As you can tell from Sunday Snaps 117, I was in Rome this weekend.
I blame Facebook.
It is entirely due to FB that Alison and I spent the best part of three glorious days in Rome. Doing as the Romans do, or at least Roman women aged 40+ with a predisposition for prosecco and shoe shopping.
It all started when FB changed its page layout and suddenly everyone had to have a banner picture. I put off changing my FB page because although I can embrace change I do hate change for change's sake, but in the end I bit the bullet, which meant I had to find a pic for my banner.
I flicked through the various albums I had on FB (was feeling way too lazy to want to upload anything from somewhere else) and found a golden hued street shot of Rome taken in October 2011 and used that.
My friends were quick to comment on the pic, trying to guess where it was taken, which led to me and Al reminiscing (via FB) about how much we love Rome, we should go for a weekend, one of us suggested.
And that was it. Within a few days diaries had been checked, the spouses had been booked (dog walking and childcare duties needed to be taken care of) flights also booked and hotel was sorted.
On arrival at the hotel (on via del Babuino, spitting distance to Piazza del Popolo and a five minute stroll past lots of pretty shops to the Spanish Steps, with an excellent restaurant just around the corner) the charming guy on reception said "oh yes, Mrs Evans, the room..." and my heart sank.
Had the room been double booked? Had it proved impossible to change the large double bed into two singles...I needn't have worried. We'd been upgraded and had the best room in the hotel, with a balcony looking out onto the main street*.
Unpacking was swiftly accomplished and we headed out to find some lunch.
We didn't get far. Having headed along the street towards the piazza we came across two restaurants just at the edge of the piazza both with tables set outside under awnings. We toasted our weekend with prosecco and split a pizza and a bowl of salad.
Sitting outside at restaurants and cafés provides the perfect entertainment, people watching. It's even better when there's two of you, and even more fun when it's fueled by alcohol and you have a near constant stream of tourists parading past. But eventually the lure of the Roman shops proved too great and we headed off.
Friday afternoon was not a big success on the shopping from, not that we returned to our hotel dejected, by no means. I think we both viewed Friday as a scouting mission, we examined the contents of every shoe shop we came across very carefully, because Italian shoes are wonderful, the variety (especially when you live in sensible Germany) is awesome and they are also not expensive (unlike in Germany) and as we weren't tailed by men, who don't seem to appreciate the difference between one shoe and another, but were instead with our ideal shopping partners, there was no guilt. No need to have to soothe a bored male left standing outside yet another boutique, twiddling his thumbs, instead there was just unadulterated glee as the quest for the perfect shoe ran and ran.
We got as far as Piazza Navona** when we had to give in to ice cream (what can I say...other than it was hot) and then wended our way back to our hotel for a little recuperation. It's hard work, enjoying yourself!
* which is why we think we got upgraded. Our theory is that someone objected to the road noise and opted for a smaller room elsewhere in the hotel. Crazy really, when you stay in a city road noise is to be expected.
** I love Piazza Navona, although I don't think Al shares my love. Yes it is a huge tourist trap and the restaurants and gelateria are going to be priced accordingly, but I love the constant action in the place. There are the "serious" artists selling their wares and the blatant beggars, but there are also the street entertainers and of course the essential "bag men". There's so much to watch.