Monday, 20 September 2010

Ode to Rome

Sorry I haven’t written for a while.
I’ve been grieving.
The pain began as soon as I left Rome.
What a beautiful city. What history. What fantastic men in fantastic suits driving down the cobble stoned streets on their Vespas.
We arrived at the five star Baglioni Hotel after a killer journey from Bogotá (all courtesy of Peroni).
Our double bed turned out to be a twin, the toilet was broken and there was no hot water.
This was great news since we were promptly upgraded to an executive suite.
Ah, what luxury. The kind that would make you feel slightly ill if you thought about it.
We had a private city tour with a very knowledgeable and good-humoured guide and had our own driver, Lorenzo, who drove us around the capital in a spotless silver Mercedes.
He collected us from the Olympic Stadium after we watched Lazio versus Bologna, and waited for us while we had lunch.
For a special evening, the concierge booked us into an exquisite restaurant with a view over the city.
Luckily my lady’s menu had no prices or I wouldn’t have been able to order a slice of bread.
It was our pre-honey moon and we clinked our glasses of prosecco and wished ourselves a happy marriage!
On day four, Peroni’s promise had been fulfilled and it was time to leave the hotel that had housed royalty and head to slightly more humble lodgings.
The porter took our luggage out to the entrance.
“Shall I call you a car, Sir?” he asked.
“Oh no, our friends are waiting for us down the road,” my Fiancé lied.
One feels compelled to keep up appearances in places like the Baglioni.
We couldn’t possibly admit that we were walking our bags by ourselves to a three star hotel.
Rome was heaven even without the fancy bottles of body lotion and chocolates on our pillows.
I fell in love with the ancient skyline and the wonderful hues of burnt umber, terracotta and olive green.
I’d never seen such elegant pine trees and I thought of my Mum, who in the past had used up whole films on snaps of trees rather than of us lot on holiday.
We walked until our legs ached and then walked some more.
I bought one half of Rome and admired the other.
A few more weeks and I’d have been posing as a silver-painted cowgirl with a money pot in front of me.
I may be gone now but my absence is temporary.
I threw a coin in the Fontana di Trevi which means my return is assured!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Yoga and Beer

I used to think Yoga was just a relaxed roll-about on the floor.

A bit like taking a nap on your special mat in nursery.
I wasn’t going to do it because it obviously didn’t involve any sweating.
Then my shoulders started to ache a lot and I worried I was getting arthritis.
“You should do yoga,” the masses advised me.
So I did and I was shocked to find it was the most physically challenging exercise I’d ever done in my life.
Every stretch made my body cry out ‘I’m not meant to be doing this!’
Despite the pain, I’ve taken it up here in Bogotá and I love it.
It’s a two hour session but the teacher always tries to waste a bit of time at the beginning explaining what yoga is.
I mean to arrive late to miss the talking but then I tell myself it’s good for me.
While I’m thinking I’ve heard it all before I’m probably missing something key.
I like the sound of the positions in Spanish, especially Guerrerro* 1 (*Warrior) and Guerrero 2.
With legs firmly on the ground, arms stretching out at each side, eyes focused ahead and Indian music playing in the background, there is a moment where I think I’m Arjuna (from the Mahabharata).
A whole enemy army awaits me but I am not afraid.
That’s what happens when you inhale and exhale deeply with every movement.
It goes to your head.
You just don't get such brilliant illusions on the treadmill.
The melodic music, which could be from Bollywood for all I know, gives the class a special feel.
It’s not the same when the teacher’s ipod selects some wishy-washy version of a film sound track.
That happened last week and I was distracted from my Guerrerro positions because I was trying to guess what film it was from.
The soppy English lyrics killed off any spiritual element there might've been.
I wanted to ask him if he’d please change it but being half British it really goes against my genes to make a fuss.
Luckily it swapped back to the Indian chant.
My favourite bit about my yoga class is at the end when the teacher comes over and rubs tiger balm over my nose.
It stings a bit but it smells delicious and I feel myself drifting to sleep.
Pity I can’t go next week.
But not too much of a pity because I’ll be in Rome!
The Fiancé won the trip in a Peroni raffle. I’ve never been to Italy before so I’m very excited.
Yoga and Beer.
Happiness is about finding that balance.
I’ll tell you how it goes.
Until then… Arrivederci!