Friday, December 09, 2011


In early November this year V, kid and I had a weeks vacation in Italy. We flew to Rome where we spent 4 days before taking a train to Venice.

Plane and train journeys with a small active child are a definite adventure. But once we reached our hotel most of that 'adventure' feeling (read traumatised parents feeling) is soon drowned in a glass of a wine and patted down by a nice meal.

So Rome. It is a splendid city indeed. As the guidebooks rightly point out everywhere you turn is a beauitful building or sombre ruin of a once beautiful building. We stayed near the beautiful Borghese Gardens. Ever since the kid became part of the equation our vacations have become more relaxed and see-it-as-you-go-by than dash around and see everything the guidebook tells you to. So each day we managed only to see one site or monument before eating a relaxed lunch and returning to the hotel for a lovely nap. And in the afternoon we'd just go for a walk or find a local park with swings and slides for entertainment of small person who has no interest in monuments of any kind.

Each evening we ate in little local restaurants in the area near the hotel, pizza and pasta mainly. And the kid lapped it all up with a love that makes me think he's a bit Italian. We took a few tram rides in our search for playgrounds and managed to see a lot more of the non touristy bits of city than we envisaged. The thing that struck me most were the wooden shutters on every window of every building. Lovely, colourful and bright relief from the plain plaster walls.

We visited the Vatican where the long narrow halls were the ideal running track for the kid. Our view of the Sistine chapel was a bit like a darshan of a very famous temple - a quick and fleeting glance as we were herded in one door and out the other. But every bit of the Vatican was beautiful and we could have spent days just gazing at it's artworks and architecture. The Vatican was certainly the highlight of Rome for me although the magnificence of the colosseum is a close second.

We had amazing Mediterranean weather - in the mid-20s every day with brilliant sunshine and no need for any sort of jackets. It rained buckets just one afternoon but it worked out fine because we had already done our sightseeing for the day and instead spent the afternoon in a local supermarket marvelling at the number of pasta shapes on offer and buying fresh fruit for snacking purposes. And of course making sure that the escalators did their jobs properly. Ah the fascinations of foreign holidays lie in supermarkets and let no one tell you any different....

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