All roads lead to...

Rome.  How I love the fact that we could accompany Jem on one of his work junkets,  I mean, trips. After the three hour flight from Riga we arrived past midnight, and I found myself all sweaty in the heat of Rome, looking into the red eyes of my overtired (and still very excited) kids, thankful that we lived "nearby", and hadn't just made the 24-odd hour flight to Europe from Oz.   While Jem sat in meetings for the most of four days, we tramped around the city, followed our noses, ate mountains of gelati, marvelled at lots of art works, walked many kilometres, almost caught a few pigeons, and generally had a great time.  I love travelling with the boys - they are good company and hardened travellers, as long as you do things at their pace and there is a gelati incentive after every 2 or 3 hours of classical art.  Tiss loved it so much that he was in tears on the last night, thinking he would never eat at "our" pizza shop again.  I consoled him that after pitching 3 coins over his shoulder into the Trevi fountain, a return to Rome was definitely on the cards.   Mikus has developed at an amazing pace over the last few days, insisted on carrying his bag himself EVERYWHERE, and has not uttered a sentence of "baby talk" while we have been away.  So hopefully Rome has cured him of that habit.  As for me, it was an inspiring break.  Next time I visit I want to do it without the "just built a house and live in Eastern Europe with matching wages" conditions ... mmm.... walking past the leather shops all I could do was instruct the boys (and myself) to breathe in DEEPLY and savour the smell of new leather handbags.  Anyhow, without any further ado, here's a small selection of travel snaps.  If you fall asleep looking at other people's travel photos, then save yourself the trouble and go to bed.  Now!

Obligatory tourist stop #1 - the mouth of truth.  Just checkin' to see if my kids are being honest.  Mikus is looking nervous...  (according to legend this mouth will bite off the hand of anyone who is a liar)

The first day was dedicated to the Colosseum and "rabbit ears" photographs.

Before the rain.  The skies grew dark every afternoon while we were in Rome, reminding me of Brissie - those muggy days when evening rain and lightning bring relief.  In Rome, the rain also brings annoying umbrella street-sellers that follow you around, especially if you are dragging two drenched kids through the downpour.

Museums sported lots of lovely marble busts!

Kids starting to look out for that gelati incentive

 Happier now. In Campo de Fiori.

Mmmm, which flavour?  Jem joins us for an evening ice-cream. (No Mum!  It's not ice-cream!  Its GELATI.  And they aren't sandwiches.  They're PANINI.)  Can I just say that Italians are stylish.  My God, are they good at font work - and clothes.  Understated elegance in all manner of apparel.  I swear I saw about 20 Sophia Loren lookalikes in one day alone!  And not a hint of a bedazzler in sight.

This scene had me singing Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens) for the rest of the day...  I think I see the light, coming through me, coming to me... so shine, shine, shine...  
In the churches we visited Mikus was curious at the graphic statues and paintings of Jesus on the cross, and we got to talkin' - and for the first time he heard the story of Jesus, from beginning to end.  Followed up the next day by tapestries and paintings in the Vatican, and combined with what he saw in a movie about the history of Rome - the bloody murder of Caesar  (Et tu, Brute) - the little boy has enough gruesome food for imagination to give him nightmares for the next few years!

The Rome metro is disappointing for the metro connoisseur.  It is, for want of a better word, scummy.  No design, no decoration, no pride in appearance, no elaborate network of far-reaching tunnels. Only thing it's got going for it is the simple, oh so simple ticketing, with electronic cards that beep and open plexiglass gates.  Now THEY were a bit of fun combined with kids and a dumb mum who didn't know what was going on.

Kilograms of pizza.  Served on big cutting boards, hunks of mozarella, eggplant, salami... you name it

The boys saying goodbye to "our" pizza man (Tiss oh so sad) - who wasn't Italian-born, incidentally.  Offered amazing Turkish-Italian fusion cuisine (yeah, I mean kebab meat on a pizza base, as pictured above).

Anubis and Mr. Tough-guy in the Vatican Museum.  I didn't sneak my camera out to get a snap of the roof of the Sistine Chapel.  Sorry folks.  I figured you've seen it on enough postcards already. 

Last day - Vatican museum.  Over the rabbit ears, thankfully

2 Responses so far.

  1. Loved loved loved this post. Reminded me of THAT wonderful holiday 7 long years ago! So glad the boys got Italy fever- maybe that means we can can all have a Latvian/Italian combo holiday when we finally come over. Liongirl does LOVE Charlie and Lola- has only seen a few episodes but obviously "favourite and best" made an impression and we have a few of the books too. Maybe as she is a little sister who is also small and very funny it made more of an impression! Melx

  2. Alex says:

    I second that! This reminded me of my trip there 13 years ago - and I'm envious of your 3 hour flight. Your photos - as usual - are great, and the boys have grown so much! It sounds like they are at a great age for travelling. And I don't blame their desperation for gelati and pizza...

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