It wasn’t built in a day

2 Sep
Rome in a tent… was a success, astonishingly, since it was pretty much the ultimate road trip – no planning, no research, and a tent that turned out to be about half the size I remembered it to be.
It was nice to be welcomed back to Italian culture straight away by a taxi driver who only gave the road a couple of cursory glances every ten minutes as he speeded down the motorway, instead looking at us in the mirror and keeping no hands on the wheel since he was using both for talking.
So we discovered we hadn’t brought a mallet to put the pegs in with, and the dry ground was like concrete – but a couple of big rocks did the job pretty well. Once we had finished enjoying this neanderthal venture, we looked at the tent and I suddenly had a sinking feeling. It was clearly somebody else’s tent I had been picturing in my mind. Never mind, there was still just about room for Charley and me and our bags if we curled up small, and sooo much sleep to be had in a tent that had been soaking up the 30 degree heat all day.
I’m painting a bleak picture because the thing that got us through the ridiculous camping experience was saying "ah, but we’ll have better anecdotes later". I repeated this to myself quite fervently when, at the end of the week, I discovered that for some reason it would have been cheaper to have hired one of their static tents (with proper beds in) than to have lugged our minature greenhouse all the way from England. Hmm.
Anyway, we saw a lot of amazing sights, pondered the lessons of history, ate nutella for breakfast, got chatted up by surprisingly few Italian men, drank amazing coffee and ate amazing pizza and only got lost a couple of times, and never disastrously. Though there were a fair few pointless and lengthy wanderings. Once we ended up in a dog sanctuary.
I got locked in a malfunctioning toilet in the Metro which turned off all the lights and flushed my ankles in the dark. Charley had some impressive conversations/misunderstandings in Italian. And instead of TV, we read Jane Eyre to each other before bed.
Ahhh… it is most unfair that everything edible is guaranteed to taste good in Italy. Even the equivalent of kebab vans have 5 flavours of gorgeous ice cream. This is great cos it means you can randomly pick anything on the menu with confidence. And is bad because neither of us can possibly resist Italian ice cream. I thought of Roger Cole in Poland, and sympathised.
And we found where the summer had got to. It’s over there, guys.

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