In a continuous attempt to escape the English rain (bloody hell, just stop raining already!), I decided to take a week-end trip to Italy this last week-end. No, it wasn't entirely impromptu, and yes, I will miss ridiculously cheap cross-continent airfare once I leave.
Destination? The Eternal City. Approximate flight time from Birmingham to Fiumicino? 2.5 hours. Time I actually spend at Birmingham International? A whopping 9.5 hours. It had to do with not nearly enough buses going from Oxford to BHX, something about "technical issues" with Monarch Airlines, departing at 12pm instead of 7am, plus an surprise stop at Milan Malpensa on the way. It was horrid, I don't want to talk about it, and I'm never flying with Monarch. Ever. Again. (The flight back was mildly better with "only" a 1.5 hour delay and aboard an supposedly "last-minute" Air Finland plane.)
|Unsurprisingly, Air Finland's safety cards are written in Finnish...|
Although, perhaps my flight delay was a (tortuous, miserable, inhuman) blessing in disguise because I landed in Rome just as a city-wide transportation strike was ending. I would have been stuck once the airport bus dropped me off at Termini, staring at the chaotic traffic and unwilling to take a Roman taxi. There is something to be said about Italian chaos, however, in that I found it strangely comforting and relaxing. I swear that as soon as I set foot on Italian soil I instantly felt 300% less stressed and more patient. Was there an essay that I had to write, or books that I had to read? Pfft, domani, domani.
|Arriving at Termini. Blaring car honks and flexible car lanes, I've missed you!|
My goals for this trip were pretty simple. Get some sun, eat obscene amounts of Italian food, hang out with my friend D (I had previously visited her in Rome last year - it rained almost the whole time, alas), and generally enjoy la dolce vita. And so, I did. Stupid flight delays shall not get in the way of such noble goals!
|Fountain of Trevi - March 2011 v. May 2012. I threw a coin in last time to|
help me make it back to Rome; I guess it worked!
|The Fountain remains a popular tourist destination as always.|
|Tiramisu and coffee for breakfast. Sounds good to me!|
|Gelato as far the eye can see! 150 flavours at La Palma.|
|Flowers in bloom in the Centro Storico.|
|Pigeons hanging out on some Bernini. As you do.|
|Ponte Seisto with St-Peter's dome in the background.|
|Strolling through Trastevere.|
|With D, who has the better claim to being Romanista.|
|On my last day, D's Italian flatmate made us homemade risotto. OH MY GOD.|
Sigh. I've already gone back to woolly jumpers and my mid-range winter coat (in May!!!) in Oxford, as the weather continues to give us rain, rain and more rain -- oh right, sometimes we get HAIL too. Also, century-old libraries are beautiful but really damp and really cold to study in. Roman food and sun, I miss you dearly.