We made it to Rome. Finally!
Despite arriving in the middle of the night, I woke up super early (about 6:30AM). I forced myself to lay in bed for awhile but eventually just got up; figured I'd blog - which I did not, because Brycen and Logan were already up and milling around the apartment. It was actually nice to get to catch up with both of them. They updated me on all the functions of our temporary residence (including a theatre room!). We took a walk with Greg before Doug and Tanya got up to the store to grab breakfast and our Roma Pass, but nothing was open yet. So we grabbed breakfast with the rest of the group at the cafe downstairs. Worst breakfast ever.
|Overdone and burnt "omelet", weak toast.|
I give them credit for decent espresso, but the food - enought of that mess.
On to the Colluseum. Cause, you know, we're about 30 feet away from it. Oh my bad, I meant 30 metres. Shout out to Rick Steves recommending the Roma Pass. We literally had no line. It was weird walking past a 2+ hour line straight to the Colluseum entrance. Weird, but also totally bitchin. Why did the rest of these people not buy the Roma Pass?! Their 2+ hour line could have been a 2+ minute walk!
|Ruins are Sexy!|
|Kendra gettin in on the action.|
|Left: our apartment. Right: some old building or something.|
|Me and Tanya at the Romun Forumn. Awesome view!|
After the Roman Forum, Collisum, and Palentine, and a shitty pizza lunch from a local (tourist-trap) cafe by the ruins, we decided to walk home (30 metres!) and freshen up and rest.
Sightseeing continues - after our naps we decided to walk over to the Pantheon. In walking over, it was actually suprising to see all the ruins and ancient buildings interspersed with the rest of the city. They are, literally, all over Rome. To see the ruins integrated with modern buildings and restaurants is an interesting juxtiposition.
The Pantheon was neat. Oldest building still in use in Rome (I think).
|Outside the Panthon.|
|Me and Doug inside the Pantheon.|
The Pantheon has some pretty strict rules. No tennis outfits, no cameras with robotic legs, no hamburgers, no planking, no dogs, no doobies. Basically all the fun was stripped out of this historic monument. We bailed.
|"These lame-ass rules stink!"|
We were close to Piazza Navona so we headed over for some gelato (pretty good - coconut, chocolate, nutella, and coffee flavors) , a tartufo (super chocolaty, just OK), and to check out a cute touristy public market.
|Ancient Roman art of levitation.|
|Questionable expressions at this fountain.|
|The chocolate thing is a tartufo, and front and center is obligatory Italian gelato.|
We then headed to the Trevi Fountain. My pre-planning/pseudo tour guide skills failed me this time because the Trevi Fountain HAS NO WATER. WTF? I still threw in a few cents of Euro for good luck.
|I think my coin made it to a puddle on the upper pool.|
We're out of there. We walked a few blocks away to grab some dinner. The restaurant was not quite a tourist trap, not quite an authentic Italian dinner, but a good happy medium that was fulfilling, tasty, and appropriate for a rambunctious table of seven that was tired and hungry.
|Yes, we orderd a litre of the house wine. Yes, more than one. Yes, those are American teenagers. When in Rome! (<-- sorry - I had to say it!)|
|House made pasta (the only pasta made in house, according to the menu) with cheese and bacon.|
|Veal. Really, really good. We even got some bonus bone marrow - delish.|
|Roasted vegetables - tomato, squash, eggplant. Meh.|
|Our personal accordian player. So good it brought tears to Greg's eyes. Brycen had to stifle his cries.|
I'm sorry. Have I mentioned that we have a view of the Collisium from our apartment?
|This is outside of my bedroom window.|
One interesting thing in Rome (maybe Italy in general - TBD) is that almost all of the signs are in Italian AND English. It's very easy to navigate, it's easy to converse with the locals and the restaurants because nearly everyone speaks our language. It's the opposite of France. I'm not saying I prefer it, but it definitly makes for an easier foreign travel experience when people are able, and willing, to speak English with you. I did not experience this in France or Germany - as a result I haven't learned many "key" Italian phrases. Maybe that will change as we tour the country? Anyone else have a similar experience in Rome/Italy?