18th August, 2011
The locals say that it doesn't usually get this humid in Rome. It has been just awful - luckily the streets are a wealth of lovely cool water from the aqueducts, or "the nose" as they are sometimes referred to. I still surprise myself that I am drinking water from the street!
Walking about all day, I get so thirsty. There are fleeting moments where I am overcome with the urge to jump on the next person I see clutching an icy cold bottle of water - it's insanity!
Today we have some guided tours, with a lovely old Italian man named Pedro. He is feisty, telling off anyone not in our group who tries to listen in on his guide talks - he looks around 70 years old but has more go than us 20-somethings, and he's as sharp as a whip! Pedro takes us to the amazing Colosseum, The Roman Forum, The Sistine Chapel, which is incredible - but not how I imagined.
Lunch is eaten at a little restaurant across from the Colosseum. After we are berated by a waiter for our poor pronunciation of 'grazie' we experience a rather comical exchange between my stick thin cousin and the local waiter, when she tries to explain she wants to order two servings of the gnocchi. The waiter counted the number of us at the table, then he counted out the number of dishes. My cousin explain slowly, using hand gestures - "me-two-gnocchi". The waiter calls over another staff member to try to comprehend us crazy tourists - I am sure they are snickering, saying amongst themselves "she will never eat TWO servings of gnocchi - silly girl". They underestimated my cousins love of all things pasta, and the size of her stomach.
We part company with Pedro somewhere on the grounds of St Peters Basilica - our ability to soak up any more historical information - gone. If I concentrate hard enough, I think I can still see his blue flag in the distance, and hear him exclaim "CON-TI-KI.. Follow the right guide please!"
What followed was some souvenir shopping in the surely holy shopping grounds of The Vatican - served by a Nun, no less. Then, onto some uh-mazing gelato, which was almost as dreamy as the boys in the shop serving it! Mama mia!?