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Walking along the Via Romea Germanica from Stade, near Hamburg, in Germany south through Austria and Italy to Rome.

Sunday, 22 July 2018


Rome, what do I say about this place?.  Everywhere you look it is old –  ancient buildings and monuments.  Churches everywhere, so many that it is hard to remember which ones I visited.  Statues – on buildings, in buildings, on fountains, and on bridges. 

 I have a tendency to say hello to people I meet, at home, and while away.  On the path everyone says hello, but that doesn’t happen in the cities – especially big cities like Rome.  The other night as I was walking back to my room I said “Buonasera” to an older woman walking towards me.  She stopped and spoke in Italian, and at my bewildered look she reverted to English.  Her question was: “Do I know you?”  When I responded that probably not we fell into a good long chat about Rome in her childhood – then, and now.  It might not be the custom in Rome to greet people (as she informed me), but from my greeting an interesting half hour followed, with both of us standing in the middle of the street chatting. 

The big thing that struck me about Rome, apart from the crowds of people, was security.  The first thing I noticed were the army chaps standing, each with a machine gun, at prominent spots at the entrance to Piazza di San Pietro.  Later, as I moved around the city I saw many more police just wandering and watching, and at prominent buildings there were guard boxes with police on sentry there.  Added to that, the army was represented on many street corners, usually with a tent for shelter and a jeep parked next to it, standing sentry. 

Looking down onbthe Spanish Steps (above), and the further view out over Rome (below)

Sculptures, anncient buildings!
Pantheon (above)

The Colosseum

I was told that accommodation was fairly cheap in Rome at present because it is empty.  I would hate to see it when full!  Everywhere I went, particularly at the famous tourist sites such as the Trevi fountain, the Spanish steps and of course the Piazza San Pietro, there were crowds of people.  People of all nationalities and all ages, and with varying abilities for walking!.   
The Trevi Fountain - with and without the crowds

The heat made it quite arduous getting around.  I would tend to go out in the morning, come back and have a siesta and then go out later in the early evening.  On my last evening there was a massive thunderstorm.  Heavy rain, brilliant flashes of lightning accompanied with massive thunder claps accompanied by a bit of a drop in temperature.  Fortunately I was close to the convent, and managed to get back without getting too wet, as the worst was to come.  The next morning, my day of departure from Rome, dawned wonderfully fresh and clear.  

I caught the train from Rome to Verona, the start of the journey home.  It was nice to reach Rome, have a bit of a look, but I was quite glad to leave the crowds behind for a while and relax on the train ride to Verona.  The train ride was on the fast train, but I still saw a fleeting glimpse of some of the villages I walked through.  More on Verona shortly.
just one of the many churches, this one at the end of my street (left), and the convent where I stayed (right).

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