Rome was amazing - it is difficult to describe the sense of awe you feel as you walk around the ancient city which is just packed full of history. The rugby match was fairly average and England were lucky to win but the rest of our time was spent wandering around the city and marvelling at how well preserved their ancient buildings were - we walked around the Colosseum which was built in AD 72 it was beautifully designed and could seat 55,000 spectators with 80 entrances. It has four storeys, with cages around the bottom for the wild animals - Their idea of a good Saturday afternoon's entertainment was to throw a few criminals in the centre of the arena and let out the lions which would tear them apart - a little extreme perhaps....they would also have gladiators fighting the lions and thousands of them, both animals and humans would be killed. Incredibly barbaric. On Sunday we took the open topped bus around the city and decided to get off at the Vatican - We got into St Peters Square and were surprised at how many people were standing in the square just looking up at a window to the right of the basilica -There was what looked like an old carpet hanging from it. Suddenly everyone gasped and an old fellow dressed in a white gown with a little white cap on his head came into sight - it was (apparently) the Pope!! He then proceeded to give a long speech in Italian, after which he also said a few words in five different languages including English. He had a beautiful gentle voice and although I'm not exactly an avid fan of the Pope it was quite special to hear and see him and our timing was perfect!
Rome had its first snow for 26 years and in the evening we would all meet up for a meal and then have the best snow ball fights on our way back to the hotel. Our group were all farming connected and there was some great characters amongst them.
On our last day we finished off the open topped bus ride and then got a guided tour around the Vatican - The Sistine Chapel was possibly the highlight and astonishing to think that it took Michelangelo nine years to paint the ceiling. It was impressive.
We left at lunchtime vowing to come back and see the things we have missed. There are so many things to see and more time is needed.
When we got back to the UK we were relieved to see that the ground had thawed a bit and we were able to work the horses today. We had to be very careful as due to the cold weather, and not getting as much work into them as they are used to, this can cause 'tying up' Jess and Whisper both tied up on Friday and Cyril today, so we are not running anything this week-end as Will thought they hadn't done enough work so I didn't enter anything, although Moonie may go on Sunday to Chaddesley as Sally had already entered her - we will play it by ear.