Early the next morning, having slept through the remainder of the rainstorm of the night before, I took myself off to the C.I.T Travel agency. They were really very good and very helpful. They showed me all sorts of half day, full day and even 2 or 3 day trips that I could book. As their name still gave me second thoughts, I opted to start off with a one day tour of Rome. That would give me a better view of the city I found fascinating, and enable me better plan my walking tour within it.
The tour was actually quite good, it included lunch, so that took care of that, and they dropped me at the end of the day, right round the corner from my hotel. For a first day, it went rather well, and despite their name, decided that I would book them for my other tours.
The following day, bright and early, I took off on my own, walking on the streets of Rome. I wanted to discover the less touristy areas, the beauty found in every corner of that intriguing city. I cannot say that I had a plan to get from point A to point B etc., but I let myself wander randomly, drinking in the beauty of the buildings, and being delighted when I turn a corner and come to a small secluded square, where a lovely fountain has water trickling down a beautifully sculpted marble statue. Flowers of every color and size artistically placed to enhance an atmosphere of quiet, relaxing beauty.
Then just a few streets away, another square, noisy with dashing, hooting cars, full of people milling around, vendors on street carts selling food. The smell mixed with the exhaust, the noise mixed with the music. Music? There, across from me on the other pavement was a group of gypsies. Flamboyant dresses, colorful people. And very, very loud. They were dancing their way around the square. I was transfixed, looking at them, when I noticed that they were rather aggressive in their demand of money from the pedestrians on the square. It scared me a bit, so I thought it best to keep the square between them and me. Whenever they crossed one pavement to another around the square, there I was crossing the opposite pavements in the same anti-clockwise direction. Thank God they only traveled around that square twice, or else I would still be there trying to keep them at a distance. I feared going into one of the side streets off the square, because, with my luck, it would turn out to be the same road they were taking, then where would I be?! Finally they went off, and I heaved a huge sigh of relief.
I continued with my wandering, saw the Trevi fountain, made famous by the film Three Coins in a Fountain, saw some other fountains with the most beautiful statues, water flowing and flowers. I saw the Spanish Steps, the monument of the Unknown Soldier, and all those street corners where street names are carved on stone. A beautiful, exciting city, where I was lucky nothing untoward happened to put me off it.
Towards the end of that beautiful day, I passed by the travel agency, and booked a two day tour to Naples for the next day.
To be continued ….