Rome in 3 Days
Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
135Trip End Ongoing
We were acosted at the station by a hotel tout and 5 mins later our bags were in our room and we were ready to see the sights again.
Since we were last here we have experienced numerous colosseums but we were back to see the big daddy of them all. Just walking towards it, we were in awe of the size. We paid our 10 euros and went in. We walked all over it, up and down, in and out and round and round taking millions of photos. Amazing to think it's survived this long. It is really impressive. The only downer was the massive amounts of tourist groups there.
Roman Forum and Palatine
Right next door are the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. We strode up the old roman road (via Sacra) to Palatine Hill where legend says Romulus founded Rome. It is also where the rich romans built their houses. We were overwhelmed with the sheer size of the ruins. They've been plundered over the centuries so there are only shells remaining but still fantastic. We walked over to the Forum and checked out the old temples and found the place where Mark Anthony gave his famous speech after Cesar had been murdered ('Friends, Romans' Countrymen lend me your ears..........'). We had one last thing to find - rumour has it that the tomb of Romulus was located in the Forum somewhere. After much searching we found what was left of the black marble slab that was said to cover the tomb.
They say if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain you will return. I'd thown my first in 1998 - so it must be true. This visit though, the place was teeming with tourists doing the same! They also say that if you throw a 2nd coin, you can make a wish. We threw our two, wished like hell and left.
As usual the steps were covered with people. Apparently the beauties would hang out in olden days hoping to be picked as artists models. For the first time we walked up the steps, passing an american proposing to his girlfriend! (she said yes, if you're wondering)! Thank god David didn't have any ideas!!
We walked all the way to St Peter's in the hot heat and found it closed. There was a special service going on, so we decided to try the Sistine Chapel, but found that was closed too. Not to be deterred, we walked over to the Pantheon only to find that closed as well. We asked the tourist information and were told it was a public holiday and everything would be closed!!! Bugger!!!!
We got the Metro over this time walked around the corner and found a absolute MOTHER of a queue! It went for miles!!! 1 hour and 20 minutes later we were in. It would have been good to look at some of the plundered art, but everytime we stopped we were told to keep moving by the security guards. Eventually we reached the chapel. It was brilliant to finally see it without scaffold. As usual, there were signs saying no photos and no noise, but as last time, cameras flashed continually and you needed to shout to be heard! We looked it over, took some sneaky shots of our own, but had to leave for our appointment with the Pope.
Another queue. September 11 has alot to answer for!! Our bags were searched and our outfits checked for respectability and we were allowed to enter. It's certainly not the most spectacular church I've ever been in, but you can see the wealth of the richest religion in the world. It was time to go to the top though for a God's eye view over Rome. There was a choice - lift to the left or stairs to the right. Americans went left, everyone else went right. About 490 steps later we were at the top! The views are fantastic though! Definitely worth losing my breath over. Down we went to join another queue for our appointment with the pope. We descended down into the crypt and there he was - JP II!! We had a photo and a quick chat and left him to it.
As with everywhere else in Rome over the last few days, it was packed with tour groups.
We tried hard to take it all in but the ambiance was lost with the scaffold inside. It was even covering our favourite ninja turtle - Raphael!!! We were reluctant to leave the wonderful coolness of the marble interior, it was soooo much cooler in there than out in the sun drenched streets of Rome.
Well, Rome was great the second time round. I enjoyed it so much more!! Although it was extra packed and super heated! But thanks to the free water fountains all over the place we kept ourselves hydrated!
There's so much more to see. I've thrown my coins in so I'll probably be back.