Back in in Blighty, back to the old Apple keyboard and back to my old style. I've left the mosquitos down there along with the involuntary plagiarism of Rachel.
You know how you get home and find your house smelling a bit strange - a smell which you hadn't noticed before through familiarity, but one which hits you as soon as you walk in the door?
Well I'm pleased to say that this did not happen to us. Either that or I have lost my sense of smell as well as proportion.
I'm not going to show you my holiday snaps, mainly because I didn't take any. Not one single selfie, unlike the thousands of others at the historical sites.
I'll tell you one thing which struck me as mind-blowing in scale, along with the other mind-blowing things that you are already aware of about Rome in particular and Italy in general.
If I had one penny for every ton of Travertine stone that has been - and still is - quarried and carved throughout the country and elsewhere, I would be one of the world's wealthy people. It is just EVERYWHERE, and in blocks so large that whole edifices are made - and are still being made - with individual units of around 5 tons each.
Pillars, window surrounds, street kerbs, floors, swimming pools - ton after ton after ton, still being quarried at Tivoli as it has been for 2500 years, and sent all over the world.
A lot of people have made a lot more than one penny a ton for it.
Quote from the Emperor Augustus:
I found Rome built of simple brick, and I left her clad in marble.
Not any more she isn't - it was all pulled off to build places like the Vatican. That's not all they had. 390 tons of bronze were taken from the roof of the portico to the Pantheon - just the portico - and melted down to make the 4 gigantic pillars which surround the main altar in S. Pietro. They even had enough left over for a few huge cannons.
Then the cannons were melted down to make two tombs for two Italian kings - and carted back to the Pantheon again where they still are.
It's the scale of it all which lingers in your mind.
Aliums & Aquilegia - It's my birthday next Friday. I will be 56 years old. Even without a calendar I know I'm almost there because the alliums and aquilegia have just flowered...
8 hours ago