Well, here I am in Italy.  We’ve had our three days in Rome and now we are in Ostia, just outside of Rome, by the sea.


Castor or Pollux. I don’t know how to tell them apart. With a four legged friend.

A brief summary :

Our hotel in Rome was clean.  I’ll leave it at that – if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything.

The hotel had Wifi.  Which worked some of the time.  Again, I’ll leave it at that.

I don’t do cities – but I would come back to Rome.

Rome public transport is great.

Even with the great public transport, I walked about ten miles each day.

The hotel in Ostia is lovely – beachfront, big balcony, great view.  Also clean.

Here’s a bit more detail about the first two days in Rome.


‘Justice’ in a four-horse chariot, on top of the Palace of Justice

It’s worth mentioning beforehand that I ‘came out’ about five years ago and openly admitted that I Don’t Like Cities.  Yes.  All cities.  No, I don’t even like Paris.  Too many buildings, cars, people noise… give me a mountain any day.  But I’ve approached the trip to Rome thinking it would be interesting to see all the historical stuff.


Well it’s Rome – I have to include a picture of the Colosseum

It’s not just interesting, it’s mind blowing.  The first day, I did a guided tour of the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum, a walk down from the Colosseum to the Circus Maximus, across the Tiber and back up via that little island thingy in the middle, the Ghetto and the ruins at the Piazza Largo.  Tired leggies after that…


The monument to Vittorio Emmanuel, the first king after Italy’s unification. This building is detested by many Romans, who consider too big and garish. It is often referred to as the wedding cake, or the typewriter by those who dislike it.

Next day I did a bus tour of the major sites, getting off during the second half (because I’d already walked most of the first half the previous day) to see the Trevi Fountain.


Part of the Trevi fountain. There must have been at least a billion people here but I pushed my way to the front and took this photo. Apologies for the weird dark line on the left hand side of the photo – there was a piece of hay trapped in the cover of my iPhone which chose to lie over the camera lens for a while.

After the Trevi fountain, I walked up to the Quirinal, which was impressive.  The building which formerly housed the Palace stables faces the Presidential Palace.


Stables!!! This was Stables!! HAHAHA!

It’s a fairly impressive building.  For stables, like.

Speaking of stables (and horses) I saw a few mounted policemen and a lot of horse-drawn carriages in the city.

img_4354Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about them.  Sure, they live in less than ideal conditions, but they mostly looked well fed and well cared for.  But I kept looking at their feet.  No amount of black hoof oil could hid the upright hooves; multiple nail holes; distorted hairlines.  Harsh bits.  Heads low.  Dull eyes.  Even the harsh clip-clop of metal shoes bothers me now.  Becoming a horse-hippy has changed me.  I wanted to scoop them all up and bring them back to Provence to live wild and woolly lives on a mountain😦  But they have jobs to do and a living to earn…

After the Quirinal, I walked back down to the Piazza Venezia because I wanted to have a look at the museum there – the Palazzo Venetia.  The museum contents were so-so, but the building itself was magnificent!

After that, I got back on my tour bus (one of those hop on hop off ones) and did a full circuit on the top deck (I was stuck downstairs at the start of the day).  That was fun… a bit hot, but fun.  Then I went and found the Lush shop to buy some shampoo and conditioner (can’t beat it, and it’s animal friendly too), walked to the Spanish Steps only to find they were closed and sat on the kerb for a while because my legs were going wobbly and said they didn’t want to walk any more.


The Spanish Steps. Tourist-free, because they were closed for repairs and blocked off by a glass screen.

I decided it was Wine O’ Clock around then.

Eventually, the LSH came and joined me and we had a lovely meal in the Taverna Antonina.  Highly recommended.  Look it up if you’re in Rome.

The only ‘major’ tourist stop I had missed was the Pantheon and HEY PRESTO, our taxi driver took us past it on the way back to the hotel, so I can tick that one off too.

The next day, I went off to the Stadio Olimpico to watch some show jumping.  More about that next time.

PS Hello to Kate and Charles from NZ who promised to check out the blog.  We may be future business partners.  Someday😉



And the word of the week is…


Watering, with a spray or a hose.

Very relevant during times of drought.  The verb is arroser.  

Interesting fact – you know the thing with all the holes that’s stuck on the end of a watering can’s spout?  Gardening fans will know already that this is called a rose.  Now you know where this name comes from – arROSEr.

You’re welcome.

Arrosage of gardens and lawns has been banned since the end of June due to the drought.  We are now at drought level 3, and the poor farmers are faced with an arrosage ban too.

Farming here is very different to farming in Ireland, but it has its own challenges.

Salutation September

My week of Salutations was a Success!

Not only did I feel more supple by the end of the week, but I had much more energy, even by the third day.  I’m so pleased with the benefits that I’m going to do as I threatened and continue for the month of September.  I’ve already said this on my other social media outlets, but I know a couple of my blogging friends also practise yoga from time to time and I thought some of you might like to join in.

The idea is that on September 1st, we do a single sun salutation.  On the second we do two, the third we do three and so on all the way up to thirty on the thirtieth!  Gulp!  But the most important rule is THERE ARE NO RULES!  If you’re lying on the floor in a soggy heap after one salutation, that’s fine – aim to do one salutation per day for the month.  If you’re physically fit enough to do thirty (fair play!) but don’t have the time to do them all in one go at the end, that’s fine too – do a few whenever you can fit them in throughout the day.  This doesn’t have to happen at dawn, that’s just when I choose to do it.  Would you be worried about missing a day here and there? No problem – one salutation takes less than five minutes! Just do one to keep in touch and carry on as usual the next day.

If you feel moved to share what you’re doing – great!  Post on whatever social media channels you want, with the hashtag #salutationseptember.  You prefer to keep your personal exercise private? Also great! Maybe just leave a comment here or on Facebook at the end of the month saying that you participated.

Throughout my week of salutations, I posted a sunrise photo every morning on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  I think my friends are enjoying them… a few friends replied with equally beautiful sunset or sunrise photos, and then one lady in Sydney replied with this.


Wow! Stunning! Someday I will visit Australia…

So I will continue to post sunrise (or thereabouts) photos for the whole month.  These should be fun, because we’ll be in Italy for a few days next week and then we’ll be in Chamonix at the end of the month, so hopefully I will get some interesting early morning photos.

Will I be doing my last day of thirty salutations in Chamonix? Yes! And better still, not only are my two daughters taking part in #salutationseptember, but the LSH is going to have a go, too.  Watch out for thirty salutations from all four of us on a mountain top at the end of the month!