Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Grand Civilisation of Rome...

Getting in to Rome after dark was a nightmare...

The quality Italian driving only intensified as we neared the city. Instead up here in Northern Italy it wasn't old people in their Panda 4 x 4's but swish looking young ladies wearing high heels carrying a labelled (yet known to me) handbag on their little scooters.

We were headed for a campsite called Camping Village Roma, situated on the street Via Aurelia, some 4kn from the centre of Rome. Well.... The very helpful Navfree app we so enthusiastically adore and swear by decided that the easiest route was through the middle of town. Driving through town in Rome isn't like driving through town at home. Driving through town in Rome is like battling a hoard of orcs with a toothpick whilst clad in a sumo outfit!

Via Aurelia is also a bit of a farce. There are at least 3 streets we found called Via Aurelia (god knows how many others we didn't manage to find!) all of which are a good distance apart. But, finally, after considering hunkering down next to a grand palace, we managed to find the campsite. It was about 11 at night and the price for the nights stay would have been 30 Euros, a fair sum for a pair of vagabonds so Kerry and I decided to park in the train station car park next to it and migrate over in the morning, avoiding an expensive outlay.

Train station car parks, particularly peripheral city ones aren't places to stay in a foreign motorhome. The next day we were disturbed twice by unscrupulous characters 'testing the waters' on our van. One even booted the front wing, leaving a mark, but was very apologetic as he sped off on his scooter. I'm sure, if we had not have been in the van, we would have come back to it and found a similar situation as Barcelona. City visits aren't conducive to van life!

Never the less we persevered and booked in for a couple of nights stay in the campsite, catching the bus in to Rome itself the next day. Rome is a mix mash of old and new. It's obvious that the city is proud of it's heritage. Every piece of architecture was cordoned off and had placards explaining what you were looking at, from huge decrepid religious places, with only the columns still standing, to the famous grand Colosseum. Yet all around was a modern, thriving city. Taxi's jostled for position, tourists looked around in amazement/bewilderment and the locals bustled past as if we were all just annoying moving obstacles.

We walked around looking for food in what was reportedly the food quarter, but only came across little quaint, expensive Italian restaurants or small takeaway pizza type places. So after a little more walking and some increasingly sore feet decided to grab a taxi and head over to our destination for the night.
We'd heard of a funky house night at a night club called AKAB. The tag line of "I fink U Freaky" did it for me! But before the mayhem that is a night out on the town we thought it best to grab a bite to eat. The restaurant we chose was a very swanky looking one. We went full bore on the food as well, having what ever we wanted, starters, desserts, lots of bottles of wine and came out full, and over 100 Euros lighter! So much for Vagabonding! We will put this down as another 'treat' then.

The club was next to a bar and we proceeded to get blind drunk after all the wine at dinner and now beers. The queue for the club was round the corner. Desperate to get in, as I'd just got in the dancing mood, we ambled towards the front to check out the door. It wasn't open yet, but as we walked nearer the doors opened and we just casually walked in front of everyone queuing and were first in the club! No entrance fees, no waiting... just two drunkards bimbling through the night! What happens next is anyones guess. But we landed back at the campsite at 6am still partying in the taxi!

The next day was a write off... I blame my better half! It's always good to have a blow out night... but my word do I feel it the next day. After two days in Rome it was time to move on. Cities aren't places for vans. However we'd researched a fantastic sounding aire located in Pisa and decided to set the compass...North

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