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Why you must always say yes to once in a lifetimers …

So six weeks prior, we were having Friday night drinks at Sue’s. In Bathurst. Australia. And I got talking to a visiting friend of hers who happened to have a three bedroom catamaran moored off the coast of Sicily. As you do. And he said “We’re struggling to find friends to do a leg up the Croatian coast.” and I blithely said “Well I’ll come.” And half an hour later in a similar conversation Steve said “Well I’ll come. Let’s go talk to Marg.” And Harrie said “She’s already in.” And Sue said “Well if you guys are going with my friends then I’d better come too.”

And that’s how, six weeks later, Sue, Steve and I found ourselves in Split.

Split marina

I should add that over Sunday morning breakfast we were bursting with dates and plans but by the Monday morning reality was biting – especially with final year exams looming for Darce – and I was ready to pull the pin.

Tooing and froing. Tooing and froing. Mother guilt aplenty.

Till Darce said “I’ll be fine. Go.”

And so we did, because this was a once in a lifetimer.

And you must always say yes to once in a lifetimers.

It’s the new rule.

Two nights in Rome and a 4am start for the quick hop to Split.

Beer for breakfast. Or is it dinner? Body clocks completely dismantled.

steve and a breakfast beer

Turquoise. Grey rocky mountains. A palm lined Riva. Drawing on the fisherman’s port. A guy in shorts steps up and pisses at the end of the pier. Steve gets talking to one of the fisherman. Turns out he’s from Perth. Spends his winters here. Sunset and the whole coastline turns pink. I mean pink. And I am sans camera. Blink and click. Blink and click.

An early rise. The soft marble of Diocletian’s Palace, the centrepiece of the city. A living labyrinth. Tiny laneways and alleys shooting off in every direction. Pergola’d cafes and restaurants. Smart shops. Public sculptures. An army of cleaners working on every surface. Rome could take note.

cleaning the palace

Diocletian's palace tower

Diocletian's palace clock

Diocletians palace, Split and cat

Diocletian's palace purples

palace blues

Fighting jet lag. Sleeping. Not sleeping. It took us a day to realise our little loft had a window. Interestingly, we had no trouble sniffing out the daily food market which was humming.

The old town Split

Squeezing in some quick little sketches.

Waiting for Steve… (on the Riva)

Waiting for Steve

Waiting for Sue… (outside the palace walls)

palace walls. Waiting for Sue

Still waiting for Sue … (just east of Split) (plane delayed)

still waiting for sue

A last walk along the Riva past the fisherman’s port.

Dragging bags still wincing from Rome’s cobblestones.

fisherman's port split

Fisherman's port

A successful rendezvous.

Ebullient. Excited.

Cast off.

leaving split

Croatia here we come!

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The problem with saying yes …

Is that you might find yourself in Rome.

Unexpectedly. Suddenly. Irresponsibly.

Walking a favourite walk.

At sunrise.

piazzalegaribaldi2

st peters rome

sunrise over rome

Away from the chaos of the city, just across the river, is our favourite corner of Rome, Trastevere. Above it – maybe a 25 minute walk up quiet early morning streets – is the Janiculum (Gianicolo) Hill, the site of a fierce battle in 1849 where Garibaldi and his make shift army defended the revolutionary Roman republic against pope-backed French forces.

Blood and roses.

Piazzale Garibaldi

Left over dreams?

Thanks but I think I’ll create my own.

asti

Last time in Rome, we kept finding ourselves returning to this spot, to Bar Gianicolo, a short stroll from Garibaldi’s monument, just outside the city walls.

bar gianicolo

They open at 6. The cornetti are warm. Grab a serviette and help yourself.

In the afternoon they serve up tiny panini full of delicious savoury fillings.

I love this place … 16,000kms away on the other side of the world in Australia, when I find myself thinking about Rome, this is where my day dreams take me.

bar gianicolo

…wandering down Via Garibaldi and the passaggio pubblico.

passage publico

Quietly. Softly.

shortcut

Home. To Trastevere. To the arched door on the right.

vicolo-del-leopardo

Discovering our feet are no match for the Roman cobblestones.

tired feet

This is what happens when you say yes.

Do you have a favourite corner of Rome?

We discovered a beautiful little spot to stay in Trastevere. Leo, turned out to be Elanora, and she was incredibly welcoming. Her ground floor studio apartment is in Vicolo del Leopardo, a quiet street one block away from the humming Via della Scala. This isn’t a sponsored link but if you’re like us you’re always looking for special little places to stay and this met our needs perfectly.

PS. Steve spied the shot of St Peter’s between the trees. Nicely spied indeed.

 

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but here …

I dream of turquoise, but here, I am surrounded by gold.

Piper Street Bathurst

I dream of far away adventures, but here, I have a little motley crew.

japanese maple

A colourful, crazy crew.

Friends.

maple

Friends who take me down different paths.

Piper Street Bathurst

Friends who hang by a thread.

terraces

Friends with shared histories

silver birches yellow

Solid.

architecture

Whimsy.

Vague and Funny.

plane tree

Each in their own way they leave their mark.

On me.

I dream of far away adventures, but here, I have community.

markmaking

I dream of the road,

but here, is where my heart feels full.

Where I belong.

Here and now.

For now.

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