Saturday, September 22

Roll up, roll up.

In an attempt to leave my comfort zone, I've decided I'm going to join the Roehampton Writing Society. I had an email this morning with details of this years first meeting and a thank you for signing my name at Freshers' Fair. I didn't see them at Fresher's Fair, but I presume they've sent it out to all creative writing students too. 
I'm already terrified. The first meeting is Monday, and it isn't even a proper meeting, just a meet and greet type thing. It's not like I'll have to bring work or ideas or read anything out, not in this first gathering. Still terrified. But I have to go for it. I have to. 
I need to find some self confidence and I need to have more of a social life. For some reason I wasn't included on the Moodle page for the Creative Writing department site, only the Media department site (stupid university), and so I feel a bit estranged from the goings on in the Roehampton "writing community", as it were. But I know a couple of the people in the Writing Society already. I don't know them well but I checked out the Facebook page and I've spoken to a few of the members in different modules. I'll find somebody I can talk to. And so really, there is no reason not to go. I need to take a leap over the chasm of nerves and do this for myself. 

Wednesday, September 19

When in Rome.

Friday morning to Monday evening. Three nights in a spacious hotel room and four days walking around the most beautiful city I have ever been to. It made my feet ache and afternoon naps have never been so necessary, but my weekend in Rome was perfect.
We were greeted with clouds and rain, but we were happy to track down our hotel in drizzle as opposed to while melting under the mid-day sun. We had a short stroll that afternoon, bought Joe some underwear, saw the Vatican, found a nice little restaurant for dinner. But I'm ashamed to say, as with the following nights, bed time was early. We're not exactly used to the vast amounts of walking, and curling up in bed, in preparation for an early start, was just what we needed. It also saved us from walking round late at night in a city we didn't know.
We spent the weekend walking around the city. The Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps. On the walk to each one we were surrounded by gorgeous buildings and interesting ruins. You could be on a small street looking for a cafe or on a main road filling your bottle at a fountain, you will be able to see an amazing building from where you are standing.
On Monday we went to the Vatican and its museums. We had visited St Peter's Square every day but saved a proper visit until the last day. It is hard to explain how magnificent it all is. Each room is filled with incredible paintings and sculptures and everything is enveloped in spectacular architecture.
The Sistine Chapel surprised us though. Not only as we expected it to be a separate building, but we expected the Creation of Man (the painting of God reaching out to Adam) to be so much bigger and to be more of a centrepiece. Yes it was a beautiful painting, but it's one of so many beautiful paintings in that room. Why is there so much fuss around that one?
I took my fancy new camera with me and I'm surprised I didn't take more than 300 photos. There is so much beauty to be found in Rome, I guess I just spent more time looking at it through my own eyes rather than through my camera. (But here's a few of the views through the digital eye.)

Friday, September 7

Upcoming travels.

It won't be long until I'm off to Rome with the boy. The excitement is really starting to build so I thought I'd better write a blog post to let all of this energy out safely.
Although the idea to go to Rome has been in the pipe lines for months, we didn't get round to organising anything until last month. We booked flights that get us there early on a Friday and take us home late on a Monday. So although we have 3 nights there, we get the best part of 4 days.
I feel so grown up having this holiday. I think that's partly down to the number of envious adults who have gushed about how lovely Rome is and how we'll have such a nice time there. It feels like a grown up place to visit. So grown up in fact, I feel bad that I'll be going and drinking no wine. It's a grown up place where you have nice food and nice wine, surely? But I don't like wine. And I figured it isn't France, it's not the wine capital of the world, it's just a strong competitor. So maybe I can refuse the wine and not feel like I'm missing out on part of the culture.
We know the general tourist things we'll be doing. We're close to the Vatican, we want to see the Colosseum we'll head over to the Trevi fountain. We'll be the typical tourists (fancy new camera in hand!). And we'll do a lot of walking and find cafes and ice cream and restaurants and shops along the way. It will be lovely, we don't mind that our plans aren't fully mapped out.
One problem is mother. She has this habit of Googling and checking out everything. Really it's quite ridiculous. She does it for my house hunting sister who has already searched through her options, she'll look up restaurant menus when she knows she'll be going and she has a whale of a time using google Earth. Me and Joe aren't stupid, we have looked into our trip. We've looked at our hotel on a map, we've seen pictures and we looked at the reviews on Trip Advisor. And that was after looking at a lot of other options and deciding why others weren't right but this one was. We're happy with that. I don't want to over examine it and build up expectations or ruin surprises. But my Mum wants to look at street view and check the street out, I dare say she's been checking out travel and a millions reviews too. I don't see the point and I don't know what I'm meant to say when she tells me "it looks like it's on a busy street, so that's good." I want to find out these things when I get there, I don't want to hunt down every detail before hand.
And so, with that little rant out of the way, I shall carry on and be excited about our trip. And to distract me from the seemingly long wait I have birthday celebrations too!