The madness of rome

Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Aug 20, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Latium,
Saturday, July 3, 2010

We found our apartment in a very dodgy looking area graffiti everywhere, shops with metal shutters pulled down over the windows, large rubbish bins on the side of the road and rubbish all over the place.  We parked our car in the supermarket car park behind the apartments where a large aqueduct that was as old as the colosseum ran next to it, this looked like the safest place. Scaffolding surrounded the building that we were staying in.  The owner came out to greet us and apologised for the scaffolding, she said the building is old and needs repairs so there was not much she could do.  The workmen don't start until 8.30am and the work is not too noisy and I will take 10% off the accommodation cost.  So we thought OK, not much we can do now we will have to stay here and Kevin was due to arrive in a couple of hours so we couldn’t go anywhere.   We asked about the parking and she said you could park out the front if you can find a space, but don’t leave anything in the car.   So we quickly unloaded the luggage and found a park out the front in the middle of the road and that was where the car stayed and every morning at 7.30 Tony ran out the front and put another parking ticket on the car, every morning we expected the car to have a smashed window, flat tyre or graffiti on it.    Mum and Dad stayed in a Studio type apartment detached from the main building on the ground floor at the back of the building and we stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment in the main building on the 5th floor, we couldn’t open any windows as the scaffolding was around the outside of our windows.  

After Kevin arrived and we caught up on our holidays, we decided to go for a walk, the owner had told us of a nice area down the road so we headed there. As we got closer to the area the graffiti, rubbish and broken glass form bottles and car windows and the smell of urine (don’t these people use toilets), got worse and we didn’t feel safe so we went back home.

The next day was hot about 35 degrees; we eventually found a bus to take us to the colosseum. We found a tour guide to take us around, so that we skipped the long queue, after the tour we went and had a quick bite to eat before the second part of the tour of the Roman Forum.  It was so hot though, this is when we discovered the life saver, the Roman water fountains, these fountains are all over Rome and provide beautiful icy cold water for you to top up your water bottles wet your hat, by the end of the tour of the forum I was just about bathing in it to get cool and Sarah loved them.

What a huge day so much walking but it is amazing to see such history and try and imagine how they built and designed these buildings and what it must have looked like back then.

The next day we woke to the sound of a hammer banging on the outside of our window and then a hammer drill.  Fantastic.

We worked out that we could catch the bus across the road to the Termi metro station.  The public transport system in Rome is an experience all on its own.  Your very lucky if you can get a seat on the bus and then if your standing it is a challenge to try and stay upright, the drivers are mad, I am sure they enjoy watching you fly around the bus as you try to hold on with one hand and grip onto your handbag with the other for fear of pickpockets.   The metro is pretty good when you work it out and you can get to most places on it. The roads are crazy you wouldn’t even bother driving its hard enough trying to cross them, the secret is, you go to a crossing and without looking at the approaching traffic you march straight across the road and just hope they stop its like a game of chicken. 

All week was hot in Rome, which made it hard, as you need to do a lot of walking

On the Monday we went to the Spanish steps, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.

On the Tuesday we split up and Mum Dad and Kevin did the Vatican City along with 50,000 other people, they didn’t make it to St Peters as the Pope had called a special Mass, I think they were too worn out from the Vatican anyway and Tony Sarah and I did the Piazza del Popolo and the Villa Borghese, this is a beautiful park and a great place to escape the insanity of Rome.

On the Wednesday we did a river cruise down the Tiber, this was nice and relaxing.

On the Thursday we all went back to the Villa Borghese we walked to a very peaceful lake where you could hire a boat and row around the lake this was very funny, rowing looks easy when your not doing it, Tony took the oars of our boat and Dad took the oars the one that he and Mum were in, it took a moment to work out forward and reverse but they got there.  Kevin took the safe option and watched. After this we found the golf cart hire and drove around the park then when we had finished Tony and I Had a drive of the Segways these are fantastic once you work out how to use them, we want one now.   

On the Friday, Mums birthday, Kevin left early for the airport, as there was a transport strike on in Rome, which also meant that we couldn’t go into the city as we had planned.  So after a birthday cake breakfast we went for a hot walk to a see a Church which was beautiful and then find somewhere nice to eat which seemed to be a challenge so we found ourselves in McDonalds again not the Roman birthday we had hoped for.

On the way back the traffic was MAD due to the strike the mopeds were driving up on the footpath and you had to stand back to get out of the way.

I think we were all looking forward to getting out of this crazy city.
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