Monday, May 10, 2010


My limo and driver were at Fiumicino airport to pick me up and drive (quickly) to my modest hotel, not far from Termini stazione, and on the second floor. My room is about 3m x 4m, with a single bed, plus wardrobe and ensuite.... but every possible thing I could need, including marble tiled floor, HD TV, desk, lights with functining globes, hot water etc.

I took the #40 bus from Termini to my favourite spot in all Rome, the Pantheon. I got off near the Vittorio Emanuele bridge, and wandered the old windey streets, pedestraians only (sort of), eventually reaching Piazza Navona. Unfortunately Bernini's fountain covered by white safety boarding as it's being restored. After a gelato, a side street leads to the Pantheon. It was raining lightly all afternoon. I put on my attractive blue plastic raincoat from the $1 shop, immediately identifying myself as a straniera: no Italian woman would reduce herself to such comfortable practical attire. Not "una bella figura".

The Pantheon exterior is presently half covered in scaffolding, but the half that can still be seen is grand and somewhat awe inspiring. No charge to enter today.... lots of people, some there obviously to evade the rain. With the large round hole in the roof, of course the rain came in, so a largish space in the middle of the floor was cordoned off, and for the first time I noticed small holes in parts of the floor for drainage, amomgst the beautiful mosaics. Raphael's tomb, Vittorio Emmanuel's grand tomb, and the fabulous ceiling with the light and shadows making it look even more spectacular... will put a few photos up on the blog when I get a chance.. not able to now, sitting in my hotel room without correct facilities.

Getting to Italy

My georgeous daughter made pasta and turned it into ravioli - filled with pumpkin and sweet potato, with a delicate sauce of sage and butter - for me and my family for Mothers' Day. A wondeful relaxing lunch in their back garden before I left for Italy in the evening.

Yes, it's a long way from Melbourne to Rome. One just has to accept it'll take about 24hours, and make the best of it. Emirates did a very good limo pickup to get me to the airport, and they provide a pleasant lounge in Dubai with champagne and whatever else I wanted to eat. My way of passing the time en route is to watch movies: On the first leg I watched 3: When In Rome... probably the worst film I have ever seen, followed by Lovely Bones - where a 14 year old girl was killed by a creepy sociopath , then Invictus which was great: Mandela and the South African rugby coach. From Dubai to Rome I watched a film whose actual name I have already forgotten... a legal one based on a real situation where the husband was found guilty of attempting to murder his rich but painfully drug addicted wife, and a law professor got a group of friends and students together to make a case to overturn the judge's decision. The second film was September Issue: let's just say I'm pleased I didnt pay to see it at the cinema last year. The best part was oggling Ms Wintours elegant simple clothes... dresses and heels daily. The main information I was seeking wasn't forthcoming: With all those racks of beautiful clothes, what happens to them? Does anyone who works at Vogue USA have to buy clothes? Ever? And the most "real" person in the movie was Grace... loved her.

An international news item on the screen at one stage informed us that UK passengers had again been forced to stop flying due to more Iclandic volcano ash. At Dubai, all flights, including those to and from Frankfurt were operating. No worries there.