March 02, 2007

Italy Travelogue

Recently we visited Italy. Our motto of this trip was to be just a mere traveler as in the saying "The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist see what he has come to see". Here is an account of what we saw or experienced.

Day 1: Rome

All hail the incredible offers of the budget airlines. But the downside of it is that the flights usually start in the early morning from a low profile airport away from the city. So we had to wake up the kid at 4:30 am and be ready for our ride to Schönefeld Airport at around 5:15 am.

The flight was on-time. The usual attributes were there like no frills, no seat number, cramped seats with no leaning facility and I discovered another one; manual counting of passengers on board. You may not find luxury and sophistication in these flights but considering service and safety they are very reliable.

After exactly two hours we had a smooth landing of the Airbus A319 at Ciampino Airport, about 35 km from the Rome city center. Rome is surrounded by a ring-shaped orbital motorway, called Grande Raccordo Anulare. Its amazing that it also denotes the periphery of Rome city. The circle ties together the seven antique roads that led to Rome, the city of seven hills.

Once we entered inside Rome exiting from GRA the first remark S made was that the place looks so similar like Dhaka! I will reveal soon why she felt like it. Progressively we were caught by the beauty of Rome; greeneries in this season, trees with ripe oranges hanging and the mountainous landscapes are only some to mention. We did not touch any of the landmarks of the historical Rome in this trip. We went through a tunnel towards Via-Sestriere, to our host’s house. On the way we saw two Bangladeshis selling flowers and distributing newspaper on a traffic signal. We also saw one Albanese man begging. And we were told this ubiquitous in Italy.

Later in the day we went to the Vatican City. Its actually part of Rome only border-marked by a high boundary wall with passageways along numerous roads. Except for the long queue at the security check up, the visit was fantastic. The inside of the St. Peters Basilica was simply breathtaking. The place was solemn with devotees all over the world, some praying, some crying, some just amazed with the interiors and the art works on the high ceiling. There were long queues for the museum and the pope’s tombs and we reluctantly had to leave the place.

Along the St. Peters Square among others there were also some Bangladeshis selling flowers, umbrellas and what not.

Then we went to the colloseum and part of the Roman forum. We did not stay there long as we wanted to go to Tivoli, the classical Tibur, an ancient Italian town, 30 km from Rome before the sunset. It is situated on a mountain and has spectacular views from above. The road leading to the town was really interesting and any hilly road is always my favorite.

While coming back from Tivoli it went dark and we were caught in a difficult traffic jam that kept us stuck for hours on the GRA ring road. Italy has a SOS lane for use of emergency vehicles. We were seeing vehicles intriguingly trying to use it only to get stuck a little bit further on the road. In Italy people love to break rules. The streets and exteriors of houses are not shockingly clean as what we see in Berlin. And there is your answer why it seemed like Dhaka in the first place.


Post a Comment