Since finishing the Paralympics, then having a very lazy week off, I have been incredibly busy! The week commencing 17th September saw a week of firsts for me and my family:
- First day back at work for me
- First day at primary school for Josh
- First time I and Mike had been to Italy
- First time we had met both Gaz & Simon’s ladies
- First Italian wedding I had been to
- First time I have fallen in love with a country so quickly
- First time I have had a sense of direction!
So the first day back at work for me was, a shock…having been away since May I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to feel, I have to admit, I wasn’t excited as let’s face it – going back to the daily grind was going to be soooooo boring compared to what I had been doing! But my colleagues were very sweet and welcomed me back with a very pink desk, which I loved! Plus I knew I was only going to be there for 3 days before I went on holiday, so it wasn’t too bad!
Then the next day Josh started big school! He loved and still loves going, I’m giving him a couple of years before we have the first ‘I’m not going to school today’ and ‘*cough cough* I’m sick…’. He even cried on the Saturday when my mum was looking after him because he wasn’t going in that day…I’m definitely saving that gem for when he has his first girlfriend or gets married!!
Italy – OMG I love the place, everywhere is so beautiful, I have put a selection of photos at the bottom so you can see our little adventure. We touched down in Rome after a very early start on the Thursday morning – we were up at 2.30am! We ummed and ahhed and walked up and down the arrivals terminal trying to decide if we were going to get a taxi or a bus – 48EUR compared to 8EUR each – we chose the bus! So after bumming up the stairs and falling asleep on Mike’s shoulder we arrived in the center of Rome, using the map I had cleverly picked up before leaving the airport, we found our hotel. One thing we did find out was that in a foreign country I had an amazing sense of direction – compared to at home where I STILL get lost going around Cambridge or even my hometown of Watford – Italy I could navigate with ease! It was a reasonably basic hotel, but fab location and considering we weren’t in there a whole lot it didn’t really matter what the hotel was like, so long as we had a bed to sleep in!
We started off by walking to the Coloseum, it didn’t take very long and as it was a nice hot day we didn’t mind being out in the sun, especially as in England it was wet and cold at the time. We spent a bit of time looking around there and taking a billion pictures – it’s just amazing to think about what went on inside those walls, and also how it was built, the place is massive! Once we had walked around a couple of times and explored all the bits we could get to we headed outside to get something to eat – a nice mozarella and ham panini thingy…one thing I have noticed in Italy, they don’t toast them for long enough, the cheese is never melted enough! We then went to see the Roman Forum, which was, I’m not gonna lie – a bloody pain in the ass! Seriously, Roman Forum, in a wheelchair = a friggin nightmare. If you want to go, make sure you have someone who is will to push you. In fact, that goes for a lot of Italy (well Rome mostly), without Mike I would have really struggled, especially as I’m a cheap skate and like to walk most places! The cobble stones were painful, the GIANT cobble stones were a lot easier actually, bizarrely! The ROman FOrum was really nice though and although we didn’t really explore half of it because of accessiblity issues and we were getting tired! So we headed back to the hotel for a nap before finding somewhere for dinner. We didn’t plan on sleeping that long, but ended up kipping for 2 hours! We went to a restaurant just down the road and had a pizza, it was delicious, although it wasn’t quite what I expected, we ordered a 4 cheese, and I didn’t realise that it had no tomato sauce…so it was really really cheesy!
The next day we got a taxi to the Vatican City and went to the museum (free for disabled and carer FYI!) which includes the Sistine Chapel – it was amazing, the architecture of the building was incredible and the paintings and sculptures etc were all just brilliant. I tried to take as many pictures as possible, but it was impossible to capture it all, and pictures just don’t do it justice either. You have to go there to appreciate it. We had lunch in the courtyard mid way through our visit to the museum and before we walked back to the hotel we went into St Peter’s Basilica. Again, this place was insanely beautiful and just amazing and again, you can’t capture the beauty of it all in photos, I tried, but you have to see it. The detail and the sheer scale of this building were so impressive. So after we had looked around here we made our way back to the hotel – without a map. That’s right, we’d forgotten the maps! Well this is where my awesome Italian sense of direction made it’s appearence. I said to Mike that we need to head in a particular direction – we did and although we somehow made it to Trevi Fountain (again just awesome!) we were heading in the right direction. We did ask a German tourist if we could use their map at one point, just to check and we found that we were going in the right direction – go me! We were going up this steep hill and I saw someone walk along the road with a Hard Rock Cafe bag and I turned to Mike and told him I wanted ribs for dinner and we were going to the Hard Rock! We managed to hail a taxi as we were both shattered and he took us there…best ribs and raspberry mojito ever! Even got a spot of pin trading in as well. We walked back to the hotel as it wasn’t far and conked out as soon as our heads hit the pillow.
I will leave the next part (where we pick up a hire car and drive to Spoleto) for another day, here are some pictures from our hectic 2 days in Rome., my first day back at work and Josh’s first day at school…