France and Italy 2001

Email 3: 20/2/01 Flying to Singapore - Bologna, Rome, flight to Singapore.

20/2/2001 03:00AM Melbourne Time

G'day all,

Well here I am again, 10,000 metres above the Middle East, just about to cross the Persian Gulf, heading for Singapore. (Hoping no-one lets off a stray missile!) The 'Singapore Girl' has just brought me a Silver Kris Sling cocktail made of cointrou (spelling?) fruit juice and champagne... I already had a Singapore sling earlier... Just watched Charlies Angels, and glad I didn't pay to see it at the cinema, wont be buying the DVD either, but entertaining enough for flight fodder. There was a Blink 182 (popular alternative band for those who don't listen to Triple J FM) song on at the end, and I have their album stored on the laptop in MP3 and so I am playing it now in the background (on headphones)... So I am cruising well!

Well, what has happened since the last E-Postcard... let me see where I left it... OK, had just arrived in Bologna. Well the week of work was fairly uneventful, so I wont bore you with details. I was in a scheduled training course for 3 days at the hotel, then I had 2 days in the office for meetings and training. I got to meet people that I had only emailed and phoned before, as well as meet some people who had been out to Australia recently.

The first training course was attended by people from offices in Europe and the UK, and we all went out to dinner at a local restaurant on Tuesday night, which was good. Lorenzo from the Italian office who I have been working with recently, took me out on Thursday night to a restaurant in Bologna. The restaurant is famous for its antipasta and the table was covered with dishes. Then 3 mixed pastas, a couple of meats for mains, then the table covered in deserts! All followed by a couple of Grappas (Italian fire water!) to finish with.

On Saturday I was up earlyish, packed and to the airport for the 50 minute flight to Rome. At Rome airport a guy had my name on a sign (I have always wanted that!). Rome was a stopover as part of the flight and included transfers to/from the airport. I had a minivan to myself for the trip to the hotel. The hotel was small, and under renovation, but my room was finished and quite nice although small with only a single bed. However the view was very average, see picture! I walked around the nearby area including Basilica St Mary, which was only a block or so away. I had lunch at a small restaurant recommended by the hotel, and had my first spaghetti carbonara for the trip.

On Sunday I was up earlyish, and planned to, yes I am a bit ashamed to say... Take a tour. Well I only had the one day to sightsee, and after a couple of weeks of work - it was easy! As I was leaving the hotel staff told me I had to change rooms, so it was back to the room to pack up my bags so they could move them. Then it was a quick walk to the bus terminal. The tour spent quite some time on foot which was good, and we saw the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and several other sights. We were then dropped at St Peters in the Vatican State, I got to walk around St Peters, which is huge and magnificent. Then in the square the Pope appeared at his window and blessed me (in Italian) and several thousand other people at the square. After the blessing I was dropped back at the hotel. The new room was a bit bigger, and similarly newly refurbished. I had spag carb at the same restaurant for lunch, and walked again back to the bus tour office.

I had an afternoon ancient Rome tour included with the stopover. This took in the ruins, the Colosseum, and St Pauls outside the wall. They were again all very interesting and spectacular. I had seen so much old stuff that it was all a bit overwhelming. The tour did not go into the Colusseum, which now has a charge to enter, but I got a bit of a look inside through the gate. If I had another day, I would take myseft to that area and explore some more. I think one tour a day is enough, and you can then go back and see in more detail places that interest you. I packed up a bit ready for tomorrow, and went to bed early after all the walking.

Today it was up, breakfast, and pack ready to depart Rome. I was picked up by a guy for the trip to the airport and had the car to myself again. The flight boarded on time, but was a bit slow to push back. And now here I am... The plane is now just over the gulf, and heading for the Arabian Sea, my Kris Sling is almost gone, and the Blink 182 Album is nearing the end.

See you all when I get back.


Email 1: 6/2/01 Cannes - Trip over, and first day in Cannes.

Email 2: 12/2/01 Bologna - Cannes, Paris, trip to Italy.

Back to France and Italy 2001 Trip


9. Restaurant in Bologna, Italy
10. The view from my Rome Hotel window!
11. Inside St Peters, Rome
12. The Colosseum, Rome

Click on the pictures for a larger image