Inadvertently continuing my recent topic of imaginative ways to be mugged, I have just returned from a trip to Rome.
My incredibly kind parents thought that taking the freeloaders and me away on a European adventure would be a swell way to celebrate my 40th birthday and so, clutching our Euros and factor 30, we excitedly set off in the direction of the eternal city.
I would be lying if I said that Rome doesn’t have a lot of cool stuff to look at. There are fountains, paintings, churches, basilicas (bigger churches), museums packed to the rafters with ancient knick-knacks and loads and loads of really old piles of rock that used to be villas and temples (and that).
However, having spent four days dealing with the native skulduggery rife in this much lauded city, I have to confess that I would be somewhat less than astonished if by the weekend, a new Bernini sculpture hasn’t sprung up in the middle of the bus station. The current state of disrepair into which the Forum Romana has fallen probably has less to do with the ravages of time than it has to do with having, at some point recently; been broken up and sold off for parts.
Pausing innocently for refreshment at a bar near the Vatican (mention no names, but it’s dead opposite the entrance to the museum) we were asked to pay a whopping nine pounds for a cup of coffee – nine pounds!
Our total bill came to fifty four pounds for three cups of coffee, two soft drinks and an ice cream. The opportunity for me to take a photo of Annabelle with a gladiator: that’ll be twenty five quid please.
Taxi to the nearby metro station: five quid on the meter for the people but on arrival the shocking discovery that unbeknownst to us, transportation of our two wheelie suitcases came to an additional fifteen quid.
As a result of their kind gift, my parents are now fiscally reduced to shuffling along a pavement somewhere in their bathrobes and as for me; well I’m definitely not saying that all purveyors of goods and services to the tourist industry in Rome are robbing bastards, that would be both slanderous and rude.
Nope, I’m sure we were just unlucky.