Saturday, December 5, 2009

A rainy week in Frascati

Traveling to Italy is always something I look forward to, be it work or vacation. As soon as I landed in Rome, I had a great cappuccino for just 1 euro when I would have paid almost thrice as much for something that mildly tasted like one, in Germany. I was struggling with my laptop, rucksack and a huge suitcase while climbing some stairs and in a span of 5 minutes, 2 people offered to carry it for me (Although I refused, I still like being asked :D!) and again I struggled the same way in Munich with no one even giving me a second look (To be fair to Germans, its more a question of independence than chivalry).

This time I was going to Frascati, a small town, about 20 km away from Rome (No wonder it took me almost the same time to get from Rome to Frascati as from Munich to Rome !) and it is a science town since it houses the European Space Agency.

Being back in Rome after 4 years brought back lots of memories. The metro was, as always, unbelievably crowded and I had to cling to my items since pick pockets in the Rome metro are quite skilled! Then when I got into a taxi, there is the Italian driver talking non-stop although he knows I don't have a clue of what he is talking about ! Whenever I understand a word, I will nod and say ''Si'' and he will break into a huge grin :D ! And all this while he is driving, paying no attention whatsoever, to the speed limits and doing things that could get his license banned for 2000 yrs had he tried that in Germany !

Then there is the really warm welcome at the hotel reception, where not only questions are answered with a lot of patience but you also get a load of extra information that you know you will never use :) ! I got in at 3:30 pm and was starving since I had neither had a decent breakfast nor lunch. The guy at the reception says the hotel restaurant is closed and so are the others in the vicinity but he will call the chef and get him to make something for me - that's Italian hospitality combined with the importance they attach to food, very similar to desis and quite hard to come by anywhere else in Europe!

Frascati boasts of a number of villas that were built in the 16th century by the noble men and aristocrats from Rome. Even today, it is a popular destination for a weekend get-away from Rome, even for the Italians or for a day-trip, in case of tourists. Since I was neither, and was stuck with work, I just got a few glimpses from the car. But on the day I was to leave, I resolved to start early (and since I hate getting to the airport a few minutes earlier than the when the flight begins boarding !) and spend an hour looking around.

The weather refused to cooperate, it had rained all week and on the last day, it rained even more....oh...well, I walked around in the city centre, wrapped in my jacket and with a sturdy umbrella ! I enjoyed it and all along kept wondering how much more beautiful everything would look on a bright and sunny day....I was told it has carnivals, wine festivals and is a very good place to visit, in summer and spring. So, if you are in Rome, take a break from the queues in front of the Colosseum or from the crowded Fontana di Trevi area and visit Frascati. I know I would....
Hit Counter
Website Hit Counter I had decided to have a counter only after I hit a 1000 views and since it happened last week (as on 14 Dec 2009), now is the time to see some stats :)