Saturday, April 30, 2016

Some thoughts on Rome

I enjoyed my time in Rome but I think nine nights was enough. There comes a limit to just how many ruins, churches and museums you can handle without a break. By the time I returned from Villa d'Este I was ready to go home or at least to some different country. I was also physically tired. My train arrived in Milan about 80 minutes late and after I checked into my hotel near the station, I started to walk to the Duomo. After a while I decided I just didn't want to walk that far so returned to the hotel. 

My mind and my body wanted a rest. I was curious how my body would stand up to the stresses of travel after recovering from the operation. It seemed to do pretty well because I was out walking long distances every day for quite some hours. Hills don't bother me too much though I make sure I listen to my body and adjust my speed slower if necessary.

The grand facade of Milano Centrale.

Rome seems to be a vastly different city from forty years ago though essentially it is the same. I suspect the grandmothers are not carrying stilettos these days. Everybody is armed with a smart phone. Graffiti is everywhere and there are so many cars now. There are still some scooters but your average Roman has upgraded to a Smart car.

Staying in the Airbnb in Pigneto worked out very well. Pigneto is a pleasant area and the wonderful gelateria was a major attraction. The number 5 and 14 trams ran every few minutes so I would usually be at Termini in 20 minutes from the time I left the bnb. The trams were crowded in rush hour but I could usually get a seat at other times. After midnight, it was amazingly quiet in Pigneto with only the occasional police siren.

Overall I prefer visiting London or Paris but it probably shows I still need to learn a lot more about Rome. However if Marianne and I ever come to Italy again, we will concentrate on the small hill towns.

The flight home on United was fine. Here are some photos of the Alps which looked amazing from my window seat.

I suspect the village is shaded from the sun most of the day.

It was a little disconcerting to realize that the tops of some of these mountains were probably  bit higher than the plane.

An amazing sight. We take flying for granted but sometimes views like this remind us why we get up off our couches and travel.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Villa d'Este at Tivoli

For my last full day in Rome I decided to take the train for about an hour to Tivoli and see the Villa d'Este which is famous for its fountains.

Check out the headrests on the seats in the carriage. Each has a headrest on one side to lean your head against.

It was mostly flat all the way but eventually the train started to climb.

Stylish hovels. Somebody has to live there I suppose.

Train station.

At least there were sign posts showing the way to go.

The river becomes a waterfall a few hundred yards downstream. I got a glimpse of it from the train window but no photo.

Market day.

Lots of school children soon to be visiting the Villa.

Entrance to the ticket office.

And then you are into the Villa. It's famous for the fountains but the ceilings in the Villa are quite spectacular.

View from a window.

Looking out over the flat plain.

It is all a bit overwhelming but I presume that is the point of it all. At least it kept a bunch of artists busy for a while.

I was amused by the bloke on the lower right with the huge waddy.

It reminded me of the Birth of Venus by Botticelli.

Now that is a face. 

It was finally time to head outside to see the gardens and fountains.

I was surprised that the water was potable.

Initially you just see small fountains.

And then something larger.

And then in the distance, something quite large.

It is hypnotic watching the water.

Notice the water babbling down the channel in the railing.

The Grand Organ. Fortunately it was in operation after being closed down for repairs.

I love the way a face appears at the end.

Oranges and lemons. It is a garden, not just a collection of fountains.

View towards the sea in the distance.

I have managed to keep most of the school kids out off the photos but there were lots of them.

Interesting how they deliberately draped that curtain.

It is quite something.

By about lunch time the crowds started to thin out.

A 'stunned mullet' to use an Aussie phrase.

Seats are hard to find so it was good to sit down for a while and rest. As usual, I feel a lot fitter at the end of the trip than at the beginning, but a rest after climbing up a steep set of stairs is good.

Earlier in the day this was crowded. If you ever visit this place, come at lunch time.

It really was a great way to finish my time in Rome. When I returned to the bnb I went out for another chocolate gelato from Fattori. It really is fantastic.