Sunday, 14 March 2010

Rugby in Rome

A Month Ago Today

On Valentines Day last month I travelled down to Rome to watch Italy vs England at rugby. It turned out to be not the most enthralling of games; England won but it was a bit of a kick-a-bout really.

We drove down in Jim's RV. Their were six of us; my brothers Dale and Keith as well as Hughie and Eric and Jim himself. Both drives took about 24hrs each. On the way down we left in snow, drove all the way through snow and arrived in snow. Apparently this was the first snow to fall in Rome for 26 years. I slept most of the way but did wake up once to see Dale driving through a snow storm in the Vosges somewhere. Visibility was down to a few yards and he had his nose frozen to the windscreen!


As is usual on these trips we did no sightseeing. not for us the glories of Rome. We concentrated on the insides of pubs and bars and barely found time to feed ourselves.

On the first evening of our arrival it took some time to find a campsite to park the RV. Our first attempt saw us drawing up outside a fancy house which was almost a castle. They were non too pleased to see and we scarpered sharpish. Our second place was closed, as was our third place, but the fellow here kindly range up another place to ascertain that it was open. The place was pretty smart too and fairly close to town. Only a bus and metro ride away.

I didn't go out on this first evening feeling too out of it to bother so I can't comment on the shenanigans that went on.

The next morning we woke to a fine sunny morning with no further sign of snow. After showering in the facilities on site we sat around in the sun rather than wander into town. Pretty soon the beers were cracked open and we started on the day's business. Later I wandered across the road to a supermarket and rustled up some pasta and pesto with salad for lunch.

Later we hopped into town via two buses and pretty soon found ourselves a cafe to sit outside in the sun with a couple of beers. Eventually we wandered around to another bar and watched the Wales vs Scotland game. Unbelievable as Scotland capitulate and Wales steal the game in the last ten minutes.

Even later we end up in an Irish bar to meet some other lads from our village and pick up our tickets for the game tomorrow. It's possible that another game was on the TV here but I have no recollection of it. We jumped a couple of taxis to get us back to the campsite.

On the day of the game we woke to a day which was not as sunny as yesterday. A bit chilly. After cooking up breakfast in the RV we got ourselves together to get to the match. We got to the metro and jumped off at Flaminio. Maybe we went into town first and watched another game. Who can remember? We probably had a few beers. Anyway at the Flaminio Metro stop we had a few more beers and acquired some fancy hats. begged or borrowed or stolen? We then took the long walk to the ground following the streams of people going the same way (obviously) and stopping for a beer on the way.

We take our seats at the game, grab a beer, and watch a tiresome display of aerial ping-pong. It's a pity Italy can't take advantage of a woeful England and they just scrape a victory.

On the way back we avoid the crowded Metro by stopping off for beers. Then later, in town, it's back to the Irish bar for more. And probably some more too.

The next morning we are up and away for our long journey home. Another long drive through the heart of Italy, up past the lakes and through the Alps to Switzerland, briefly into Germany and then into France where the route has to crisscross the snow-covered Vosges. This part is the trickiest and we have to back-track at least once before finally reaching the road that will lead across northern France and Calais. We have to wait a while for a ferry but arrive back in the UK in the early morning and get back to the village, after dropping off Dale, at about 6am. I sleep the rest of the day.