Sights were seen, pizza consumed.Friday, February 04, 2011
But, as befits the City of Seven Hills, there were highs, and there were lows. Behold:
High! I managed to squeeze both my umbrella AND my hair straighteners into my teeny tiny Ryanair-approved bag! Score!
Low. On the one day it rained, I forgot to take my umbrella with me. And I forgot to pack a European adaptor, so both hairdryer and straighteners were out of action and my hair was flat flat flat the entire time. Packing fail.
Low. The charming crowd grunting out monkey noises whenever the only black player had the ball. Really, Italy? Are you telling me that's acceptable? Because actually, it's not. At all.
Low. A creeping feeling as I wander round the Vatican that, although there is beauty in abundance (if a tad "more is more" for my own personal taste), building and maintaining the power and vast wealth of the elite group of men that constituted the Church seems for many years to have been more important than humanity, and perhaps even than religion. Maybe it's coming from generations of Scottish presbyterianism, but that much bling in a church just doesn't sit well with me.
High! An elderly woman unhooking a rope, in flagrant breach of the Vatican rules, to kiss and weep and press her palm to the grave of John Paul II. A photo of an unknown gap-toothed girl, propped on the altar of a small chapel in an old and lovely church. A pretty young nun quietly praying, head bowed. A candle lit for one you love. Being reminded that there is not, in fact, just power and wealth; there is religion, there is humanity, and there is hope.
High! Recovering said wedding ring with the aid of a toothbrush, a waitress and a pair of pliers. Managing not to throttle said husband. As I said, there is hope.
Low. Two small slices of highly average probably-microwaved lasagne and two diet Cokes: €40.
High! The yummiest lunch I have ever eaten (a heap of garlicky fried zucchini, mozzarella the size of a tennis ball, spicy sausages, bright yellow pasta and creamy ricotta, a carafe of your finest vino rosso): €50 and worth every cent.
Low. Walking and walking and walking and walking and walking till my feet exploded.
High! Strolling in the sunshine holding hands with my man.
Low. Coming in to land on a spectacularly dreich* Edinburgh day.
On balance, I think I'll take Rome. Sorry Edinburgh.
*Scots word for "a combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather". I'm pretty sure the Italians have no need of such a word.