Europe 1999 ???????????

Exercising democratic rights

Today, we had one simple mission: To cast a vote. The Victorian state election was on Saturday, and we’d decided that rather than vote at the airport on our way out of Australia, we’d explore Roma and find the local Australian Consulate and exercise our democratic rights there.

So we set out to find it, and sure enough on Via Alessandria, find it we did. At least, we found the Australian Embassy, and we told them "We’d like to vote in the Victorian election".

They sent us around the corner to the Australian Consulate. Perhaps one day somebody will explain to me what the difference is between an embassy and a consulate, but apparently there is one, at least where the Australian government is concerned.

So we found the Australian Consulate, got through the groovy mini automatic metal detector door thingy and told them "We’d like to vote in the Victorian election".

The nice Italian man behind the counter went through the paperwork with us to cast our vote, and then told us "Now your duty is done!"

For the rest of the day we simply explored. Looking for some green on the map, which might indicate a park where the kids could have a run around, we came across Villa Torlonia, a huge park with a few randomly located old buildings, statues, obelisks and a playground.

If they were in Australia, the National Trust would be jumping up and down at the state of the buildings. Hundreds of years old, they’re just left to rot, boarded up and left to the mercy of the elements, the vandals and the rats. Roma has got buildings ten times as old that they need to take care of.

We walked through the Villa, refilling our water bottles with deliciously cold water from a constantly running water fountain, one of hundreds in Roma. Then we found the playground and the kids acquainted themselves with some of the locals, giving L a chance to practice her Italian and me a chance to have a nice quiet rest.

We spent the rest of the day exploring a bit, not finding anything special, but roaming around just taking in the atmosphere of the place.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.