Pisa & Rome

A couple of touristy days in Italy over the last few days. It began when I woke from a sticky, sleep-deprived night in the van, spat toothpaste all down my dress then went to a cafe and set fire to a bin. 


On Friday we caught a pisa the action (sorry) at the leaning tower and had a walk around the cathedral. My balance simply standing up is shaky at the best of times, and I like how I’ve managed to make everything in the above picture look wonky as my brain works to keep me upright. 

Inside the cathedral I felt nothing, but they made Josh wear a paper poncho to cover his man chest and man arms so I was adequately amused. Inside was a work of art of course. Stained glass, patterned ceiling, oil paintings and a nice smiley selfie of Jesus as you walk in. It’s a shame I’m such a muggle. 

The most impressive part of the day was finding a gelato bar by a lake that did you three scoops of ice cream for €2. Unheard of during our path across the continent, and considering this was a fairly posh holiday place I felt extra blessed. Sorry history, you were good, but at five weeks into travelling it’s the small things which bring me joy.

Today, Rome. The big one. Sculptors of the modern world, both literally and artistically. Them Romans. We went to Vatican City but the Pope wouldn’t see us. Saw the Coliseum which looked marvellous in the sun. There was apparently a cat sanctuary at Largo di Torre Argentina, the remains of an ancient theatre, but it was too hot for cats. It was to hot for humans. I spent the day dripping.

Rome is full of culture and history, and when you think about how old everything is, we’re really lucky that it’s survived the world for so long. I don’t know… I struggle with going to places just because they’re famous landmarks, just to say I’ve been there. I’m glad I visited Rome, but I didn’t feel like I had a great connection with the city. I was happiest taking the backstreets. One day I’ll fly in when it’s ten degrees cooler and have a look at the museums.

(Also, five weeks of not having a day to myself to sleep, read, watch a movie and just generally chill out without having to do anything or be anywhere is really, really tiring. I feel extra drained this week.) 

We were also surprised at the state Italy is in. Italy always felt like a dominant European power to me; the big boot, serving us all pasta in the moonlight. We were surprised to see how badly the country is doing. The toll-free motorways are appalling (every time we hit a crack or a bump it felt like the van was a plane about to take off) and we’ve visited supermarkets where the aisles have been empty. Once you’re outside the tourist attractions and retirement areas, you can see the uncollected rubbish piling up. It definitely doesn’t deserve the neglect it seems to receive. Somebody give Italy a hug.

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