Got back from 3 and a bit days in Rome late last night, or very early this morning depending on your point of view / body clock (mine went forwards and back several times over the past few days, thanks to coinciding the trip to Europe with the clocks changing for end of summertime). Things I learned while in Rome were:
- I know nothing about multi-tasking compared with a Rome taxi-driver. Hats off to the individual who got us from the airport to our apartment whilst negotiating Rome in rush-hour at break neck speed, answering 3 mobile phones that were ringing continually and giving us a running commentary on the sights.
- Michaelangelo didn't paint the Sistine Chapel lying on his back, he invented an arched stepped scaffold that allowed him to stand up on the job.
- The Pope's bedroom looks out over the security checking queue for St Peter's.
- The 'secret' policemen that stand in a mob outside the antimafia office (just up the road from our appartment) all look like they're part of the Mafia.
- When in Rome, Richard suddenly starts speaking French.
- Italians really understand chocolate icecream. It tastes of chocolate, not chocolatish.
- 'Scrubs' dubbed in Italian is an improvement on the original.
- There are so many ancient ruins in Rome that some have been put to pretty odd uses: we especially loved the sacred temple-come-cat sanctuary.
- The Capuchin monks have made three rooms in their crypt entirely decorated with the bones of former monks, all arranged in beautiful patterns, and even making light fittings out of them. It's good to have a hobby.
- Pope Julius II scandalised the Catholic world by growing a beard. Apparently someone had worked out that St Peter was clean shaven. Also there was the anxiety that the Blood of Christ might catch in facial hair during the Mass, leading to all sorts of theological hurdles.
- Cheap Italian wine tasted much better oncc you get to the second half of the bottle.
Italy loves Halloween, hence the pumpkins here. But it seems a bit weird in hot sun.