Arriving in Rome for my second visit was just as exciting as the first. We were met at the airport by Laura from 34U and driven straight to our hotel to unpack and get ready for the next day’s class. There was lots of talk of snow, but there were no signs of it that evening.
Saturday morning was the first workshop – Pretty Flower Posy. A few students had arrived early so there was time to chat with some familiar faces and new ones too. We had a baby accompanying one of the mums, and I must admit to feeling a little twinge of broodiness! I got to have a cuddle when she became a little restless (bit of a bonus for me!) so mum could get on with her decoration. When it started to snow later in the afternoon there was great excitement. I must admit Lindy and I were a little puzzled as it wasn’t a lot of snow really! We were then enlighted to the fact that it hadn’t snowed in Rome for 25 years – what a welcome for us! A couple of students decided to leave a little before the end of the workshop so they wouldn’t get stuck in Rome, but they had worked quickly so had finished cakes to take with them.
Our hosts had arranged to take us out for dinner that evening and were desperately trying to get us a taxi into Rome. After a lot of talking and hand waving, we managed to get a taxi to come and pick us up. All the panic and excitement about the snow became a little more clear as we drove. There were no gritters and the snow was falling more heavily. We did have a wonderful time at a trendy pizza restaurant with Cristina from 34U and Angela, one of the students who attended that day and who we know from old as she had visited us on one of our workshops here in Buckinghamshire last year (Angela owns a wonderful B&B in the village of Vejano, Tuscia – about 50 minutes from Rome). It was getting very cold but a few glasses of really good red wine warmed us up nicely!
The next morning it was clear that Rome had really come to a standstill. There were no trains or buses, and the roads were quite dangerous. It wasn’t looking good for our second workshop, Mini Cutwork Cakes. We had two students arrive by about 10.30 and were expecting one other a little later on. Although this was disappointing we did have an enjoyable day as the ladies from 34U and myself were able to have a “play day” and decorate some cakes.
I tried my hand at piping, which I haven’t done much of before. I was a little apprehensive, but really REALLY enjoyed it and, though I say it myself, thought I did pretty well! It was great fun.
That evening we again managed to get into Rome and have a lovely meal with Cristina – more red wine!
Unfortunately Sunday’s class was cancelled – transport was a little better, but students were worried about getting back home after the workshop, so decided to play safe and not attend. This gave Lindy and I a chance to do a little paperwork and pack the workshop equipment away. We had a hearty lunch with Laura, Laura and Cristina from 34U and their families and then Laura and Cristina took us into Rome. With gloves, scarfs and hats we trudged around Rome window shopping, Lindy managed to take some great photos and get lots of inspiration. We finished off our trip with a coffee in a very famous coffee shop – we were told “it’s the best coffee in Rome”, and it was pretty good!
Back to the hotel for an evening in, but not an early night! Lindy and I usually spend this time going over the workshops and put together new ideas for future overseas trips.
Monday was our sightseeing day. Last year when we visited we went to all the usual sights, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain. This year we decided to do some shopping and concentrate on a smaller area of Rome, the Campo Dei Fiori. We did start off walking through Vatican City. Lindy has visited this part of Rome before, but it was a first for me. Wow – it was huge. They were only just taking down the Christmas display in the square and someone had built a tiny snowman outside the Vatican building.
We moved on to investigate all the little alleyways and small independent shops. There were some fabulous workshops with artists working on paintings and sculptures. We had a cappuccino and pastry in a tiny cafe, “Barnums”, which had a circus theme. More browsing, and finally into a square with a busy market. Colourful fruit and vegetables, pasta, olive oil and vinegars. We had to try the Balsamic vinegar and found a lovely lady who let us taste vinegars that ranged from 2 to 50 years old! We both bought oils, pasta and vinegar and then decided it was time for lunch. We found a cafe in the square and sat outside next to a huge heater and had a very simple lunch, simple but really tasty. Lindy finished with a cappuccino and they had made a flower on the frothy top. I opted for hot chocolate – I was expecting a mug of “Cadburys” style hot chocolate, but when it came out if was a cup full of (literally) hot chocolate. Lovely and rich but couldn’t quite manage the whole lot!
We found a great little workshop when a gentleman was making handbags (yes – what a find!!). I have been looking for a handbag for ages, so we popped in. I treated myself to a fabulous olive green bag. Lindy was looking but couldn’t find any colours she liked, so we moved on. On the way back to the train we spotted a small leather shop and dropped in. There were bags in all Lindy’s favourite colours, so now a decision was needed. Purple, pink, blue…. too much choice. Eventually Lindy went for a beautiful deep pink bag. While she was deciding I found a striking lime green purse – we needed to leave before I got too carried away! (You can never have enough …….) With our handbags in tow, we headed for the station.
That evening we had a farewell meal with all of 34U ladies and their families, it was a really nice way to finish our trip.
Tuesday morning we headed back to the airport for the journey home. Another trip completed. Quite different from usual with the snow, but very enjoyable.
Arrivederci Rome, hope to be back soon.