All Roads Lead to Rome

Trip Start Jun 28, 2007
1
34
36
Trip End Jul 27, 2007


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Where I stayed

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sunny and 32C

After a swim last night, I went on a photographic walk about as the sun set on Tuscany. I returned to our rooms in time to help with meal preparations and it proved to be excellent.

We arose as planned, finished packing, paid our bill, and enjoyed a final scrumptious breakfast at Il Sole. We left before 10h00 but had to stop in Cortona to pick up one last souvenir. Then the autostrada through Umbria had us on the road for about 3 hours. We arrived at the Leonardo di Vinci airport around 13h00 to return our vehicle which had served us well for 2780km.

A thirty minute train ride, during which we ate our lunch, took us from the airport to Roma Termini in the heart of the city. From there, we dragged our gear 15 minutes to the Hotel Sonya on Via del Viminale a few blocks from Piazza della Repubblica. We checked in and dropped our bags in the room then returned to the train station.

I purchased the Roma Pass for each of us to provide access to public transit and free entry to 2 sites (plus a 50% reduction on any other sites) while Celine bought a pair of sandals. It was frustrating finding the tourist office, which was hidden away in the station with very poor signage. It seems like Italian policy to post one sign to point you in the right direction and then give no further clues as to the whereabouts of whatever it is you seek. Clear communication is not exactly a forte and I left the office very grumpy, especially as time was getting short to see the Colosseum.

I hurried the troops along, in a rather terse manner, to the adjoining metro station to take the short ride to the famous Flavian Amphitheatre. Thanks to our passes, we were able to by-pass the line-up (which was quite short this late in the day) and go straight to the guided tour which was leaving in 5 minutes. The guide, Stefan, was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The tour focused on the purpose of the Colosseum and the spectacle of the games. It was an impressive site but after seeing so many magnificent sites, it seemed to lack something...maybe the fact it had a single purpose and few specific recorded stories. Anyway, we decided to leave after an hour or so and walked quickly to the Forum, the last entrance to which was at 18h15. This site proved more engaging than I had anticipated, especially with the added information from the Rick Steves guidebook. It was grand to imagine the Roman emperors and senators walking on those very stones and to see the site on which Julius Ceasar was cremated.

From there we wandered the streets of Rome to the Piazza Navona where we found a restaurant for supper. The outdoor location had plenty of energy with all the passersby but the food was only OK and definitely overpriced at 100€ for all of us.

After dinner, we returned to the hotel via the Trevi Fountain, which, when we arrived, was not flowing. Remarkably, after 15 minutes it suddenly started to gush, much to the pleasure of the gathered crowd. We tossed in coins, made wishes, and took plenty of photos. It is a wonderous venue to share with Celine and the kids.
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