Whilst I like to conjour up images of weekends spent dashing around the ancient city, eating long lunches at various trattorias, and romantic walks along the Appian Way, the reality is often much the same as it was at home in Manchester. Except it is usually a little sunnier.
Visits to the supermarket, cleaning the kitchen, ironing and falling asleep on the settee in front of a film on Sunday afternoons are the same no matter where you are. And it is surprising how quickly you lose the urge to head to the centre and jostle with the crowds, to see Rome's finest attractions, after those first few europhic weeks of admiring churches, ruins, faded frecsoes and old stuff.
However I have been getting a little frustrated with myself as I am so near to all these wonderful momuments and parks, that I decided that it is time to get out there and see a few more of them, for pleasure rather than just for research. Anyway, here is a summary of the weekend so far...
Friday evening was my boyfriends birthday so we went out for a family meal at a wonderful little place in Fiumicino, with his parents and brother. Just under the flight path of Rome's main airport it has to be said, but they serve fantastic fresh fish or pizza. Anyway as usual I ate too much. I picked at everyone's starter, half a plate of pasta with fish, ate a huge steak and managed to drink the best part of a bottle of wine, and after protesting that I could not eat anymore, tasted just about everyone's dessert as well.
Saturday morning I woke up with a little bit of a headache but driven onwards by the fact that I had something really important to do. As I am now working from home travel writing and editing, I needed some new desk items (pretty files, pen holders, candles, plants etc). Needed is possibly a little strong, but accessorising ones desk is important for inspiration. Now whether you are in Rome, London or the muddle of the Sahara Desert, there is only one destination for any self respecting accessory seeker - IKEA! Yes, we battled the crowds, kneed old ladies, trolley bashed young children and fought for not only what we needed, but loads of other things as well. And you can just never have too many incense, cushion covers, and wicker baskets. And plants. Luigi hates plants. I swear that when I go away, he shouts at them.
Saturday evening was time for a visit to the pub and a Beatles tribute band. They were great. The main difference is that is in a bar here, people eat rather than drink themselves into a silly stupor, and singing along is limited. This is partly because they are in the middle of hamburger and chips, but also as they struggle with the words. 'She loves you yeah, yeah yeah', is pretty much universal, but come the verses and people look at the floor, remember to sip the half a lager that lasts them all evening, or check their mobiles nervously before the long awaited chorus returns.
I was impressed with the singer's mastery of english and his pretty authentic accent so complemented him afterwards in my best Italian. Turns out he was born in Crewe which could explain it.
Sunday morning and 7am sees the daily alarm call of the neighbours upstairs, not only the habitual seventeen laps of the bedroom above in heeled shoes by the wife, but the husband shouting at her as well. Its not just us that would prefer it if she relocated somewhere else then. I would definitely like to relocate her shoes somewhere.
Anyway 1st November and the sun is shining, and its around 25 degrees. So we decided to go for a walk around the Via Appia Antica which is near the house. We stopped at the Catacombs of San Callisto as I want to write an article on Underground Rome. 20km of underground tombs, on 4 levels. Fascinating even if it was cold down there and a little claustrophobic at times. Half a million people were buried here around 3rd Century, and that is to say nothing of the other 59 catacombs across Rome.
We ended the walk with a look around the Fosse Ardeatine Memorial for 335 Italian people shot in an undergound cave by German soliders at the end of the second world war. Italian renegades has attacked and killed some German soldiers the day before and as a reprisal, 10 Italians for every German killed were shot at point black range. The group should have been made up from prisoners on death row, but the short deadline meant that many civilians were rounded up off the streets including one child. A poignant moment in an otherwise frivoulous weekend, and as tomorrow Italy has a national day of Remembrance, one I am pleased we took.
Now it is Sunday afternoon. We have just eaten another huge lunch, drunk too much wine and Luigi is asleep in front of the Grand Prix. Showing as much action as Ferrari this season in fact (ha ha). Facing us is a huge pile of ironing and cleaning the bathroom, with maybe a DVD for later. And of course, I must rearrange yet again my new purchases from the world of flat pack storage.
So all in all, a nice weekend, a good mix of Rome stuff and ordinary things. I wonder what I would have done had I been still in the UK. Many people who read this blog are from the US as well as the UK and around Europe.
I wonder what you did this weekend? Would love to hear about it!