Roman Holiday

Well, I’m back after a great Reading Week. I’m glad to be back, and just need to unpack/clean my room/do laundry, buy groceries, etc, and prepare for the week ahead. Because we did so much during Reading Week, here is our week in sum, and if you wish to hear more on any particular point, just leave a comment. Photos forthcoming.

Saturday, 8 November
Took the train down to London, approximately 8 hours. Found hostel. Ate dinner at Wagamama’s. Mm, Wagamama’s.

Sunday, 9 November
Breakfast from Starbucks. Attended the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph. Wore poppies. Saw the Queen. Went to Camden Market, twice, and bought locket watches.Tea at Costa.

Monday, 10 November
Breakfast from Coffee Republic. Spent nearly four hours in the Tower of London. Attempted to see Westminster Abbey, it was closed. Arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral in time for evensong. Beauty and truth. Tea at Cafe Nero.

Tuesday, 11 November
Breakfast from nearby bakery. Searched Picadilly Circus and Oxford Circus for electronic stores. Felicity buys a new camera. Were asked if we were Londoners. Take the Gatwick Express to LGW. Fly to Rome. Find hotel.

Wednesday, 12 November
Walked from hotel to the Colosseum. Two hours in the Colosseum. Lunch at a cafe. The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill:  3-1/2 hours of “sheer delight”. Felicity proves to be an archaeology nerd. It rained. Undaunted, we run from arch to arch to continue. Had the park to ourselves. Were personally escorted to an exit by a guard. Were asked for directions, in Italian, twice.

Thursday, 13 November
Vatican City. Chera’s turn to be a nerd. Sheer excitement. Spent 5-1/2 hours in the Vatican Museums, waiting out a thunderstorm. Saw everything, even the stamp collection, yet somehow missed the library. Saw the Sistine Chapel twice. St Peter’s Basilica: pure, indescribable beauty. Solomon’s Temple of Christendom. Prayed in a chapel. Outside, Felicity flirts with Swiss guards and Chera imitates Margery Kempe. Observations made on Swiss guard uniforms. Dinner at a cafe. Buy souvenirs.

Friday, 14 November
Roman Holiday. Breakfast at an English tea room. Chera gets to be an English nerd at the Keats & Shelley museum. Eat gelato on the Spanish steps. Attempt to get a picture of me throwing pennies into the Trevi Fountain, in the process, guarantee my return to Rome. Walk to the Pantheon, more gelato. Stroll down the Tiber River. Test our veracity in the Mouth of Truth. Observations made about the cheerfulness of nuns. Take a jog around the Circus Maximus. Wander around the Aventine. Explore Castel Sant’Angel (Hadrian’s Tomb) at dusk, fail to find Hadrian and his successors in the room they are reported to be in. Walk past the Vatican again. Dinner at a restaurant near our hotel.

Saturday, 15 November
Wander around the Villa Borghese. Find the Temple to Diana. Assist three middle-aged American tourists and escort them to the Spanish Steps. Return to Castel Sant’Angel to take photos in the daylight. Walk around St Peter’s again. Were saluted by the Swiss guards. Eat more gelato. Figure out how to get back to the airport. Bus to airport, plane to Glasgow, car to the University. Wonder what the scenery looks like from Glasgow, having only seen silohuettes under a near-full moon. In bed by 2 AM.