Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Live from the Eternal City

I'm sitting in my hotel room outside of Rome and it's noon. We bucked up for a day of internet service so that my Hubby can do some work from our room. It will probably get reimbursed by his company so the 18 euro won't come out of our pocket. The current exchange rate puts the dollar at .60 cents so spending every Euro is like spending $1.40.

Today it's chilly and drizzling but the last two days have been sunny and only mildly chilly. It's off season so the sites aren't that crowded and it's easy to get around by walking or hopping into a cab. I highly recommend late February for a trip to Rome if you aren't a fan of glaring sunlight and heat.

People dress very well here. Most women wear low heeled or flat calf length boots in brown or black. Leather jackets and shoes seem to be the norm. The clothes are close fitting and tailored looking. Black is the most popular with brown and other earth tones following close behind. And almost no one is overweight here despite the fact that there are pastry shops and gelaterias selling their delicious wares on every corner.

The food has been pretty good although I have to say that we haven't ventured into any expensive restaurants or looked at ratings. There is no free water. If you want water you have to pay for a bottle of it and the going rate is 2.50-4 euro for a 1/2 liter. I paid 4 euro for a tiny bottle of Coke before I figured out that I should share water with my hubby. There are no refills much to my hydration junkie hubby's annoyance. We each bought bottles of water and have been refilling them whenever we get the chance. The water here is mostly potable so that helps the wallet.

There is a distinct lack of public toilets. But, when you do see one they are very distinctly marked, "Toilettes". And there is always a line so when you see a public toilet you should just get in it. Even if you don't have to go you probably will by the time it's your turn. I have not seen a pay toilet but I do think they are around. None of the public toilets I went into by the Colloseum, the Visitor Center, or the Vatican had seats on them. But, luckily there was paper and soap.
Our personal hotel room bathroom has a bidet and a toilet seat. Very nice. If you want more info and/or pictures of Italian toilets you can google "the toilets of Italy." Blogger isnt' letting me put a link in.

We've have one or two more days of sight seeing (with some business meetings thrown in for the hubby) and then we get home.
The amount to see and do here is overwhelming. There are ancient ruins all over the city. The best thing we've done is to make a trip to the Vatican Museum to see the Sistine Chapel. It is an overwhelming thing made slightly stressful by the amount of people crammed into the room staring upwards in awe and guards frequently shouting at people not to take pictures. Quite franky it made me nauseous as much as I wanted to lay on the cold marble floor and admire it's beauty. Now I can say that I've seen the real thing and yes, it is indeed something to behold but I'd rather admire it from a post card and not get sick turning my head upside down. The museum's sheer amount of antiquities, paitings, carvings, jewelry, marble statues, etc is just incredible. It really puts into perspective how very impermanent we are when our possessions- even our woven clothes- last longer than we could ever hope or want to.

Today we went to the Crypt of Capuchin monks below the Santa Maria della Concezione Catholic Church.. Housed in the crypt are the bones of over 4,000 monks and three children that were royal family members of one of the Popes. Most of the bones are used as decoration covering the walls and ceiling of the crypt rooms. It's creepy and it made me a bit sad really. In the last crypt there is a placard that says "What you are now we used to be, what we are now you will be." But, I seriously hope that my bones are used as some macabre decoration 400 years from now.

I think I'll end there for today. Later I might get a chance to post up some pictures. I'm having a wonderful time but I will be so glad to get home.


DJ said...

Hi! I just wanted to let you know I absolutely love your blog - you're a woman after my own heart with your sense of humour, your baking and your attempts to live frugally - I will be checking in regularly to pick up hints and tips and keep up to date!

Robyn said...

I'm really enjoying your blog!

Your trip sounds really fun, but I'm like you, there's no place like home! :-)