Sunday, November 21, 2010

When In Rome...

Rome. All roads lead there. My owner's life long dream was realized and I've already covered some of the giddiness involved in
She Came Down to My Level.  The next day there was a tour of the Vatican, The Coliseum, Trevi Fountain. Rome was a dream come to life for MO. Every moment thrilling, none more so than learning to cross a street in the Eternal City. You do it at a crosswalk ONLY. No light is going to change. You step out. In front of speeding cars, which amazingly stop on a dime to let you pass. It is frightening the first couple of times but eventually you get used to it. For Italian drivers hitting someone in the crosswalk is EXPENSIVE.

At dinner after the first full day in Rome physically exhausted, sleep deprived and having had it with red wine, MO wanted a real drink. To MO this means something STRONG. So she took a chance and ordered a "Jack and Coke." The waiter told her in broken English that they didn't have Jack Daniels, but that he could supply her with whiskey. When he returned he had a can of coke and a glass (and not a shot glass) full of whiskey. You must love the Italians.

There was live music during dinner which, oddly enough, MO can't recall, but she vaguely remembers practically breaking into a little cha cha right at the table to Quando, Quando, Quando. After dinner, the bus ride back to the hotel was amazing, Rome at night. Breathtaking.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

From Assisi to Rome

You never know what will happen when you are traveling, who you'll meet, what you'll see, what you'll learn.  
There was a rather lengthy bus ride between Assisi and Rome made even longer by a massive traffic jam as they neared The Eternal City. Assisi had been lovely and My Owner and her friends had done some shopping. Unwrapping purchases and looking at them and discussing them filled some of the time during the bus trip. MO and her friend are notorious for hunting down the gift shop wherever they are (I'll tell you a funny story about that when I recount their trip to New York, Philadelphia & D.C.).

Chatting with other travelers was another way to pass the time and MO happened to strike up a conversation with the man seated behind her, based on whether or not Katy Holmes needed several magazine covers in the same magazine. After that I don't know what happened except that the discussion moved on to stimulus packages, worldwide economic collapse, religion, and a host of other subjects that they found endlessly interesting and put everyone within the sound of their voices to sleep.

I can assure you I was NOT in the cargo hold of the bus discussing these issues with Professor J's bag. I was busy catching up with my friend, Mr. Polka Dots (he is very fashion forward) who I had not seen since we left home as he had been lost in Paris and was telling of his harrowing adventure!

But THOSE two...Mr. Smarty Pants and Worst Case Scenario Girl, they didn't run out of anything to say. As a matter of fact they are still at it! They have a blog together and have been having an ongoing discussion for over a year and a half.

I just wish they would get around to tackling something relevant like the dreadful conditions under airplane seats and the rough treatment of checked luggage by those hateful baggage handlers.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Florence: Part II

Okay now. Back to Florence, no they didn't go back to Florence but I got sidetracked for a couple of posts.

They started the morning with a breakfast that included blood orange juice, which My Owner was pretty sure was the best thing she had ever tasted. She and her friend couldn't get enough, and croissants with Nutella, food can really make those two happy. But food shall be covered in its own post coming up shortly.

They had a guided tour in the morning of some of the more important points of interest including The Duomo,then after a perfect lunch at an outdoor cafe, the afternoon was free for museums and shopping. Mo was amazed at just how much got done on this day. Easily one of her best days ever.

Basilica of Santa Croce:
Now MO had been waiting a long time to come to Italy. Her whole life really, and she knew that probably at some point she was likely to have a little emotional flare up. (Generally not her style but sometimes it can't be helped.) She thought it would most likely be in Rome, perhaps at the Coliseum or maybe the Vatican. But see that church up there in the picture? For some reason wile standing in this lovely square she burst into tears. Inexplicably. Suddenly. And for apparently no reason at all. Unless of course, sheer joy counts.

The Ponte Vecchio: a medieval bridge over the Arno River...

This bridge is a famous place for lovers. They write their names or initials on locks and attach the locks to fences and other structures on the bridge. They then throw the key into the river symbolizing their eternal love. I can't help but wonder how many of them wish to go diving for them later on.

Loggia della Signoria o dei Lanzi:

Many famous statues like this one, The Rape of the Sabine Women, are here.

The Uffizi: My Owner will relay a story about that, here.

Galleria dell'Accademia: This is where Michelangelo's David resides alongside countless other masterpieces.
Later in the evening walking back to the bus after dinner, a fellow traveler asked her what her favorite thing was she saw that day.

"David. I'm ruined for all other men."

Oh brother.

The Duomo: 

                       Interesting Side Notes

Literally in this city famous for housing so much of the world's great art, the art is everywhere.

This is on the street.
  Remember the woman who told MO they shared the "same energy?" Well she had told them she was a psychiatrist and had asking them all sorts of odd questions, which they might have answered if any of them could have stopped laughing long enough. In the end it turned out...she only needed one. 


While in line for the Uffizi a gypsy hag approached the group of travelers and began saying something they couldn't understand but panhandling and accosting tourists is a universal language so they all just said NO! repeatedly. MO's friend somehow managed to offend the hag during this process and the woman got very angry made some weird hand gestures spit in her hand and threw a curse at her! 

     ...and museum ticket sellers with attitude.  

 After waiting to get into the Uffizi they finally made it to the ticket window and MO and the leader of their small group were rejected and told they would have to go back out to get into another line. Mo was thinking perhaps that curse outside had bounced off her friend. The woman was very rude and seemed angry with them. She called her supervisor (an attractive Italian man) over to explain to them (since they were obviously stupid Americans) WHY they couldn't enter just then, even though their friends did. He looked at MO and The Fearless Leader, the lady was chattering in Italian and they could only imagine what she might be saying about them. Suddenly he cut her off, and began to yell at her and say (some things are universally understood) "YOU WILL let them enter, you will stop being a bitch, and you will do it while I'm standing here." The look on her face said it all.  MO and Fearless Leader were overjoyed. They had come to Italy and a man had fought for them! This idea made them very happy because of course, they are women, and such things amuse and delight them.  
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