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Getting Ruined in Rome

ITALY | Monday, 5 February 2018 | Views [231]

We slept well, got up around 8AM, worked on the blog and enjoyed some eggs for breakfast. We had a general plan to go to the Vatican so we got all ready and headed out. Along the way we started noticing a lot of police blocking off the intersections; car honking their horns. After a couple minutes we noticed a helicopter followed by a motorcade. We saw the Turkish flagged cars flash past and we started to remember something about it. Apparently, the President of Turkey, Eurdogan, was in town for a visit with the Pope; our luck! We decided to press on to the Vatican but the security was nuts.

 

Giving up on the plan, we headed back to our hotel and onward to the Colosseum.

We climbed the steep steps of the Palazzo Nuovo, located on the back side of the national monument, Altar of the Fatherland. Happily, it was quite sunny, warm and a nice contrast to the weather that was forecast.

 

One tip we read online was to buy tickets before you get to the Colosseum. The lines for ticket at the Colosseum are longer than security line. After a quick chat with a security guard, we were pointed to another small archeological site; an old jail. For an extra 8 Euros (20 Euros), we could buy tickets to the entire area; valid for 2 days. When we eventually arrived to the Colosseum we were happy to avoid the very long ticket line. Score!

 

We descended toward the Roman Forum, an area full of ruins. It was incredible to see and envision ancient city. We enjoyed walking around in the footstep of the ancients.


 

Leaving the Roman Forum area we stopped at a small vendor who appeared to be painting some really cool art. It was a convincing rouse; he had a display of paints, but he was only signing the backs. They were very nice, but we quickly noticed they were a bit too nice and probably mass produced. Throughout the rest of the day we saw the same art EVERYWHERE!

Arriving the Colosseum we were confronted with our first Italian tourist hell. The lines were huge, confusing and there were many people trying to sell “skip the line” tickets. Happily, the vendors were very honest and pointed us into the correct line; no line at all! Security gave Tim a hard time for his back-pack being too large but after taking out our jackets he was able to compress it enough to keep it.

The Colosseum is breathtaking! Like any modern stadium, you feel very small walking around the massive open area. It was easy to imagine the thousands of people that would have filled the area to see the Roman spectacles. It was, however, a bit difficult to picture what the space would have looked, where people would have sat, etcetera. The place clearly is a 'ruin'; missing the stage and all the infrastructure for the seat. As we also know, half the third level is missing.

 

We stopped at a couple gift shops, a bit expensive but they had some unique Roman things that we could not pass up; especially the coins.

After about and hour, we had enough of the Colosseum. We continued to explore the old city, stopped at many ruins along the road. We were getting hungry, but found it a bit frustrating to try to decide on a restaurant; all pretty simple food, but rather expensive. We decided to have a wine and cheese picnic!

After a quick stop at the Trevi Fountain, beautiful but seriously overcrowded, we headed to the Pantheon. Our second visit to the area was much busier, but interesting! Many buskers were performing for the crowds, filling the little square with music, singing and aw-inspired tourists. Very interesting square to people watch and enjoy the spectacles.

The Pantheon, meaning 'common to all gods' is a large domed Roman temple, now an active church. The building was the largest domed building; the original being built around 20 BCE, and after a fire was rebuilt around 120 AD. There is a small opening at the top to allow natural light to fill the space. Although it is an interesting building, it is a church, and we felt very much like tourists and quickly moved along.

We ducked into many little souvenir shops, some interesting stuff. It was the coffee and pastry shops that made us make a stop; yummy macchiatos!

 

We went back to the apt, ate a bit of cheese, meat, focaccia, tiramsu and some nice wine.

 

We ventured out for our final adventure of the day; Vatican city, go around. The St Peter's Square is beautifully lit at night and virtually deserted; a nice change from the days crowds.

 

One final stop for a rest at the local McDonalds, Tim was curious about the quality of coffee. I got a coffee sundae and Tim and Al had decaf macchoatos; surprisingly delicious.

 

We then headed back to the apt, chatted for a bit and called it a night. I took a few minutes before bed to call Mom and Dad back home to let them know we are doing great.

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