Last few days in Italy were awesome. Managed to get around on the trains and buses thanks to some helpful strangers. On my way from Siena to Assisi I let an anxious woman cut in front of me at the ticket counter and it turned out we were going to same direction. Once this was discovered she refused to let me out of her sight. Insisting I follow her and sit next to her through 2 changes of train and a bus ride. She was missing a few key teeth and was smelling of alcohol at 10 in the morning but so do a lot of my best friends so I took an immediate liking to her. Then on my way out of Assisi I met a nice bus driver who told me that he would let me know when to get off to catch the next bus to Rome. Only he forgot to tell me and actually turned the bus around and took me back to the bus stop. The other passengers didn't seem too happy about it but lucky for me I don't understand Italian, especially mad Italian. I just avoided eye contact and sprinted off the bus once at my stop.
I made it to Rome and had three full days of exploring there. Rome is one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to. You can't turn the corner without stumbling upon something old and important. The Pantheon, Colosseum, Sistine Chapel, to name a few. My first stop was the Spanish Steps. I was told you are supposed to stand and declare something important from the top of the steps. So I declared I didn't need that kind of pressure on my vacation and skipped down the steps to the fountain. Where more horse and buggies were waiting to run me down. I walked up to one horse to give him a little scratch between the ears and the fucker bit me. Some of you may know that I was recently bucked off of a horse, so this was the icing on the cake. I'm done with horses. I wanted to punch that stupid donkey in his giant face. The driver then yelled at me to be careful. Gee thanks Fabrizio, but don't you think it's a bit late for that? I took my throbbing hand straight to the nearest Gelateria. Gelato in one hand, beer in the other, camera round neck, map under arm, I was off again. I obviously have given up any attempt to not look like a tourist at this point. The streets of Rome are only about a block long before they meet up with another street and change names. Don't even bother putting the map away.
I walked for about 5 hours stopping only for map checks and water refills. One of the coolest things in Rome is all the free water flowing from every street corner. You can even drink out of the fountains. I was a little cautious at first. I've been to Mexico and done battle with Montezuma on numerous occasions but everyone else was doing it so I did as the Romans do. No regrets.
The next day I met up with Julia and was so glad to have someone to hang out with. No more looks of pity while dining alone. The night before she came I had a waiter ask me about 5 times if I just wanted one glass of wine, one salad, one pasta dish. Every time I ordered something he would say, "One?" Yep, it's just me, not expecting anybody else. I almost asked him to join me just so everyone would feel more comfortable.
This was Julia's 4th time in Rome and three times previous she has been turned away from the Sistine Chapel for inappropriate clothing. So we were determined to make it there and see Michelangelo's famous painting. Fully sleeved, and long skirted we headed straight to the Vatican and stood in a line to rival Space Mountain. We finally got inside and followed the herd of people through a series of passages and into a giant churchy area. So where's the flippin painting? Well it's not in St Peters Basilica, I'll tell you that much. Wrong fucking line. Arghh! Julia was so pissed and feeling like it was destiny that she shouldn't see it so we went for lunch to regroup. She wanted to give up but I talked her into another line and we finally saw it. We were glad we did.
I am now in Croatia and have just finished up sailing for 8 days. But I am a little behind on my journaling so I will get back to you about that adventure.