We had a good and uneventful trip from Paris to Rome and it was lovely going through the mountains into Italy. 

In Rome we stayed in a spotless and spacious appartment run by a lovely young couple which was about 15minutes from the city centre. It was about 2minutes walk from my aunt’s place and a couple of minutes from a wonderful area in Rome called “Valle delle Caffarella” which is a vast public open space which houses some of the old catacombes and mausoleums from Roman times as well as market gardens and places that make and sell Ricotta and other cheeses.

We walked there for the four mornings we were there and there were a lot of people jogging and walking their dogs. One morning we were amazed to see there a shepherd with a flock of sheep. There are also some large villas belonging to celebrities but you can only see large gates and driveways. We walked through to the old Appian way on the other side of the park and you could imagine the legions of Roman soldiers marching along the old cobbled streets.

It was nice to see my aunt who is now over 80 and her husband who is also 80 but looks 60. He is very fit and I suppose it is the three flights of stairs that keeps him fit. It was good that we didn’t stay there this time so that we didn’t have to drag our bags up and down the stairs.

We stayed on the 1st floor of a large appartment building and there was also a lift.  We strollled the streets with my aunt and her husband in the mornings and then had lunch with them.

We had the evenings to ourselves for the first time so we caught the metro into the city and went on two nights down to the banks of the Tiber River where they have a big festival every August and where they set up temporary bars and restaurants and have bands playing.

The other night we stayed in the area above the Tiber called Trastevere where there were a lot of restaurants and stages set up with all sorts of entertainment. We ate dinner at a lovely outdoor trattoria and sat next to a great couple of young guys from Belgium. We drank plenty of red wine and chatted for about 3hours.

The weather here has been very hot and very humid. At least in Asia the temperature doesn’t change much but here it has been between 35-40 degrees with very high humidity. It never used to be like this years ago and everyone is complaining about the humidity. The evenings however are lovely and long and balmy so it is nice to eat outside or go after dinner and have an icecream, a favourite pastime in Summer here.

I had been past “Castel St’ Angelo” an ancient round building near St Peters built over 2,000 years ago which were the private appartments to several popes. It was open until 7pm so we went one evening and were amazed at the opulence of the place. It also has an long walkway which in case of danger allowed the pope to escape from the St Peter’s in the Vatican to the castle.  We then went for a long walk to near  “Piazza Navona” one of the squares in Rome where we had a lovely meal and then onto “Piazza di Spagna”  The Spanish steps where hundreds of people were sitting on the steps enjoying the evening.   We then caught the metro home.

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