Posted by: Team McSlade | June 21, 2010

When in Rome…

Leaving Spain was a fairly easy task for Team McSlade, as we sent 40kgs of gear home via TNT, then packed the bags to allow for ease of transport and lack of fines from Ryanair (we got pinched in 2004 for being 16kg overweight and thus smacked with $320 in excess luggage, a very dark day).

Thus we are prepared. Team Chaos, not so much. As we ventured through security at Valencia airport I asked if I could take a bottle of water through with ‘no’ being the response.
The line wasn’t massive, but Matt and Kate managed to gum up the works with a large number of bulky items and they didn’t ask any questions.
Security did though – about the gun on the x-ray screen – it was a toy gun but still a definite NO on the list of allowable items, now Naite and Lu are down a toy.

Add this to the French Riviera tour where they left luggage at a train station and Matt jumped off a moving train (leaving a wife and two kids ticketlees and cashless). Then they took a wrong train and had to stay an extra day in Milan after missing their flight to Valencia (making them $850 poorer), you can see the case building for a guilty verdict for Team Chaos. Thanks TC for adding to the entertainment factor and material for the blogs – we do love you, and look forward to more antics.

When in Rome...

Back to flying, that went well, got to Rome, took a bus, Matt called and gave directions to where they were waiting in the city (we had different flights to different airports, no chaos, all good).
We found the apartment office, got the keys and headed for the new digs.The wander to the place was great, with beautiful buildings, Vespas cruising past, yet the effort to carry luggage with a pregnant woman and two small kids took its toll. Carrying two fullsized backpacks (about 20kgs a piece) and two small bags is not a fun thing for 2-3kms, it was Grapes of Wrath, only without the Depression.
Now, think Roman Holiday, with three bedrooms, 14ft ceilings, wooden floors, marble strewn throughout, with a buzzer to let you in the front door. Grand.

An expensive dinner (especially as someone forgot to mention that 2 euros per head was charged for ‘service and tablecloths’) and then a few laps to find a supermarket for the next few days eats, we hit the hay.

Coloseum. We walked there in about 15 minutes and after a tour guide explained that EU citizens get their kids in for free, I ran back for Jo’s British Passport in 5.
A massive line to get in (who knew it would be popular?) and then we finally entered the Lion’s den.
Wow. Wow. Wow.
Short of having a lack of superlatives for this arena, the sheer size of this stadium is breathtaking with massive stone blocks perched on high; amazing arches and cells in the ‘floor’ for lions, tigers and gladiators.
We got the kids the audiotour knowing that they would tell us the information anyway, ‘Mum/Ryan, did you know…’ was a popular phrase. Zach has maintained that it was his favourite spot (no jumping ship a la football teams supported – Crows, Hawks, Cats…) with stats on when it was used, built, people in it, emperors and their decisions for ‘live or die’, gladiators, etc.

After several hours and ham and cheese sandwichs in the cheap seats, we headed off around the city. Pantheon, Isola Tiberina, La Bocca Della Vetrina and more squares, columns, piazzas and old buildings than many men with many sticks could poke at.
We rounded out about 8 hours on foot with a view of Trevi Fountain – Jo’s favourite – and threw a few coins into it for good luck. The walk ‘home’ had Naite doing his tiny block after having his new ‘Del Piero’ shirt taken off him for celebrating a goal with a slide on the front of it.
Jo got sideswiped by a car (only a clip from a mirror at slow speed) and then we stereotyped it up with a massive pasta for dinner.

Day one done, on to the Vatican on day two.

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