Showing posts with label rome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rome. Show all posts

Monday, 22 October 2012

mouth of truth

Bocca della Verita

The mouth of truth

Monday, 17 September 2012

Dawn of a new bike era

So the bike finally comes to a halt, I can't see this has happened as I've had my eyes closed the entire trip.  I just feel it stop and unfurl my fingers from the bonnet of the bike.

After i've dismounted the bike, I take those same fingers and curl them in to a clenched fist and unleash 7 kinds of hell on Alessio.

Amidst screams of 'What the hell do you think you're doing!' and 'You could have killed me!' and more relevant 'You said you would go slowly!'.

What can i say? His face was crestfallen, he had no intention of killing me. Of course.
What i had accused him of was tantamount to attempted murder.

It's just a cultural difference. Never in my life did I dream of riding on the back of a motorbike. And maybe never in his life did he think he would have a passenger who had never once sat on a bike.

Part of the reason i wanted to go on this journey was to discover some faith. Not in the religious sense but in the 'having faith in people' sense. To see if good still existed in the world today. To see if you can truly trust, even in this case....with your life.

It has taught me not only to put my trust in someone else with my life but that I can control my irrational fear of cars and bikes, or anything on the road. When I explained my 'lack of control' fear to Alessio, he dashed it away by explaining that i was as much in control of the bike as he was. That every movement i made, every time i lent into a corner with him made all the difference. It's one thing to feel tense in a car and the driver feel nervous because they've noticed. But it's another to sit directly behind that person and them to physically feel my tension. 

So there it is........I had no choice but to calm down, chill out.
I am driving the bike as much as he is, it's a team effort.

But with my anxiety out on the table (and also the rising costs of insurance for said motorbike), Alessio decided to trade in his fancy, racer red Valentina for something a bit 'safer' as he puts it.

In the space of one day he sold the Yamaha R6 and bought a Honda Trans alp.

Bit of a blurry shot, so my apologies but doesn't it break your heart to see him saying goodbye?

He deliberated over a Vespa (oh what joy!) but after much research discovered they weren't actually that safe and if they need repairs, it's not that cheap. He chose the Honda with me in mind, ''It should be much more comfortable for you''.

He didn't bother to mention that it was the same bike that Gionata Nencini used on a 'round the world bike trip....' (some inspiration maybe?)

Here's how we chose the name of the new bike..........

6 pieces of paper, 3 each............

By process of elimination we whittled it down to a winner.

I saw this bike as more of a boy, but Alessio clung to the time old tradition of giving a girls name.

Turns out the winner was the only english name in the mix..........''Roger''

So here is Roger!

And Alessio was right, It is more comfortable. 
You really should see my grins of joy as we purr down the streets, as I sit back and enjoy the ride. 
For diving in and out of traffic....there really is no better way to travel!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Willy wonka...but for adults....and in Rome

Bestie pal Kristina (noted columnist for spirit and destiny magazine ( and her fella Genaro (creator of were visiting Italy on tour and stopped off in Rome to meet up!
So of course we had to take them to the chocolate bar, on vicolo del cinque, near pizza santa maria, Trastevere.

If you haven't been before, get in line.....a book shop, a bar, wine, chocolate........
need i say more?

This is the specials board which details combo shots served from a chocolate cup, 
topped with panna.

 With strict instructions to down the shot, dropping the cup into your mouth bottom first.

Watch out for the most sensual chocolate italian bar maid you've ever met, she's a great saleswoman....

oh the anticipation..........

Kristina then treated us to a turn on the piano! 
 all together now.....''Knees up mother brown........''
( was wasn't that, it was something far more elegant)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Get it while it's hot

frying egg on the side walk

How can i begin to describe how hot it is here in Rome? I had heard Esther from 'A true tale' regaling me with many a story about her suffering in the Tel Aviv heat, but you can never truly appreciate the sentiment until you've felt it. Whereas before we may have swapped tid bits of gossip and compared dinner plans, we have now entered into something vaguely reminiscent of monty pythons 'four yorkshire men'.

We swap heat stories, the temperatures, levels of 'euck, i feel disgusting' and of course....sweat.

Here's my checklist of how i know it's effing hot:

  • your skin dries in under a minute. fact. (I purposely tipped a glass of water on myself and counted)

  • you suddenly realise that the reason there are dozens of fountains littered everywhere in Italy has less to do with art and more to do with the need to splash yourself/hose yourself down/fully immerse if no one is watching. I'M TELLING YOU......THE PEOPLE NEED THIS.

  • When someone back home asks why you aren't outside enjoying the sunshine and you reply with 'what are you nuts? do you think i have a death wish?! '

Some stupid woman wrote this article for '' entitled......
'Too hot to go outside? Get organised!'
In which she details 9 different ways to organise your home, from clearing out your basement to organising your bedroom. HOW ABOUT.....NOT. When it's too god damn hot, find yourself a quiet dark corner and take a wee nap. I think the social stats from the article prove my point.......

nuff said. (what's the betting that her husband 'liked' the page for her?)

  • when you're ''5 a day'' now has nothing to do with fruit and vegetables and everything to do with showers. All this weight i've gained.....water retention, from drinking to showering. (nothing to do with gelato or pastries)

  • you could confidently do more costume changes in one day than lady gaga on tour

lady gaga costume changes collage

and last but not least.....

You look around at the neighbourhood and notice it's a ghost town between 11am and 6pm, but not just that....every house has it's shutters down, sun shades out, lights off. At the beginning you logically think it's to keep the house cooler during the day.



You realise it's because behind those doors everyone is naked. Yup...they are. 

How do i know this?


Saturday, 11 August 2012

The holy grail

women walking in heels

If you are an Italian chick, you therefore have a unique strand of DNA.

This strand of DNA allows you to specifically walk in heels in Rome. Full stop.

In my 18 days here so far, I have schlepped around in my rose gold flats watching (drooling) as Italian women teeter their way around in the highest of heels.
They negotiate their way with effortless swagger across the cobbled stones.


I remember asking my aunt Kathy (connoisseur of all things footwear/self confessed shoe addict) if i should consider taking a pair of heels with me. Her response?

''Are you a woman?'' she replied sans shoulder shrug.

With all the anticipated walking/exploring (and limited kg allowance for the flight), I played safe and brought 3 pairs of flats instead.

Now I look on with envy and awe...........

So I've been diving into most shoe shops (much to Alessio's amusement and patience) in hopes that a pair will just call to me. 

''Nancy......I am here! pick me! pick me!''

But nothing. Niente. Zilch.

It seems like there is a standard divide between 'whoa!, holy cow!' expensive (albeit rocking shoes) and 'whoa! that's cheap! ( ass nasty)' If i do find a pair i semi like, they don't have my size. It seems that a 39 (size 6) is a little on the large size for womens feet in Italy.

FYI.........GIVE ME those legs

So the search continues.....we've now likened this search to Dante's circles of hell.

  I think i'm stuck between the 1st and 2nd cirlcle. ''Lust'', ''Limbo''

 It's a shoe limbo.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The big 'C'

What is more synonomous with Rome than the first sighting of the 'The Colloseum''?

It's one of those 'big' ones you just have to tick off your list and after you've spent some time in Rome, it becomes more of a map marker.  Of course you want to do everything in your power to avoid looking anything like a tourist, but with this site, you just have to explore and soak up as much of the grandness as possible. At least once.

The Colosseum

 After having made the mistake of walking around Pompeii without a tour guide the first time (there is literally no signage or information as you trapse around) we paid an extra 5euro each to follow an 'english speaking' (worlds worst 'english' speaking guide - i spoke better Italian) tour guide, complete with small radio walkie talkies.

We pretty much dumped the group after 5 minutes, but it was still worth it as you can jump the queue to buy tickets if you are buying them in conjunction with a tour. I did play a slight 'innocent english' card after we bought the tickets, jumping the queue to get through the turnstiles quicker ( I was dying for a wee).

Even though Alessio isn't a native to Rome and the last time he visited 'il colloseo' was on a school trip many a year ago, he knew far more than i would about Buckingham Palace. That's one of the biggest differences about schooling from England to Italy. The Italians learn far more about their cultural history and are rightly proud of it.

We've all seen 'Gladiator' and so have a fair idea of what the 50'000 seat Colosseum is all about (underground chambers, trap doors, fights to the death, animal vs man etc)

Here are a few notable points to remember:

  • It was built in AD 69-79 by Emperor Vespasian (whoa - 10 years?! - doesn't that put alot of building projects to shame?)
  • It wasn't the biggest stadium of it's kind in it's day - not far away is the 'Circo Massimo' which could hold up to 200'000. So the name 'il Colosseum' hasn't nothing to do with its colossal size and everything to do with being named after 'Colosso di Nerone' - a giant statue that resided nearby.

The Colosseum arches

It used to have an awning! not one of those crappy - ''buy an awning and get a parker pen free'' jobbies, but a giant one with 240 masts in place to hold it.

The Colosseum interior

The wooden floor of the arena was covered in stop the combatants from slipping.......and to mop up their blood.
But at the same time the arena could be filled with water for naval battle shows!

The Colosseum interior

The colosseum was abandoned after the fall on the empire in the 6th century and was later used for various things....fortress, quarry etc and now pollution and the metro are having their effects as well.

But it also has fantastic views of the Roman forum and 'Arco di Constantino'

arco di constantino

But here's how Alessio and I made a hot slog through the colosseum a bit more fun....
(minus the tour guide and plus the gladiator poses)

The Colosseum gladiator pose

The Colosseum gladiator pose

The Colosseum statue pose

The Colosseum statue pose

The Colosseum statue pose

The Colosseum statue pose

The Colosseum statue pose

The Colosseum statue pose

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The first update!

So here I am in Rome! The birth of civilisation.....or was that greece?, I can never remember. Which goes some way to expressing my shocking knowledge of history. I have a general sense of what happened when, but not in much detail. I have read history books about the great empire of the romans, i've previously visited the south of Italy and stomped around Pompeii, fascinated by the sheer size of the site. But Roma is one huge historical site. So much to see and thankfully now the time to explore!

So here are a few shots of one of my first 'top 5' places to see in Rome.
Fontana di Trevi!

Legend has it that if you drop a coin in the fountain, you are sure to return to Rome someday!

trevi fountain

trevi fountain

trevi fountain

trevi fountain flipping a coin

And who is my photographer i hear you ask?

This is Alessio! and here are just a few things i like about him........

He loves food, and i mean loooovvveeesss food. He orders me lush things like calzone, yummy wrapped pizza, crostada - sweet jam tart and pastry after pastry. Needless to say....he's a feeder.

He's an excellent chef and writes his recipes in the kitchen wall for quick reference.

He does an excellent roman statue pose.

And he does very cool things with fire......

He's also an amazing photographer so check him out!