A step back in time to ancient Rome
Apr 16, 2010
Aug 31, 2010
Our camp grounds are a little way out of the city, so I had to catch a bus and train. My first stop for the morning was the Colosseum. It was so incredible walking out of the metro station and it was right there, smack bang in front of you. I walked the entire way around before even taking out my camera because I just couldn’t believe I was standing there. Unfortunately there was a trade union strike so it was going to be closed until midday so I walked towards the Roman Forum. On the way I was bombarded with the guys dressed as gladiators trying to get photos taken. I couldn’t help but laugh thinking what they would write down as their profession – gladiator impersonator! There was no one at the Roman Forum so I bought my ticket that lasted 2 days and could be used to get into the Colosseum. I’m so glad I had downloaded my free audio guides before I left home, they have saved me a heap of money and have made it so easy to get around the sites and listen to the history. The Roman Forum was amazing. It’s incredible that you are walking along streets and surrounded by buildings that were built thousands of years ago. While I was in the Roman Forum I also visited Palatine Hill which has just as many reminders of Roman history. I am finally feeling the true summer weather and it is ridiculously hot, especially out amongst the ruins where there is no shade. I decided to leave the colosseum for tomorrow and just have a look around the sites of Ancient Rome. I walked around the edge of the Roman Forum and past the Imperial Forum, then saw the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II before stopping for gelato near Palazzo Venezia. This was my favourite gelato yet – mango and pineapple! I had booked an Ancient Roman walking tour that started at 2pm so I headed past the Theatre of Marcellus and Circus Maximus (where there were no chariots racing today!) to the meeting point. On my way I came across some signs in the streets that were about the movie Roman Holiday, explaining about the scenes that were shot in the area. It was really nice to see the ‘non-touristy’ spots from the movie that would not have been so easy to locate on a map. I will have to watch the movie again when I get home to remember it all. So the walking tour “Rome all over” covered the sites that I been past during the day and more, with a guide who was so great with his history. He put meaning behind the places I had been past and when he is pointing at something and throwing a date at you that is over 2000 years ago you really feel like pinching yourself. So other than what I had already checked out I saw the Mouth of Truth, Jewish Ghetto and Pantheon. At the half way mark we stopped for pizza. Even the simplest Margarita pizza tastes so much better over here! With a full tummy we continued on until 6:30pm. My legs were aching and I felt so hot, dirty and sweaty but I soldiered on and walked to see a couple of spots that I knew would look gorgeous in the night. I walked to the Trevi Fountain which was completely packed with people tossing their coins in the water and mingling around. The Spanish steps were quite close by, so I checked those out and it was basically standing room only. My final stop was Vatican City to see St Peter’s Basilica. All the seats had been set up in the square for the Pope’s mass tomorrow morning. The fountains were flowing, the obelisk was lit up and the church was so imposing yet so peaceful in the twilight. I noticed the two windows of the Pope’s residence had their lights on, so he must have been awake or at least someone home up there. So after 15 long hours of walking I finally made it back to the camping grounds and collapsed in bed! My blisters were well worth it!