i look like I need a selfie stick, but no thanks!

The best thing I saw in Florence this morning was our host pulling the deposit out of his wallet and handing it back to me. I didn’t expect I would be getting it back after key-gate#2.  Woopee!!!

Senam is an amazingly generous man who went above and beyond. He organized our car parking also and had someone drive the car straight to us. The only downside of our accommodation being so central is that the parking cost €30 a day. So, goodbye €60!

We were off! On our way to Rome. I found the drive this side of Tuscany prettier than the Pisa to Florence leg of our trip. It is all rolling Tuscan hills with gorgeous fortress towns looking down over you, giving way to Umbrian countryside.

Only an €18 toll between Florence and Rome. We did an AutoGrill stop but besides awesome coffee the choices for food were disappointing compared to the previous one which had even featured a vegetable buffet!!!

The rest of the drive was unremarkable.

Drinking through Rome well and truly made up for that. After driving 3 times around the Termini Station ( driving ‘around’ it, sounds simple. It was not. Somehow two lanes can fit 4 lanes of cars and then throw a blaring ambulance into the mix for one of those times!!!!) searching for the wretched Avus car park. We finally located it and drive in only to find out that they are no longer there. Another drive around finally nailed it!

We were hot, grumpy and needed both a drink and the loo simultaneously. We walked the 500 meters to our apartmen: no host.   I had called and emailed from mid-morning with no response. My family were glum and slumpy. I kept calling, and kept getting some message in Italian that I couldn’t understand.  

We moved the luggage over to a cafe and while the other ordered gelatos, I went back to keep calling.  And then, a window opened shoved me and a smiling face looked down. ‘Sandro?’ I asked, hoping with all my heart. 

He nodded!

Turns out he doesn’t speak English and maybe that’s why he didn’t answer my phone messages.

He came downstairs, gave me the two-cheek kiss and started carrying up bags for us. While the others finished the gelato I went up with Sandro to do the paperwork.  

A young lady who spoke English was also there to sweetly welcome me. And you know what?  I walked into an air-conditioned mini mansion, dear reader.  No joke.  I was ushered into a chair at the table with an ice cold drink in my hand.  

*long happy exhale*

We were given lots of tips on getting around Rome and not getting pick-pocketed and then they left us to settle into the mansion. We all wore big smiles that afternoon. 

 We feasted on more fresh Italian produce in a couple of delicious pasta dishes for dinner.

I needed to top up some groceries so I went the scenic route via the Colosseum. I passed through some big gates and walked through Esquilino. There is a lot of rubbish strewn all over the grass there which is such a shame as it could be a beautiful walk.
The Colosseum reared up in front of me suddenly as did about 500 tourists and the now-predictable selfie-stick sellers. 

It is a little unfortunate saying no to half a dozen selfie stick sellers and then have them standing in your immediate vicinity as you attempt a series of an extremely clumsy selfies, none of which work out…..

A couple games of hide and seek and then bed.


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