We were heading back to Rome on the high speed train Freccia Rossa which meant a return to Napoli and Piazza Garibaldi. On our way to the platform I was befriended by a porter who I couldn’t shake off and I knew would want to be paid. Angela was furious, Cristian was ready to tell him to piss off and he followed us all the way to our seats and then demanded to be paid. He wasn’t happy when I put 1.70 euros in his hand and proceeded to lecture me on what a proper tip was. Well even Angela (in a not so angelic frame of mind) got stuck into him and he left in disgust.
We were met at Roma station by Angela’s cousins who were in shock with how much baggage we had and luckily one of them had a station wagon to pile all the bags in. The other cousin had had some car trouble and borrowed a CLS Mercedes from his brother in law so Cristian and I jumped in with him with Izzy and Angela relegated to the wagon. As we made our way out of Roma and all the memories of our previous visit came flooding back. Roma is a fantastic city of which I am totally in awe of but I would have to wait until the 11 of August until we would return to Rome. It was Cristian, Carmine (Angela’s cousins brother in law) and I travelling in this Merc flying along the autostrada listening to some local Roma radio station pumping out the pop music. We headed towards Latina with everyone on the road moving to the right to let us through I thought it must be the Merc or the plates because one of these guys was a driver for the President of Italia but no its just the way they drive they will flash or honk and the guy in front pulls right and you just barrel on through and this is on a single lane road. On the autostrada they only respect 2 lines the ones that mark the left and right edge everything in between is their domain and they use the whole lot! On our return trip to Rome it was dusk as we left Latina and we were absolutely flying using the whole 3 lanes, averaging 140km/h in an 80km zone and at one point it was a 50km zone. Even through Roma we were flying at 80 - 100km. They just have no concept of rules or limits! We drove back with Giancarlo, who is the Presidents driver and he travels at these speeds, along this road every day because that’s how they drive the politicians around with a police escort front and back and a military van with Special Forces.
Latina was fantastic the beach is just a few kms away but we chose to go to San Felice because they know the lady that runs the beach and have cut a deal on the use of the brolly and lounges. (This is how Italy operates, everyone does favours with very little handing over of cash. No wonder the country is in disarray).The beach is fantastic and has sand all the way to the water and beyond and we even had waves that you could almost bodysurf. We spent 2 of our 3 days at the beach it was just so relaxing that we would spend hours in the water just swimming and floating around, ball sports had been banned because of the number of complaints of balls hitting people sunbathing, Italia go figure! Angela’s cousin made us feel very welcome we had the bottom storey of their home to ourselves and their 3 cats, 4 dogs including little Spirlo who was a puppy they had just got and their daughter Noemi who made us laugh with her antics. They drove us around everywhere to see the sights and of course the magnificent beach and to visit the family.
It was sad to leave and Angela was a blithering mess before we even started to say goodbye which will also happen in Roma with her Auntie and cousin.
The kids are getting edgy and want to get home and even Angela has commented she is ready to get home and cook! I like Italia too much to leave and I don’t want to go back to work but I am itching to get on the bike and ride so I am resigning myself to the end of our incredible European sojourn.
It is time to head to Roma for the penultimate stop before arriving in Australia.