Here i am again – in Italy. The magic of Italy still endures after an absence of three years. Like a long love affair – you remember everything so fondly and forgive its shortcomings and failings.
These failings manifest themselves as soon as you step off the plane. The Rome immigration hall is a game of snakes and ladders where the queues of people are ushered around a ribbon of people control barriers. A thousand deep and the line continues to grow as more planes land. Finally the immigrations desks come into view, and of course out of the 20 plus desks there are about 10 manned by very disinterested officers. Mine was a forty something lady officer (she had that very lived-in look) who had her earphones jammed in so tight that she could not possibly hear the moaning of the throng behind me.
I arrive at the QC Hotel Terme Roma late at night and hit the shower and bed in quick order. On awakening and opening the curtains the Italy that I love is revealed. Those oh so very Italian umbrella pines, the towering plane trees with their marvellous dappled trunks, the chirping of the sparrows and swallows and that lovely sound of water falling into the magnificent fountain below. The view over the terracotta roof tiles and chimneys is a welcome site and reinforces the sense of where I am.
My first morning is spent with the maintenance man Marco and his cappo (bosss) while they try to crack open the safe that refuses to open. It is amazing what can be achieved with a large wrench and a few screwdrivers aided by a constant monologue in Italian by both of them. After 15 minutes of judicious banging allora – the door flies open. They both beam that safecracking can be added to their cv’s. Maybe they will go home and watch the Italian Job and give their expert opinion on the safe cracking scenes.
NEXT STOP CORTONA!