The Retirees Go Abroad – Closed Mondays


We have been really blessed with the weather. Overnight it has been very gusty with storms in some places but the wind has cleared the clouds leaving an azure blue sky and a throbbing Sun promising another warm day.

Breakfast has been the same all week – cereal (corn flakes or corn flakes), juice, sugary pastries, bread and ham, bread and condiments, a toast type biscuit, coffee (or at least it was advertised as such) and tea. Not a lot to choose from but we are travelling on a budget and we will make up for choice during the day. Even so the biscuits pack easily into your back pack and are tasty to fill in during the day. So each day we have grabbed some packets of these biscuits and a bottle of water (don’t forget the water fountains in Rome).

Our plan today was to visit two museums at Repubblica; Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Massimo and Museo Nazionale Romano Terme Di Dioclezino. The National Roman Museum is a museum, with several branches in separate buildings throughout the city of Rome, Italy. We were looking to visit the two at Repubblica – The Baths of Diocletian, which currently houses the Epigraphic and the Proto-historic sections of the modern Museum, while the main collection of Ancient Art which is currently housed in the nearby Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. For more on the National Museums of Roman a visit to will be helpful.

We caught the bus and metro as usual alighting at Repubblica (the next stop from Terminii). Once again directions by street sign was hopeless. The most obvious entrance to one of the Museums appeared to be a church. How did I know it was a church – it had a bloody great big cross and a beggar out front (the beggar was the giveaway). The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs (Bascilica Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri) is a church built inside the Baths of Diocletian in the Piazza della Repubblica. When we entered the first thing I saw was this sign “Shorts not permitted”. Well of course I was in shorts, so Kerry ventured on.

As I stood beside the front door a tour group came through the door and some of the men were in shorts like me. One fellow immediately engaged the tour guide in conversation and from the gestures it concerned the shorts he was wearing and the sign greeting them as they entered. The tour guide was trying to explain presumably why she did not warn them when a girl probably in her early twenties wearing a pair of shorts that rode up her arse, exposing the cheeks of her bum entered the church. The tour guide pointed her out and although I don’t understand German/Dutch (which ever), she seemed to be identifying that the sign referred to those types of shorts. With that she called to this young woman who when turning displayed the pockets of her shorts hanging below the leg of the shorts and a very large “camel toe” in the crotch of her shorts. She was oriental and did not understand German/Dutch/Italian or English and continued to walk into the church oblivious of the sign and probably quite proud to display her arse and camel toe. It always happens when you have not got the camera ready.

By the time I had witnessed this short pantomime, Kerry had returned speaking about the glory of the church. I asked her if she had observed the “shelia with the camel toe” but she had no idea what I was talking about so we moved on to find the museums.

We decided on the direction to walk based on our tourist map (they are all sooo vague) and ended walking around the block (in sight of the Terminii station – I reckon I could throw a ball from one to the other station) to find the gate to Museo Nazionale Romano Terme Di Dioclezino (the Baths of Diocletian) closed on Mondays. So we moved on to stumble across Museo Nazionale Romano – Palasso Massimo just across the road – closed on Mondays. Aargh!

What do we do now? Consult the map! Map in hand we moved along Via Nazionale to be harassed by a street vendor selling tickets to an Opera. We took the leaflet with plans to visit the theatre presenting the show to see if we wanted to book tickets – only 30 euros each. We consult the map. Change of plan let’s find the main Opera theatre for Rome. We are standing on the corner of Via Nazionale and Via Firenze when we come to this momentous decision and where is the Opera – the intersection of Via Torino, Via Del Viminali and Via Firenze walking distance from Terminii and in the path to Museo Nazionale Romano – Palasso Massimo. So we walk around to Teatro Dell’Opera Di Roma and Rigoletto is opening on October 21, the night before we fly out of Rome. Perfect so we enquire about the tickets at the ticket office. Sure thing we can have tickets starting price up in the nose bleeds is 85 euros, to 150 euros in the boxes. We settle for 2 seats in the right wing on the floor of the theatre. All I can think is that my Dad (a great fan of opera) would be so jealous.

Stumped as to what else I want to do that day Kerry slips in the “shopping expedition”. She has found a shopping tour to a designer outlet. I will give you the web site but here is what it says:

“At Castel Romano Designer Outlet, you can find your favourite designer brands at up to 70% off, all year round. Our beautiful setting, cafes and restaurants, children’s play area, parking and more than 140 boutiques, we offer something for everyone. We have a wide range of stores, ranging from iconic fashion brands like Valentino, Roberto Cavalli, Lacoste and Michael Kors to athletic labels, like Nike and Adidas, and casual favourites, like Guess and Diesel.”

“Castel Romano Designer Outlet, is located just 25 km from the centre of Rome, in the heart of Agro Pontino. It is close to the Tyrrhenian coastline, making it the perfect destination in summer for a day of sun, sea and shopping. The Castel Romano roundtrip shuttle bus service runs every day from the city centre of Rome. ” And it is just 13 euros. As I said I will share the web site so here it is:

Well the trip takes about an hour and if you have tired feet and a bountiful wallet (or in my case a tight fist on the wallet) then for 13 euros each it provides an interesting trip through the Rome that does not excite tourists – the commercial districts. We arrived and it felt like we had gone to a shopping village on the Gold Coast except they spoke Italian. Even the developer seemed un-Italian – McArthur Glen. It certainly has everything to cure you of a shopping itch and some nice eateries as well. So we idled away the afternoon and I got some interesting shots of some of the street furniture.

On the trip home Kerry was determined to get a photo of a building with a heliport on it as it also appeared to have a huge solar panel beside the heliport. I got the giggles and she got her photo.

She also scratched her itch.

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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.