Saturday, 19 October 2013

Day 47 18-10-2014 Fri HK, Home

Our stopover in Hong Kong was brief, so we were pleased to be on the homeward leg, on which we mostly watched movies and TV serials. The A330’s seats were marginally better and we arrived in Sydney to a cooler-than-expected evening (given the high temperatures in preceding days). Train and taxi home to be pleased to see that our house was still standing. Something like 200 homes had been lost in the bushfires around Sydney. The layer of dust and dirt on the garaged cars was astounding – more than last year I think.

Here are some statistics:
                                                2013                2012                2011
Days                                        46                    43                    61
Number of photos taken         7,752               7,683               10,604
Average per day                     168                  179                  174
Most in one day                      424                  447                  456
Photos in the bog                    2,082               1,764               1,967
Average per day                     45                    41                    32
Photo size                               25 GB              35 GB              38 GB
Number of videos taken         120                  118                  220
Video size                                27 GB              23 GB              28 GB
Kilometres by car                    4,207               2,593               3,520
Kilometres per day                  145                  151                  117
Fuel consumption                   5.5 L/100         6.5 L/100         6.5 L/100
Kilometres walked                  ???                  many               hundreds
Weight change - Joan             +0.6 Kg           +0.4 Kg           +1 Kg
Weight change - Lothar          -1.8 Kg             -3.2 Kg           -5 Kg              

Day 46 17-10-2013 Thu Rome, HK

Nothing much to report today, as we left at 9:30am for the airport. Like last year, we really enjoyed this city because it is quite easy to get around on the Metro and buses, and because of the human scale of buildings, famous churches and monuments notwithstanding.

The flight from Rome to Hong Kong was uncomfortable due to the strange seats used on the A340 and the very low cabin temperature.We dozed/slept a bit which helped pass the time.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Day 45 16-10-2013 Wed Rome

Our last full touristic day in Rome, and we survived it intact! Well almost – more on that shortly. We spent most of the day in the Capitoline Museum and the surrounding area along the Via dei Fori Imperiali.

The Capitoline Museum is nothing short of fantastic - one of the best anywhere. 

Marcus Aurelius

It has a huge collection of heads, busts and statues. It also has an art gallery but we skipped that in the interests of not inducing information overload. One of its bonus features is that it affords the best view of the Roman Forum. But that’s not all – it, like Castel Sant’ Angelo yesterday, gives a fabulous view of the city from its terrace, where we had a very nice lunch. Within a 45° field of view one could count 11 church domes as well as other monuments. It looks like the museum buildings were originally or at one time papal palaces, that one of the popes gifted back to the Roman people in recognition of their former greatness. While photographing the Forum from the Tabularium gallery overlooking it, I was so absorbed in my task, that I tripped over a stone lighting fixture with sharp edges, 

grazing my shin. No great damage, fortunately. Nurse Joan did an expert triage with hand cleaner, tissue and sock, with a proper job later back at base.

One thing that kept astonishing us was the superb  and fine detail in the garments on figures in friezes and statues. The Romans evidently had a lot of very good atrisans back then, certainly comparable to the Renaissance artists we know. Two of our favourite subjects are the emperors Hadrian and Caracalla, the latter particularly.
Forum mostly from Tabularium

Arch of Titus behind


Giant figures

Heads and Busts

Probably not a Roman of antiquity


Caracalla - a most interesting face

One of the head rooms


Bath like the one used by Archimedes

Two of a kind

217 BC coin

Papal crests


Marcus Aurelius

Fabulous detail

Faithful companions into the afterlife


Capitoline Venus - the model for many others

Now make sure you get me from the right angle!


Goose-wrangling child

Dying Gaul - note the non-Roman hair

Early version of the "The Kiss"

Views from the Terrace

We started the ascent of Michelangelo’s marble steps on the side of the Vittoriano

but only went part of the way up. They, like steps in other grand structures, have a good pitch, making them easier to climb. 

Walking around the Vittoriano we spotted a free exhibition inside of Saudi Arabian history, culture and landscapes.

My favourite

The Elephant

We walked partway up the monument inside and then down again on the outside, with great views of an old church and Roman era buildings on the other side of the Via dei Fori Imperiali. One of these was the real Trajan’s Column, unlike the other one I misidentified several days ago, and also last year. This column is situated at one end of Trajan’s Forum. We had our last gelato sitting on bollards at the top of steps on the Via Grandnapoli.

On the way home, we got off one Metro stop early and finished off our visit at Repubblica to see what else but a church – the Chiesa Santa Maria degli Angeli et dei Martiri that we had noticed last year but had not had time to visit then. This is a wonderful church with an unusual three-nave configuration, a meridian line – the longest we have seen, and playing Gregorian chants that soothed us after a long day.


We are now celebrating Christine’s 50th and our having completed another successful trip with a bottle of very nice prosecco (Italian fizz).

We had dinner at the Tripadvisor-recommended Osteria Barberini where we had excellent food, drink and service (in stark contrast to the night before, a complete failure) – a great way to end our Italian adventure for 2013.