Wednesday 5 March 2008

Roman profile

Night time at the Trevi FountainHaving never been to Rome in my life before last June, I found myself returning there within 9 months as I attended a Gartner seminar in the Eternal City at the start of this week. I must have tossed a coin in the Trevi Fountain the last time. Travelling on your own is a bit nerve-wracking, not to mention boring, but I made all my connections and transfers without too much bother, despite the length of time it seems to take baggage handlers to unload and deliver bags to the right location.

Pantheon by nightMost of my time was spent in the basement of the Marriott Grand Flora Hotel in the Via Vittorio Veneto being "sheep-dipped" in the topic of Enterprise Architecture so, aside from strolling round the block in short-sleeves at every break, my exploration of the locale was confined to the evening walks. I recall Sharon and I walking past the hotel last June and various attractions were within a mile radius of the hotel. The Altar of the Nations; the Trevi Fountain; the Spanish Steps; Piazza del Popolo; the Pantheon: I got round them all over the course of my two evenings of exploration. I even made it to the Coliseum on the Sunday night, walking off an extremely full stomach after a mushroom risotto and roast lamb dinner in Ristorante Abruzzi which Sharon and I lunched in last year.

Room for oneWhile not as dramatic as on first sight, it is still a lovely city to walk about in, without any real fear that danger lurks down lanes or that you'll get completely lost: there's always a landmark just around the next corner. Mind you, the urban sprawl surrounding the city is as forgettable as the centre is memorable. Endless blocks of flats, graffiti-scrawled walls and scrubby wasteland dominated the view from the taxi back to the airport on Tuesday afternoon. That formed a decent introduction to Slough, which was next on my agenda after landing at Heathrow. Being unable to get a connection back to Edinburgh I choose to stay in Slough and visit a company before flying back up on the Wednesday afternoon.

Blossom in the Villa Borghese ParkIt was good to see the family again after four days away. Thankfully Marie flew in to assist Sharon in my absence, as I doubt she would have been sane after that length of time as the sole carer!

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