| Sunday 26th February 2006 22:06MST | → 0 Comments |
Got back home around 5pm yesterday. A brief summary:
saw just about every sight in Rome (pictures to follow - yeah, right) including the Colosseum, the Forum, the Borgese gallery, many museums, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain and lots of shopping areas
Terry’s micromanagement irritated me - especially as he kept getting lost on the way to and from locations, despite having studied multiple guidebooks and maps for two months - consequently I was shattered by the walking most days
only 1.5 days of decent weather, i.e. warm and sunny as it rained the rest of the time
good hotel room (quite large) though the staff were a bit grumpy; wonderfully old-fashioned lift which would have easily taken an arm off if given the chance; breakfast good; like just about every hotel I’ve been in, the TV wasn’t tuned in properly for any channel - why is this?
everything they say about drivers in Rome is true - they don’t stop for pedestrians (certainly not the scooters) and you took your life in your hands each time you crossed the road, which has to be often; no wonder we saw or heard an ambulance go up or down the road every hour
there were no new buildings, or at least any newer since the 1960s; narrow, cobbled streets everywhere which were still legitimate roads and we were forever dodging cars zooming past us; SMART cars seems to be the rage this season
we walked everywhere and only took the Metro once to get to the Vatican Museum (which had queues seemingly for miles to get in so we didn’t bother)
food was mostly excellent; even though I kept wanting to have pizza, we always seemed to end up at restaurants that didn’t have it on the menu (or in the case of one museum cafe, it was on the menu but they wouldn’t let us have it); it was always a trial trying order and a nightmare trying to get the bill; in terms of the coperto (service charge), which is ostensibly to pay for the basket of bread they give you at the start of the meal, in different restaurants we were charged it for lots of bread (and grissini/crackers), measley quantities of bread, stale bread and no bread! In the latter case, Terry got it taken off the bill; despite that, most bills contained other unidentifiable entries that we just had to put up with; one high point was ice-cream from a little place next to the Trevi Fountain which was, without doubt, the most delicious I’ve ever tasted.
Alitalia, who we flew with, were satisfactory but not remarkable - their in-flight snack was inedible and a 45 minute delay on boarding the departing aircraft (we were standing in the bus on the tarmac staring as a dozen engineers and security people standing on the tarmac staring at the plane) was never explained
Terry bought me a furry ape and some chocolates for my birthday, which was on the Wednesday
most places/people spoke English, if a little reluctantly
we took 1153 pictures in total (i.e. between us)
All in all, it was fun but I would definitely describe the operation of the city and its practices as organised chaos.
| Sunday 19th February 2006 9:23MST | → 1 Comments |
Off to Rome today. Flying out at 1215 to Leonardo Da Vinci airport and back again on 25th.
Unlikely I’ll have internet access (or even have time to use it if it is available, due to Terry’s hecticly overplanned schedule). Meanwhile, my inbox will explode with spam.
| Thursday 16th February 2006 22:15MST | → 0 Comments |
Saturday, we went to a rug place in Box Hill village as Terry was considering some custom designed rugs for work as part of his overall interior design remit (which seems to be getting every wider).
Afterwards, we thought we’d wander into Reigate as he’d never been there. We lunched at a restaurant called ‘Sweet Potato’ which, to my surprise, Terry declared as having had the best meal anywhere since he’d been in this country. The waitress, on being informed, was so excited she dragged the chef out of the kitchen!
This week we’ve been preparing for our Rome trip, leaving on Sunday. Terry’s planning has been meticulous in terms of exactly what we’ll be visiting each day and how we’re getting there. He’s also been obsessing somewhat over security with claims of rampant pick-pocketing and insisting we get money belts!
The US response to the UN report demanding closure of Gitmo is just staggering. How much longer can they go on pretending all is well and maintaining their double standards? That’s always been one of the reasons I’ve had issues with reforms of the UN and/or human rights bodies as the major powers would attempt to dominate affairs to deflect attention from their own human rights abuses because “they’re democracies and abuse of human rights just can’t happen in a democracy”. As usual, I feel more let down by other countries that let this situation go on.
| Wednesday 8th February 2006 20:49MST | → 0 Comments |
What has been happening?
My dentist has written to me to say that, due to the new contracts the Government (via the Primary Care Trusts) are forcing on NHS dentists, she has decided to only do private work. This is annoying as (a) she’s just around the corner from where I live and (b) I’ve only been registered with her for a year!
I have voted for Menzies Campbell (who, though I suspect it’s his campaign team, now revels in calling himself ‘Ming’) as the next Lib Dem leader.
Terry is busy planning a detailed itinerary for our trip to Italy in about 1.5 weeks from now. He is so worried that he’ll take so many pictures that I’ve bought him a new 256Mb compact flash card and pointed out that 400 pictures in six days works out at 66 pictures per day which, I feel, is adequate.
I bought Naqoyqatsi on DVD and The Millennium Problems: The Seven Greatest Unsolved Mathematical Puzzles of Our Time on paper.
| Saturday 4th February 2006 13:07MST | → 0 Comments |
I met up with Phil on Wednesday. He was in town on business and it was the first time I’d seen him in about five years. We (Terry and Daryl too) dinnered at Mata Hari restaurant (my favourite) and had a jolly time talking into the night, especially Phil and Terry comparing US/UK politics.
Blue Light Makes People Alert at Night - that may be bad news as my new external hard drive is in my bedroom, facing into the room and has a large, blue light on the front. No wonder I haven’t been sleeping well lately.
I’ve joined the UK United Nations Association, but just too late to attend the their anniversary lecture in London given by Kofi Annan. However, there’s a webcast of it.
Denise and Daryl are coming for dinner tonight.