When you get asked to go on an adventure that has been speculation for nearly a decade; you don’t hang about. You make sure you have a good pair of shoes-I broke them in for a couple of weeks before hand-find a canvas bag-I had one already, funny that-and then you plot you itinerary. Well, you don’t, but you do have a sister who does.
You count down the weeks, the days, the hours; then, with your suitcase in tow, you set off on an adventure.
The hashtags #Bollywoodgardener #adventuring get used, and you take in, arguably what is the adventure of a life time.
Let’s see the pictures and then I will tell you all about it.
In four days, we must have walked miles. Thank goodness for the shoes. Their first test, with the roma card, was the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. This not the first Roman theatre I have seen; the one in Tunisia is pretty damned epic too. Seeing the Rome version peeping out between two modern buildings, was indeed something else. Then you actually get in, and you get a better understanding of how it might have worked. Having savoured that, there was a walk around the Roman Forum.
Day two, was Vatican City. There is one key thing for me here. No matter what you believe in, or even if you don’t. This visit cemented for me, the power of human beings. What it is, that we are mortals can achieve when we put our heart, soul and mind to something. (Oh, and don’t mention to me the most expensive Ice-cream I have ever bought, and right out side the vatican. Nice, but not that nice). Seeing the sistine was something else; the room itself is rather dark with only slivers of natural light coming through. Yet when you step in, and are holding your sisters hand so you don’t lose her amongst all of the pilgrims and tourists; you are amazed by the sheer brightness of the colour. You just have to look, look up and then down. The images are just wonderfully vivid-restored, remember-but rich. It is then you realise just how much a single human being can achieve. There is of course much more to the Vatican, you walk through a number of galleries to get to the chapel, and these too are to be appreciated.
Lunch was delayed, as we made for St.Peters basilica and square. The television images do not do it justice. Yes, that is Petal in the square up above. Our departure was heralded by a selection of bavarian brass bands having something of a trumpet off in the square. Now that was interesting, but we were hungry and off to find chow and the cat place.
Food was found, and so was the cat place. A set of Roman ruins, that were home to a cat colony. We were about to leave disappointed having not seen any furballs, but the sound of mewing stopped us. We did the obligatory cooing over kitties basking in the sun; they were actually quite cute. A visit to a Da Vinci exhibition-found by fluke-further underlined the magic of the human brain. Da Vinci devised a tank!
Day three was spent trekking, and we found ourselves in the bone crypt of the capuchin friars. Left me slightly uncomfortable, the reminder of my mortality. But I get the concept. A walk through some part of villa borghese was as far as gardening went. A very English type park, with Lord Byron at the entrance. (We did try Villa Medici, but the tour was in French and we had missed the English one on the Sunday morning). In the morning, we had spent some time in a queue. In the queue for the opera. Have never been, even here in England. Only serves for the saying, when in Rome; so we did. But it wasn’t just an opera. It was La Traviata. Directed by Sofia Coppola, and with costumes by Valentino. So we stood in the queue, with posters around us telling us that a performance was sold out. Crossing our fingers, we ventured to the open window. Panic not! The posters were the previous evening. Phew! Ten minutes later, we had tickets, a pocketful of soul and excitement. We were going to the opera!
And what an experience. Thankfully, we had checked before the story; I do that anyway, but it did help, knowing what the gist was. As did the subtitles. Epic doesn’t cover it. Voices, costumes, being the youngest by about fifty years, all adds to the experience.
The closing days of our adventure held the trevi and the spanish steps. The Spanish steps were a bit underwhelming; covered with scaffolding. I am unsure and wholly unconvinced of their would be splendour. The trevi was all very sparkly and clean looking. I made my three wishes to fall in love three times; as to whether they come true and when, you and I can both take some guesses.
All in all, I am very glad to have adventured to Rome; it is a huge privilege to do such things.
As for the next adventure.
It remains to be seen.