When in Rome; Spend like the Romans don't.

Trip Start Apr 10, 2010
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Trip End Apr 10, 2011


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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Sunday, September 5, 2010

We couldn't believe the luck of finding Orvieto just by looking at the highlighted names on our big map. The next one between us and Rome was a town called Civita Castellana. What a hole. Did you ever get that feeling you were going to get raped? Well that town owns that feeling. We did our best to escape and made it to a truck-stop just outside of town on what looked like a freeway. Sadly though the petrol station closed at 9pm and then all matter of weird stuff started happening outside; that rape feeling all over again. It was not a very restful night.

We got some angel advice from a guy at a train station that told us everything we needed to know about traveling in and out of Rome, including where to park and where not to. Civita Castellana is a classic example of where NOT to park.
The advice was gold though and the next 3 days had us ducking in and out of Rome on the train for only 1 euro a pop!

DAY 1:
The day prior we had almost spent an entire day selecting our routes and budgets for each of the days in the city. There is so much to see so it was vital to have a good plan.
On day 1 we tackled the main piazzas on the western bank and saw the Spanish steps first up, it was a Sunday and not many people were there to muddy up our good time. The photos may seem like lots of people, but it was many times multiplied in the days that followed. Although no churches were open to the public, we had organized to see many on the non religious sites, like the Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon and Piazza Navona. We made our coin throws in the fountain and made our wishes. Not to get raped was high on the priority. Rome though was not as shady as we thought. And despite Jena getting overly examined by the fellows (Ogled!) the place was fairly safe with policemen everywhere, all within eyeshot of each other.
We had decided to visit the Castle of Saint Angelo to just see the outside, but just like any good schloss, were enticed inside where we had a great time learning about the wars and the papal struggles. It also had a fantastic view of the whole city and the Vatican.

DAY 2:
We had planned to spend the entire day in the Vatican city. A woman on the train told us to see the museums first as the lines would be epic, but when we got there we pretty much jumped into the first long line we saw. Which lead us straight into St. Peter’s Basilica. Not what we had intended, but not bad either, its not like seeing the world’s biggest dome and the centre of Christendom is any kind of disappointment.
We spent quite a long time marveling at the size and power of the place, the feeling you’d expect was a little smothered by the minions of zombies shuffling about. A random American guy said to Joel while pointing at a hole in the floor, that that is where the priests like to look up skirts from. Obviously not everyone has religious reverence, even in such a place as St. Peters.
When we finally got around the corner we were confronted by the museum line. Easily 10-15 times longer than the basilica’s. most of it being in direct midday sunshine. The brutal wait was not as long as the ticket scalpers claimed though, their 3 hour line was more like a 1 hour one, and at last we got in, with legs already at their physical limit! As expected we were forced to feign zombie and join the horde which snaked its way through the halls and exhibition. The slow procession was only justifiable by the awesome artifacts to be seen everywhere. We loved map hall, and later we haunted the Raphael apartments, thinking that those frescoes were pretty much the cream of the joint. That was until we finally reached the Sistine chapel… Where Michelangelo pretty much trumps anything. We stood there looking as long as our legs and necks could endure. Absolutely incredible. Still unsure about the muscly chicks though, either Michelangelo had never seen a naked woman before, or he was batting for the wrong team. But what a talented and inspired man.
In the evening we weaved in an out of the little catholic shops, looking at all their canonized trinkets. We bought a beautiful set of rosary beads and quickly made haste to the little fountain outside the Augustus Mausoleum to dip our abused feet into.

DAY 3:
Today we saw the ancient sector of Rome starting at the Piazza Venezia, making our way to the coliseum and then to the ruins on Mt. Palatino.
The coliseum was more awesome than we had expected, so very large and sophisticated, with really complicated mechanics beneath. The exhibition on gladiators was very interesting and it was really hard to comprehend the amount of animal and human death. Festivals would go for 100 days where every day there were many executions and battles, on a particular festival, they would hunt and kill 90 animals a day (for 100 days). These included Lions, rhinos, elephants etc. Where was Amnesty International and the WWF back in 100AD? Brutal. They sure can build though these Romans.
Later we spent the afternoon picking through the ruins of ancient Rome. Imagining the fantastic buildings and their purposes. The day was much cloudier and cooler than the ones before which was nice, and despite the fact that we were both overly tired and bickering relentlessly, it was really great.

There is really so much more to Rome that we wanted to uncover, but the level of walking we did is testimony to the fact that 3 days really is enough. We are absolutely buggered. We did however put coins into the Trevi fountain which means that we will have a safe return to Rome again. We’re not sure if we saw the roman forum or not. All the maps we have say different things. Perhaps that’s a question to be answered on our return… whoops.
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