When you live in Rome, one of the world’s most visited cities, you can feel like an eternal tourist. So in theory, I should be accustomed to visitors and have a ready made itinerary.
When my visitors from Bradford arrived (along with 30 degree heat not exactly conducive to trailing round the city sights) I had to decide what to do with them. I’m not sure I enjoy the pressures of being a tour guide. Would they enjoy the same things as I do? Did they want culture, sightseeing, a relaxing mooch around? Or would they like to experience everyday Roman life? But everyday life in Rome can often be quite special.
Consider the simple aperitivo after work – when my friend Glen asked, “You mean you go out after work and sit in a square or in the street and drink champagne?” Well, prosecco, but yes. Two or three times a week has become a normal occurrence. Is that so unusual…?
The ladies made it easy for me completing a whistle-stop tour of the major sights whilst I was still at work.
So the rest of the trip could be a leisurely stroll, soaking up the romantic Roman atmosphere. Although traveling in the crush of the metro to and from my home, the intense heat, that sweaty all-over-dirt feeling, leading to famous black foot, reduces the glamour element somewhat.
Weekend highlights included drinks at Locarno with “free” mini hamburgers (free if you discount the 10euro for a drink bill), Vatican visit, keyhole surprises, dinner al-fresco in cobbled streets, a ridiculous amount of porcini mushrooms eaten during a typical meal with Calabrian friends – typical in the sense of far too many people, spending far too much money and drinking far too much wine and amaro. Good though for my friends to experience bi-lingual dinners – what do you talk about when you don’t speak the same language? Lots of smiles and photos of cute children always help.
Their visit reminds me once again why I live in the beautiful, chaotic city that is Rome, but also why my Bradford friends are in their own way as unforgettable.