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It’s so nice to be back home in warmer weather but I did have THE best time in frosty Rome. Ever. Connected all sorts of dots and feeling that I’m starting to know Rome like a Roman.

I’ve even experimented with a new language technique. Romans seem to say Allora every 45 seconds, habitually. Yet I noticed people like me who have some Italian as a second language never do. So to fit in more, like a native so to speak, I started yodelling  the odd Allora here and there. It seemed to work quite well as I got lot’s of smiles from the populusque Romanum.

We explored everything from Hot Pimms toddys in the many local wine bars of Trastevere to the damp and claustro catacombs along the Appian Way (although I must say that St Sebastian, poor bloke, was looking a little the worst for wear).

It is amazing how oppressed people always seem to start tunnelling. The catacombs reminded me of the the Viet Cong, during the American War in Vietnam, who tunnelled everywhere. At Cu Chi their tunnels were massive and stretched for 120 kms including going under a US air base. That’s tunnelling outside the square!

catacomb1D’you know, I was expecting to see lots of bones everywhere in the catacombs but they were bereft. Not a bone in sight. Jeez. Apparently the Christian pilgrims were also pious pilferers with a rather laissez-faire attitude towards the 8th commandment.

They quite liked to take home a martyr’s ribcage or collarbone collection for the mantlepiece.

After a few centuries of rampant bonelifting the Vatican finally had to act. They gathered up all the left-overs and put them into proper relic storage. I was a bit put out. I detected a definite dip in the customer service. I mean, what’s a catacomb without a bone or two? I felt like sniffing out the Complaints Department and asking for my entrance-fee returned but then Franky told me gently, “Just take your medication”.