Chapter 21 – All roads lead to Rome

Especially to the Vatican on a 34 degree day.

Like Berlin, Italy was not on our original agenda but travelling is hard work so we thought we deserved a break. First up was a few days in Rome. As you can imagine this consisted of pizza, pasta, wine, prosciutto, pizza, wine, gelato, pizza and some gelato for dessert.

We did visit the Vatican. What is staggering is the number of people willing to wait in line for 3 hours in 34-35 degree heat. All you need to do is book online moments before and there’s no wait. Funny how the internet is good like that.

Another phenomenon we witnessed which was new to us was taking a photo with the ticket in the foreground and paintings in the background. Seems pretty harmless but everyone saw doing this had neither the ticket nor the painting in focus. Can’t wait to be there when they show their friends and families those insta-worthy shots.

More people in the line outside than inside St Peter’s Basilica

So if the lines weren’t bad enough for the Vatican, it was much the same at the Colosseum. It’s funny how you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force him to drink. You can tell all the tourists that they can save 3 hours of waiting in lines on 35 degree days by booking online but you can’t force them to do it. I guess this works fine for us. The Colosseum was so inspiring that we watched Gladiator again and so hot that we were able to shower in our own sweat 3 times over. We also met a very friendly African fella who seemed convinced that Gemma was from Kenya and was desperate to give her a bracelet as commemoration of their ancestral history. He seemed surprised she didn’t want the free bracelet, he didn’t understand that it just didn’t match her outfit.

Maximus! Maximus! Maximus! His name still echoes 

One day a Croatian guy met a Slovenian guy (surprise surprise) and they decided that they would make string instruments cool again. So cool that we packed in with 5-10k other people to watch these 2 dudes play some cracking tunes while going absolutely mental on their cellos. For once we finally agreed on something, they’re ducking awesome and that was the best concert we’ve been to. We can say that with real authority based on our years of festivals and concerts.

We finished up in Rome with a night with the Terranovas, neighbours from the family’s Rome days. We went to their place, saw Gemma’s childhood home, walked around a small town, Nemi, which was quite pretty, and then in typical Italian fashion, ate, drank and chatted the rest of the night away.

As huge Natalie Portman fans, we had heard she would be hanging out in Positano for a few days so we ventured down to the Amalfi Coast to try and catch up with her. It was pretty lucky that Gemma’s friend Kate was there with her mates so at least we had a few people to hang out while we waited for Natalie. We didn’t have to wait long to catch her, she was waiting for us down by the dock in Positano on our first day. We had a good chat, her and the fam are doing well. She’s having a little breather before getting stuck into a smaller projects later in the year. We had little expectations of Positano and the rest of the Amalfi coast; it’s really hard to find pretty images of these places, especially on Instagram but as one of our friends put it, Positano? more like Positan-YES.

Natalie on her way to meet us

Buying a super yacht has always been on our agenda, particularly so we can spend our time sailing Europe when we’re ready to retire in a couple of years. Capri is known for its yachts so we tested the waters and grabbed ourselves a private little boat for the day for a bit of window shopping. We think the one with the helicopter, 4 jet skis, slide and 2 boats is the way we want to go.

super yacht.jpg
This one was nice but doesn’t have a slide so its off the list

Like all good Melbourne private school kids, we had to visit Sorrento, I think the highlight here was some exceptionally good seafood which was quite cheap. But what made it better was a random old British guy who gave us a lecture about eating seafood from the Mediterranean and the problems with over fishing, after he had demolished a fish platter. What a lad.

The majority of our decisions are governed by food, so a visit to Florence was a necessity for some Florentine steak. Safe to say we had 3 of these big bad boys in the space of 36 hours. Still got the meat sweats. The best part of Florence was that it felt like we were walking around a US college town, with all the groups of freshman girls soaking up the culture. My favourite line came from an old lady though, one of Gemma’s Kenyan brothers was hassling the lady for a bracelet, must be a thing for them, she refused and after he left her alone, she looked to her husband and said “it can be quite intimidating when big African-American guys follow you around trying to give you bracelets”. Thanks America for that wisdom, explains why Trump is your man.

Thats enough for now. Off to Slovenia to meet up with Mr and Mrs Poyner.



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