Three siblings from different corners of the world converged on Rome’s old town to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my elder sister’s birth; what a great choice! But we had to all get there first…
Our vehicle of choice was the ferry from Palermo to Civitavecchia…it is something we have done a couple of times before and it beats the pants off driving from Sicily up the world’s most road-worked road…but that was when the weather had been good. I will give it to you straight; I am NO sailor…I grew up in a land-locked country and the feeling of being on a boat for prolonged periods has never felt quite right to me…oh yes, I think too that I have seen the (original) Poseidon Adventure too many times in my youth. The weather had come down from the North of Italy where they were experiencing terrible floods and other biblical events….I asked the shipping office what they thought and they said “just a bit bumpy”. Ha! I was tempted to drive through the night rather than get on board, but get on board we did…batten down the hatches me hearties!
We were in the front of the ship…and I call it a ship because it was; I mean it had swimming pools and all..but that made not one jot of difference…once we got out from the protected water of the bay it was up and down more than Berlusconi’s bottom (imagery too rich perhaps?)?? I thought I was gonna be ill but managed not to be, both our girls soldiered on through the night and at first light both sat up and said “Mummy, Daddy, we have a funny taste in our mouths….”braaaaaaarrrrr”” sick all over the bunks…..at least it was the morning right? So we hosed everyone down in the washing machine that was our little shower and headed off for breakfast…we were the ONLY people there…they even had to call for crew to brave the standing up part of the job. The lady on the till (whom I believe completely given I had seen her the day before in the book shop on board) said that it was the worst crossing she had endured in 10 years…lucky us!
Still, shaken, stirred and somewhat depleted in the case of the kids, we arrived safely!
First up, Mrs DMD found the ultimate bling apartment; it was the kind of place that gives you a bon….ummm …rephrase….the kind of place that is very pleasing on the eye. It was on the 3rd floor of a building and perched above Piazza Navona, in fact our view was the central fountain on the Piazza as well as the many market stalls that had sprung up for the festive season…wow, yep, wow again. It was surprisingly well priced, was VERY modern ie the plumbing worked and as usual we found it through a combination of searching ownersdirect and homelidays.
Arriving in Rome by car with two kids, two car seats, 3 bags, 3 boxes, two scooters, two trunkies and various other bits of paraphernalia is not for the weak at heart…..we illegally deposited our car as close to the apartment given that the entire old city is pretty much out of bounds and then started the lugging process over cobbles and dodging motor scooters….try it, it is a real hoot, even better when it is cold and rainy, I dare you. We met the landlord at the flat and of course he wanted cash for 80% of the rental as is the done thing; however my bankcard had been swallowed by a machine so we were a few hundred short…thank goodness for paypal eh? the modern way all done by mobile and we were done!
My sisters converged from two of the other corners of the world and we did loads of walking; the Trevi fountain was first as my girls love it….I told them about Fellini and after that the eldest wanted to go back and back and also swim in it….we got blown up by the cops for dangling her toes in…tut tut. We stopped for coffee and to get out of the cold wind….Mrs DMD also wished to try on jackets in Trussardi…yikes. Rome and Paris, what is it about just wandering (probably have to included Barcelona too)….they are just made for us modern tourists to wander about, take in a few sights, eat, drink etc. I godarned love Rome.
For the big 50th dinner we ate at Da Armando al Pantheon; it wasn’t my first choice but with 10-11 of us, we didn’t have a host of options. They were very good to us in there; a little pushy perhaps as regards ordering, but given they don’t seem to take tables that big that often, it worked out ok. The food was delicious….one of my sisters didn’t think so but that is more about what you pay for something as opposed to what it tastes like….the Cacio e pepe pasta was the best we had tried in Rome this trip…not to say it rates as “the best in Rome” not at all, just very good. We had large plates of shared antipasti and in fact too much food as usual…all washed down with flagons of Prosecco to somehow try and paper over the familial cracks that always appear whenever the 3 of us are in the room together…
Parting is such sweet sorrow…yes, the next day we were all off in different directions and for us it was the return leg to Oceania…via a cheeky 10 hour layover in Dubai airport hotel…woo.
How would I summarise this most recent adventure? would a few words do when so many would be better? I would say that it was a simply amazing family time in one of the most hospitable zones I have had the pleasure to travel around and I will step on the plane richer for the experience in every respect.
Night night Rome