Trip Start Jun 24, 2007
Trip End Jan 15, 2008

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Flag of Italy  ,
Saturday, December 1, 2007

Flew from Rhodes Island to Athens and then on to Rome. This took the best part of a whole day which isn't such fun when 'a girl' is trying her hardest to celebrate a birthday!!
Rome is a glorious city in every sense of the word! It has such an old and majestic feel about it, and is as beautiful by day as it is by night. Our hotel was really central, so we managed to walk to places like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Pantheon, and caught public transport to the Vatican City.  We decided to do a tour of the Colosseum which was a good thing, as Tom and Rob were really interested in the history ('Gladiator', comes to mind) and were duly rewarded with all the gory tales and glorified details of life in and around the Colosseum, way back then! 
Did the touristy 'thing' at the Trevi Fountain and duly threw in our coins, ensuring our return one day! Tom took an underwater photo of all the coins much to the horror of many onlookers who thought he was going to help himself,  but the highlight of this excursion was finding the best Italian ice-cream parlour in all of Italy! (Left hand side if you're facing the fountain for those planning a trip to Rome!).
Spent a morning at the Vatican City, seeing the famous St.Peter's Square and Basilica, the Vatican Museum and the famous Sistene Chapel.  The mind boggles at the incredible artwork everywhere. Interesting to find out that a lot of marble used in the Vatican City was stripped from the walls of the Colosseum. We've been really lucky travelling out of season, as the crowds have been minimal and one gets to do all these things in half the time without the long queus and congestion.
Got a lovely view of Rome from the Trinita dei Monti church at the top of the famous Spanish Steps, and were amazed with the Via Condotti close by - Rome's most elegant shopping precinct with prices only for the rich and famous.  I'm sure you have to pay just to enter some of these shops!
We lived on pasta and pizza in Rome, much to Tom and Rob's delight - but you really can't help it as the incredible aromas draw you in to the many sidewalk cafes and the price tag is reasonable. The only suffering comes from Greg and my ever expanding waistlines!!
Loved the festive mood everywhere and of course the Christmas lights and markets were up and running and together with the cold, crisp air,  all that was missing was the snow.
Not for long - left for Finland after four days in the Eternal City! 
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