo Hoo?

  4. Welcome back. Must be kinda nice to be home :)

    Looking forward to the pics.