Last summer I took my book advance money and decided to spend it on a 3 week trip thru Italy, the South of France and Barcelona/the Pyrenees. How do I decide my itineraries? It usually has to do with having somebody there I can visit or, in the case of my Italy trip, a friend who had the brilliant idea to go on Home Exchange dot org and exchange her gorgeous house for a sea side apartment near Rome and had the generosity to bring me along with her and her 8 year old daughter.
The Apartment was in a coastal town a half hour train ride from Rome and pretty close to the Fumicino Airport so it was a nice touch to be in a quiet seaside resort and not in the center of the city. The town is called Lido di Ostia We did get some sunbathing at the beach near the apartment, where there was a public beach and a private beach with restaurant, dressing room and showers that you could access for 7 euros per day. Beach was nice and warm. I never imagined swimming in the Tyrrhenian sea so that was an adventure of sorts.
We spent a few days between Ostia and Rome. We would get up in the morning, walk to the train station and head on to Rome, a 30 minutes ride and then do touristy things there, like visit the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps, the Fontana di Trevi, have tons of wonderful gelato to calm the heat and just sit and have some super strong and fragrant espresso, one of my favorite non alcoholic drinks in the whole world. My favorite thing in all of Rome were the fountains. There´s lots of them. Of course the Fontana di Trevi is marvelous, and the most famous one. You are supposed to throw some coins in and drink the water so insure you´ll come back. I just wanted to get really close, get water sprayed on me and drink in the fresh sound of the water rushing. It was heaven.
Of course, while i was standing there elbowing out 1000 other eager tourists enjoying the fountain, I had one thing in my head: the famous scene of Fellini´s Film, la Dolce Vita, where Anita Eckberg gets into the fountain and a young and gorgeous Marcello Mastroianni sweetly drags her out of it. I wished I could get in the fountain and bring Marcello back from the past and into my real life -always had a crush on him, even when he was old- but had I gotten in the fountain I would most likely had been dragged out by the Carabinieri (police) and given a fine of some kind.
There are many other fountains in Rome but this was my other favorite one.
The Fontana della Barcaccia, in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy, just below the Spanish Steps. It is so named because it is in the shape of a half-sunken ship with water overflowing its bows. People line up on both sides to get on the sides of the ship shaped fountain and fill their water bottles or just drink from the super fresh water or throw some on their over heated faces and heads.
More from the same fountain
I did miss the visit to the Vatican. We had bought tickets for a special tour visit for the first day of my stay, but my original flight was cancelled and I had to leave 24 hours later. So when I got there, I had missed the Vatican tour and the Sixtine Chapel, but I just did not want to go stand in line or buy another tour so I concentrated on gelato and other attractions.
Finally, here´s one of my world famous self portraits inside the Coliseum. More about that awesome theater in the next post.