Rome (Day 2)

Trip Start Jun 17, 2011
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Trip End Jul 03, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Sunday, June 19, 2011

Today we got up early to get in an afternoon of pre-tour sight seeing. Today we planned on taking the Archeobus to the outskirts of Rome. We asked our hotel for the best way to get to Termini train station which is where you can pick up the Archeobus. She told us to walk down the block and catch a public bus to the main train station. Well when the bus arrived, there was a glass wall between you and the driver so you couldn't talk to him and we didn’t see anywhere to buy tickets. Already being on the bus, we just stayed on hoping no one would catch us. Turns out, you buy your tickets at cigarette stores, etc not on the bus.

We learned first hand that Roman’s are rude on the bus. As we entered the bus, this lady with a suitcase refused to move back causing us to be scrunched up near the door. The bus driver nearly closed the door on Lynnette. Finally the lady with the suitcase moved back enough for us to get out of the way of the door.

The bus wasn’t announcing what the stops were so I was trying to look out the window to see the signs at the bus stops. I saw one that said "Termini" so we hopped off the bus. Turns out, not the right stop! We started walking in hopes that we would find streets on our map and be able to find the train station and then all of a sudden I saw an Archeobus sitting on a street waiting. We ran over and hopped on. The Archeobus is a hop-on, hop-off bus like you’d see in London. You get head phones and it explains the history of what you are driving past. Our first stop was Catacombe di San Callisto which is an underground burial site. They have taken all the bodies out of the catacomb but it was still very neat (and creepy) walking around knowing millions have been buried here. They took us into one room where they had a replica of Saint Cecila. The story is that hundreds of years after Saint Cecila was buried, she was dug up and found exactly the way she was buried, no decay, just completely enacted.

Our next stop off the Archeobus was the Baths of Caracalla which in ancient Rome, contained more than 170 public baths that were built in 216AD. There was no water so it was hard to imagine people bathing here. It was just huge slabs of rocks.

After that, we got off at the Bocca della Verita stop. We walked past the Temple of Hercules and the Theatre of Marcellus which looks like a miniature version of the Coliseum. We then headed to the church Santa Maria in Cosmedin where the Mouth of Truth is housed. Before entering the church, there is the ancient mask of a river god, called Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth) which is popular because of the belief that it bites liars’ hands off. This has been featured in movies and the queue to get in was quite long. We got our picture with it and explored the church a bit. I’d call it a successful visit; we both still have our hands!

After that, it was getting close to the time we wanted to be back at the hotel to get ready for our start off meeting with our Contiki group. You could tell right off the bat that our Tour Manager Christina was extremely kind and helpful. She is British so she kept saying things like “loo” but we knew what she meant. She went through all the details of the tour that we’d need to know and explained what we’d be doing/seeing each day and what exactly the optional excursions for those days would be. She then started the registration process where you had to show her your passport, she marked down any dietary needs (i.e. vegetarian, don’t want to eat veal, etc) and you picked and paid for your excursions. Lynnette and I had opted to do all the excursions as they seemed like good deals.

Christina pointed out a few places near the hotel to get food and gave everyone the option to go to a pub near Termini station later that night around 10. We opted to stay in that night as it was a long day sight-seeing and we knew it would be an early and crazy day tomorrow plus I was still feeling the effects of the six hour time difference. I apparently don't adapt well to time changes.

After we completed our registration, we walked down the street to find some food and came across a “fast food” buffet style place. They had different kinds of pizza and pasta, fried rice balls that made Lynnette extremely happy and other Italian specialties. It was pretty cheap too! Lynnette fell in love with an Italian guy who went into the shop to get food as well. Our second day in Italy and she’s already in love lol. He was sexy though.

We took our food back to our hotel to eat in the room and just relax although when we got to the room, Lynnette had no silverware. Always an adventure in Rome! We went down to the hotel bar/snack restaurant but the bartender was nowhere to be found. After 5 minutes, we went to the front desk who tried calling the bar (duh he isn’t there, we just checked) and then said well he should be back in a few minutes. We stood there another 5 minutes, nothing. We saw some mini silverware behind the counter but Lynnette wouldn’t take it. We went back up to our room for a few then came back down to see if he returned. Still, the bar was empty. I was starving at this point so I reached over the bar, grabbed a tiny fork and hide it as we scurried back up to our room. Now, Lynnette has an Italian mini fork to keep.
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