On my first full day in Rome, I woke to the sound of rolling thunder and pouring rain. Nooo. Sigh. Bloody hell. The thing is, rain is fine(ish) in and of itself (apart from my previously mentioned Rain Hair), but taking photos in the rain is a whole other pain in the neck (almost literally, what with trying to hold an umbrella between my head and my shoulder whilst shooting and all). Anyway, I got ready, ate breakfast by a window overlooking some ruins (I was always up early, and so claimed that table for the rest of my stay :)), and asked the friendly concierge guy for an umbrella. Of course, the Hotel Umbrella was enormous, as Hotel Umbrellas often are. And, as I was to soon discover in between downpours, the damn thing wouldn't latch closed, and kept springing open unless wrapped very tightly (in the end I took it back to the hotel and bought myself a small umbrella with cats all over it).
But all of that is beside the point, as my rambling often is. So that morning, I made my way over to the Vittorio Emanuele II monument, also known as the Altar of the Fatherland, as well as - slightly less impressively - the "wedding cake" and "typewriter." Oh, and fun fact: it is the largest monument ever created in white Brescia marble. I had visited it a couple of times before, but had never gone to the top, so that was one of my missions for the day. I bought my ticket and entered a rather spiffy-looking glass elevator. The operator - an older gentleman - peered at me and asked "where are you from?" When I replied "Australia," his eyes widened and he was all "OHH! Skippy kangaroo!" (I tell you, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo [check out the opening credits!] must have had some fabulous marketing; the very next day, I had an almost identical encounter with a guy dressed as a gladiator near the Colosseum). And so the whole way up, it was "Skippy kangaroo! Skippy kangaroo!" I wasn't really sure how to respond after the first few times, so I just kept smiling away.
The view from the top of the monument was really beautiful. Church bells rang throughout the city (it was a Sunday morning) and the smell of the recent rain lingered in the air. I stayed up there for awhile, taking the city in - I have a thing for rooftops! (plus, to quote a random, er, quote I saw the other day: I wonder how many places I've already visited for the last time? That sentiment is always on my mind when I travel). And incidentally, I love the stone pine trees dotted all over Rome. They're so ... you know, Roman.
And then, I headed back over to the elevator to continue on my way. And of course, my elevator friend greeted me with "ah, Skippy kangaroo ...!" Yep, that's me! :)
All photographs © Natasha Calhoun