Rome – I [Garry] last visited Rome 49 years ago, almost to the day. I noticed that since then, they built a coliseum. Rome is cleaner than it was, and it was hot – with temperatures often in the +38° C range.
Italy has been the focus of desperate migrants crossing the Mediterranean. BBC on August 18 broadcast from the Rome Train Station, where migrants ‘sleep rough’ each night. We witnessed many migrants trying to scrape a living from selling non-items such as folding wood carriers. While we dined at one outdoor restaurant, a begging woman came around. Patrons near us gave her half their remaining pizza. She subsequently sat on the sidewalk near us and while we sat in comfort, she leaned against the wall and chomped down on her donated pizza in the blistering heat. We witnessed an offensive act, when one begging migrant was casually offered a potato chip by one restaurant customer – very funny eh, to garner your humour from the misery of others. In 2016 more than 5,000 died crossing the Mediterranean.
In Rome restaurant prices were high. Particularly of note is the table fee of two or three Euros per person. Not bad if you are eating a meal but offensive when you are staying at a pricey hotel and in the heat drinking high priced bottled water with the added fee on top. We found meals in Rome more expensive than Paris. The city lacked the numerous grocery stores and boulangeries found in Paris.
The above did not distract from the exceptional beauty of the city’s architecture, art, and fountains.
Below are photos of both Rome and the Vatican.