Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Flashback- of a Not so Distant Past..

There is jubilance in the air (and so are we – we haven’t landed yet :P), and the crowd breaks into applause. I’m surprised that anybody would express their joy for a mere phenomenon of landing, and turn to look at Amit in astonishment. He looks at me like as if their reaction is normal, and I begin to see reason. After a few pictures on the runway, the three of us walk to the bus stop, where we buy tickets to the Termini. The bus ride is unpleasant to the extreme, and I believe that if I had spent a minute longer inside, I would have suffocated to death. Rangit and Amit however, find the bus journey pleasant.


I haven’t had lunch and hence hungry (also to the extreme- it’s around 7.30 p.m), when I spot an Indian restaurant and exclaim loudly, “There’s an Indian restaurant here! Let’s go!” *Amit and Rangit’s comments for this will be a spoiler, and hence not included.* We walk in, and Rangit speaks Bengali with the Bangladeshi in the restaurant. One might think we’re taking a stroll on the streets of Kolkata, and have decided to stop for dinner.

I order a Vegetable Biryani (though the item doesn’t exist on their menu) and Rangit gets complimentary Dahi thanks to the common language.

Stomachs full, we walk out, calling thanks to the Bangladeshi for the good food. We reach our hotel, and the view from the window is Spectacular (with an S capital). We’ve gotten a hotel at a picturesque location at a price so reasonable ( the girl in the group is obviously delighted. Not that the guys are not, except they’re more conservative about expression). We speak to the owner if there is any time restriction for us coming back, and much to our delight, he says we might come and go as we please; we will have the keys to the main door, the keys to the door on our floor and the keys to our room (of course :P)

Strolling down the street, I cannot stop staring at the beautiful buildings adorning the streets; every turn I take gives me more eye candy, and it seems like the place is filled with unending candy!

Rome, as is said, was not built in a day.

Woot. Woot. Woot. :D

I now truly understand, why Rome, and not any other place on the planet, is said to have not been built in a day. The beauty of the place marvels you, and it has been a fortnight since I visited the place, but the aroma of the food tasted, the places visited remain etched in memory..

We return at 1:30 odd back to our floor, and try the key. It doesn’t work. The Chinese teacher has already taught Amit how to use the key, and she’s even made him try it. I’m too sleepy even to stand, so I just sit near the steps and wait for Amit to open the door. Second Attempt, No. Rangit takes the key and tries. Nope. I try. Nope. And then I remember the notice on the other side of the door: “Please do not lock the door from inside. Otherwise, the other people will knock on the door anytime, and you cannot sleep”.

Obviously, the lady/gentleman who has locked it cannot read English.

We now call the owner, and by the time he arrives, I have snoozed off.

I am awakened by loud shouts from the owner, “Hello? Please open the door! You have locked it from the inside”. No response.

3.30 am: I’m slightly aware of the happenings around.

The owner is almost screaming. “HELLO! I’M THE OWNER OF THE HOTEL! PLEASE OPEN THE DOOR”

I am worried. No alive soul can sleep with so much noise around. Or so I thought, until the next morning, when the hotel owner informs us that 6 people (all alive and seemingly normal) inhabited that floor and managed to sleep through all the noises we made! I still don’t believe it.

The next morning (afternoon rather), we set foot in Florence (Firenze) - a beautiful city, known as the heart of Renaissance and not for nothing. The city has the air of a bygone era, where horse carts pull the passengers (which totally reminds of the Kathryn of 1969- The Vampire Diaries) and yet does not seem to be backward in any case.

Preserving the look and feel of how cities might have been centuries ago , and yet being furnished with all facilities accustomed to the 21st century man, that’s what Firenze is all about.

Next on the list was a visit to Pisa. If you have never been drunk in life, you must visit the Pisa. You will know how anyone who’s sloshed feels, quite precisely. The tower leans 17cm every year, and the lean is actually felt once you enter, and that is just the beginning of the thrill.

Circumambulating around the tower (at the top) once was much more delightful (however scared I was, much to the amusement of the other two who claim to be brave souls… nah, just that they aren’t weightless like me :D) than the view from the top (remember? It leans!).

The visit to the Collosseum is like an orange juice extract of history, and if you haven’t opted for the guided tour (like us), you probably won’t appreciate it to it’s worth (unless you know all your facts before you get there). One of the present wonders, and definitely worth a visit. (But if you ever get there, take the guided tour!)

We visited an umpteen number of churches (all of which were beautiful in their own way), the private museum of Da Vinci (Woot), the Vatican City – the eponymous Sistine Chapel, Spanish steps, the Trevi Fountain and a beach over the next two days. And yes, we ate as much pizza and pasta as we could (which is a lot, believe me. Three humans, and one giant pizza. Humans and Giants, we are some match :D) After the 3 whole days- which went faster than we’d wanted- we did not want to return from the city that has so much to offer.

We boarded the flight to Dusseldorf (which is my temporary home), with the only consolation that we had tossed a coin over our left shoulders into the Fountain De Trevi- there is a saying that anyone who tosses a coin over their left shoulder into the Fountain De Trevi, shall return to Rome someday!

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