A map of Italy, with Rome highlighted

Rome, it's right in the middle, a great place to start.

Australia is a long way from everywhere. You don't realise how far it is until you're travelling somewhere else. Smart people break their trip half way to wherever they're going. I'm smart, but not smart enough and I'm always in a hurry to get where I'm going. A brief stop over in Abu Dhabi where I was reacquainted with the true but meaningless saying, 'Yes, but it's a dry heat'. When it's 43º C (110º F) hot is hot. Eventually I arrived in Rome. Not quite as hot, but hot enough. I had been studying Italian but discovered Italians don't speak slowly and enunciate with pauses between every word like the App training voices do. I had my instructions from my travel agent on how and where to get the train from the airport to central Rome. Yes, I still use a travel agent. I'll write about why in another post. I had already purchased my train ticket. Huge lines at the ticket

counter with a human interface made me try the ticket machine. They work well, but when it's hot and you're the only one who doesn't read Italian, it can be nerve wracking. But before I could get on the train I had to get out of the airport. Handsome Italian men in leather jackets wearing semi-automatic rifles with the insouciance only Italian men can muster were lounging near the exit. I had my bags. I had my train ticket. But could I leave? I had gone through a line where I told a customs officer that I was on holiday and visiting family. But no one asked if I was carrying any fruit or other edibles. I decided to approach the carefree Carabinieri, but as I approached they became less carefree. I had forgotten that Europe has been subject to terrorist style attacks for far longer than the rest of the world. They looked carefree but they were alert. They also…