Monday, October 10, 2005

Euro Trip - day #2; Rome

What a beautiful day! When we checked the weather before we left it looked like we were going to be rained on in Rome…not today! Beautiful clear blue skies. We woke up about 7:30am, got ready and headed down to the lobby for breakfast. Salami sandwich with cheese for Dustin, and a sweet roll for Jen. Then our journey began. We found a supermarket right across the street from our hotel, and bought some bottled water. They had “naturale” and “fizzamente”. We bought one of each because we really couldn’t tell if there was carbonation in the “fizzamente”…boy were we wrong! About half way through the day we just tossed that bottle (half empty).

Our first stop was the Colosseum, it was almost a mile walk or so. We found someone giving tours in English (more likely they found us), it was an extra 8 euros each….but turned out to be well worth it. We got lots of history info, and we didn’t have to wait in the LONG LINE to buy tickets. We learned that only 1/3 of the original Colosseum stands today. The Romans took apart the other 2/3 to use the materials for other buildings. Right outside the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, very nice, lots of detail. A short walk later we toured the Roman Forum (no not Vegas style). Lots of old buildings with columns, arches, and domes. By this time we were getting hungry, about 1pm. Leaving the Forum we walked through the Plaza for Campidoglio. There were some nice fountains (Jen made friends with some pigeons), and a huge statue with a man on a horse (which seems to be quite common in Europe). A group of students were getting a lesson from their professor….we are so glad to be done with school!

Remember the big white building that looked like Caesar’s Places we caught a glimpse of yesterday? It is actually a monument for the “unknown soldier”. After WWI they buried an unknown soldier at this site and the building was dedicated for the reason. The building was originally built in 1890 for the king of Rome. We walked around….we weren’t as interested in Italian war stuff as much as we are interested in American war stuff.

It is now 2pm and we are still starving and have to use the bathroom! We jumped into a restaurant, ordered some diet coke (4.5 euros a glass!) and Dustin had lasagna (wasn’t very good…very bland), Jen had ham and cheese calazone (very yummy)…Jen attempted to use the restroom…but after waiting in line for 10 minutes, they closed it to be cleaned….apparently there wasn’t any toilet paper either. Jen held it.

Now that we were re-energized, we set out for the “sacred area” which turned out to be old ruins in a park area. They had it fenced in so people couldn’t explore. We did count at least 10 cats just lounging about on the ruins. The cats in Rome are bigger than US cats…they look beefier. Next Jen snuck into a pizzeria to use the bathroom. But same story…no toilet seat and no toilet paper. She couldn’t hold it….we grabbed napkins from the tables and she just hovered….mission accomplished.

Next stop Pantheon. Now this place was cool. All the famous kings and artists were buried here. A magazine vendor next door had an Italian Maxim…Dustin purchased it for his collection. Just down the street was the plaza Navona. It was a big open courtyard with three fountains (one of the fountains was being repaired/restored). There were lots of art vendors in the courtyard displaying their work. We found a lovely little piece for us. On khaki canvas , this man painted the Colosseum in black and white. We bought it to remember our trip by. There were lots of “freak shows” (that’s what Dustin kept calling it)…people standing in costumes and when you put coin money in their cans they would do something. We got some pictures and watched for a bit on a bench.

We tried to make our way home, but got a bit lost and ended up at “Spanish Steps”…a site that was on our list to do sometime. Unfortunately it was under construction, so they had the whole thing covered up so we couldn’t see anything. Now we trekked back to the hotel probably a 2 mile walk (bringing our daily total to 6 miles or more!). We had to rest a bit at our hotel and massage our feet…they hurt!

The desk man at the hotel referred us to a great little restaurant down the street, it looked like and old castle. The owner was at the door to greet us and took us through he restaurant and kitchen to the outdoor patio to eat….they even had a guy playing the guitar and singing while we ate. Dustin ordered king prawn and it came with the head, eyes and tentacles. He had fun tearing them apart and telling Jen he was going to suck the juice out of the head. We ordered tiramisu for dessert and it was the best we have ever had! It was homemade with lots of cream and chocolate mousse with very little espresso.

No comments: