I am sorry, I never had the time to finish this entry, but here it is anyway …

On Saturday afternoon Tim and I took a flight to Rome. There are no direct flights from Manchester, so we had to go via Paris. Our flight was so delayed, we thought we might arrive too late to pick our hire car up in Rome. They had an 11 o’clock deadline. I think Tim got there at about 10.55 pm whilst I was left to pick up the bags.

The trip to the hotel was trying, to say the least. I drove, because Tim doesn’t feel comfortable in back-to-front cars, but we were constantly getting lost. The lack of roadsigns certainly didn’t help.

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We stayed at a beautiful hotel in the hills just outside Frescati, South-east of Rome. It was an old villa (http://www.villagrazioli.com/ ) converted into hotel. The view was breathtaking and the air felt purer and cooler.

On Sunday night, 2nd September, we ate at the hotel restaurant. It was supposed to be excellent, and to be fair it started well. Unfortunately my main course, veal, had to be sent back as it was burnt. The rest was good though.

Breakfast offered quite a good spread, complete with about 5 different types of cake. The closest I could get to cake for breakfast, was a pain au chocolate, but Tim tried some. I guess we all pull our faces up at cake for breakfast, but don’t think it odd to have a chocolate muffin at breakfast. That’s cake too isn’t it?

We generally skipped lunch, or shared a sandwich. Sandwiches are always served without crusts on very light and fluffy white bread. It is strange how the Italians have this love-hate relationship with crusts. They either remove them (like on the sandwiches) or they eat rolls/ciabatta/crusty bread where the crusts are so hard that they often damage your palet.

One afternoon we were rather hungry and ordered a sanwich toastie which was absolutely terrible. Mine was ham and cheese … and it tasted like nothing. I added some mayo … and it tasted like nothing. I added some crisps … and it tasted like nothing. They ‘serve it’ (and I use the term lightly) with a sachet of tomato sauce, so I even tried a bite with tomato sauce .. and that was disgusting. At this point we gave up. I wasn’t THAT hungry after all…

Sunday and Monday we did little more than lie in the sun. I read a book a day. It was wonderfully relaxing. Whenever I am in the sun, I realise just how much I miss it. Watching the other guests provided me with hours of entertainment. In particular I was intrigued by an american gay couple who obviously worked very hard at their image: Dior sunglasses, both carried (what Tim calls) “man-bags” – Louis Vuitton of course, matching LV wallet, chunky silver bracelets, Burberry swimming trunks that look like hot pants. Hold on, let me paint the full picture. Both men were a little on the podgy side and looked like they had to squeeze into these hotpants. Not such a pretty sight. Baggies would have looked far better in my opinion. (Not that I had the best figure squeezed into my bathing suit!) I could only manage a sneaky photo taken on my phone:

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And of course I was able to laugh at myself too. It was getting a little hot, so I decided that I would go and read my book in the paddling pool. It looked only about a foot or so deep. As I stepped in, I was expecting my foot to meet the bottom of the pool at any time, but the bottom never came. Soon I was off-balance, to the point where I just toppled over and got completely drenched. I still had my book in my hand, so I managed to keep only that out of the water. In spite of there being a few people at the pool, no-one seemed to see it happen, so I just sat there laughing at myself. Oh, and for the record, the pool was about 80-90 cms deep!

I have never been so unprepared on holiday. I am usually very organised, but this time everything was a bit of a rush. I forgot to pack the following things:
  • The top half of my tankini (luckily I had brought a backup)
  • my international adaptor, so couldn’t use my hairdryer & straightener
  • my telephone charger
  • a hat
  • strapless bra
  • camera battery charger (but luckily had a spare already charged)

Our first 2 days were fantasticly warm, blue skies, slight breeze. Unfortunately our final full day was wet and chilly. But in hindsight that wasn’t such a bad thing as it forced us away from the pool and towards the other hill villages.

Frascati is a beautiful town in the hills. The majestic Villa Aldobrandini, built by Giacomo della Porta in 1598 for one Cardinal Aldobrandi, dominates the town. It still belongs to the family so isn’t open to the public.
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It really looked stunning in as the sun was setting against the building.