Well, what about Rome then. Busy, fun, hot and very Roman. To go around a corner,dodging traffic and then look up and see the Colosseum. Breath taking. It is really odd seeing the things of such historical significance just sitting there between other more modern buildings. The Colosseum is absolutely huge. Three stories high, inner and outer walls, passageways (and probably shops) in between. 50,000 people shouting at the same time. It must have been terrifying. I am coming to the conclusion that you can tell a lot about a nations character by the way people cross the road and traffic stops, or does not stop for them.

In Paris traffic does not seem to stop. It is strange but it is an aggressive not stoping. There seems no recognition from drivers that pedestrians are there at all.

In Germany it is all very ordered. Cross when the pedestrian lights are green and occasionally cross when they are red provided it is clear that no vehicles are in sight. Former Eastern Block countries seem to have a strict rule. You can only cross if the pedestrian light is green. Even if nothing is coming. Even if there are no cars within 5 miles. In the Czech Republic this is strictly enforced and erring pedestrians are given a heavy fine. In Rome the lights seem to be taken as guidance, or a suggestion. Traffic and pedestrians recognise each other and weave in and out with friendly precision. There are more smiles and nods than near misses.

Once you get off the roads and walt along the river the pace changes. It is slow and mellow. Turn a corner and you see a Little Egret fishing from the ruins of the bridge that Nero built as a shortcut to the Forum. There are, as I said a lot of ruins. Most of them are Roman but there are also a lot of American ruins in Rome. Dieter dropped me in it when he got talking to two of them in the line for the security screening at the Vatican. Having started a conversation with them he then said that he was going to go back to the hotel and left me with them. It was difficult. They were friendly and tried to be pleasant but it felt like they were stealing my mind. I could have coped if there were some gaps in the conversation but if one breathed in the other one spoke. I had to work hard not to “bite” on some of the things they were saying. I thought I got away once I had cleared the scanners but they found me again. I slipped away a second time.They found me again complaining that they were being thrown out because they were wearing shorts. “Look” said southern man, pointing at my legs “ he is wearing shorts as well”. I pulled the rolled down legs of my zip off trousers out of my socks and zipped them on saying” Awfully bad luck old chap” before wondering off in blissful solitude.

Once I had got my brain back I realised what a huge building the St Peters is Have a look at the photo that shows the alter and look for the priest walking from left to right to get some idea of the scale.the Trevi fountain where the famous scene from La dolce vita was filmed and played at being paparazzi. Later still it was political demonstrations. The next day when looking for solitude we chanced by accident on the graves of two English poets. It was surprisingly moving

;

Advertisements