Friday, December 08, 2006

One Cold Pontiff and Three Warm Old Ladies

As well as working on and at the fringes of various exciting projects, interspersed with whines about my lack of time (Balls It's F*cking Friday, I say) and my lack of broadband at home (dull poor customer experience post may be with you soon), I have managed to squeeze in a long weekend in Rome since I last wrote.

Without the time and materials, I have failed to get some nice pics onto Flickr, or my video of the inside of the Pantheon onto Youtube as planned, but here are some highlights to be getting on with:

  1. The emotional intensity of seeing St Peters and the Pope
    We saw Benedict XVI speaking to the crowd on Sunday, and whilst a lapsed Catholic it did seem pretty astounding (and to be fair, my travelling companion Tracy is Jewish and she was pretty impressed too).

    I was also moved wondering whether religious members of my family had ever been to Rome or seen a Pope speak, and was pleased/relieved to find out from Mother Brown that my nan had actually been to Rome although the pope she saw was nicer, the current one "not being what I call a warm pope" on Mother's popeometer. (Incidentally, have only just realised where the word pontificate comes from.)

    St Peters as a whole is awe-inspiring due to the beauty of its sculpture, art and architecture, humbling for the piety of some of the characters in the building past and present, but ultimately for me a little nauseating for the amount of decoration, ostentation and glamour.

  2. Food
    Includes: spaghetti cacio e pepe (goats cheese and black pepper); fig and walnut ice cream; deep-fried artichokes Roman-Jewish style; squid in a spicy tomato sauce; fritto misto (Italian tempura); coffee; sesame and honey ice cream; some sort of delicious tuna thing; linguine with lemon and sea bass.

    My favourite of all was a dense almondy cake rich with dry fruit and fresh from an oven from an unmarked bakery we'd been tipped off about by the Time Out guide. We nearly gave up on the place until I spotted two old dears feverishly scratching at the paper bag containing whatever they'd just bought - which I found out was this heavenly stuff. Now known by me as "old lady crack", if anyone can hazard a guess at what it's actually called, I'd love to find out. It tasted Christmassy and had lots of whole almonds in it as well.

  3. The Pride of Romans in their City
    We paused for a few moments in a (by Roman standards) non-descript piazza to admire the intense blue sky against the amber rooftops, and a little old lady walking across the square strode past us beaming and waving her hands in our direction, saying something along the lines of "Bella! It is beautiful, Rome, yes?" I'm not convinced it would happen in another city.

Wish me luck getting Tiscali to get our broadband up and running, I need my virtual life back.

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