Day 4 - late afternoon
Even if we tried to get lost in Ancient Rome or Rome's Center Area as some might call it, it would have been kind of hard to do so! You see, Rome was built on seven hills therefore as you stood on one of them depending on your whereabouts, you could easily see in the far distance some of the main attractions. From there on, you kind of knew where you were and your distance from them without even glancing at the tourist map! Well, having said this….who knows….maybe Michel would have gotten lost! Ha, ha, ha!
Since I had all of this figured out, without any hesitations Michel and I decided for our way back to the hotel from the Piazza del Popolo square, to take side alleys and streets and explore more in depth Ancient Rome as opposed to taking the main Via del Corso street! This proved to be quite exciting as we saw so many lovely places and panoramic views along the way.
Therefore, right after leaving the Piazza del Popolo square and since we were standing right next to it, we decided to pay a visit to the Villa Borghese, a large landscape garden containing a number of buildings, museums and attractions. Being the second largest public park in Rome, I wished I could have spent more time here since the décor, trees and flowers were so lovely but unfortunately, we had only a few hours to spare. After all, we had that 6:00pm meeting this evening and wanted to make it on time.
Just like yesterday, a gypsy approached me in the Borghese Park and handed me a rose but this time around, I had Michel take photos of me with it before handling it back to him! I had the last laugh in other words!
The side streets proved to be quite narrow. I even wondered how cars could drive here but believe me, they did and you simply had to get out of their way! Beautiful hotels were seen, various unique architectural structures and lovely fountains. We were heading south by zigzagging our way around these lovely cobblestone streets and by going up and down Ancient Rome’s hills.
We eventually landed right next to a 5th
century built Basilica going by the name of Santa Maria Maggiore, the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Lovely statues were everywhere on its façade and by stepping inside just for a few minutes I was able to see beautiful works, columns and mosaics.
It occurred to me that so many, I should probably say tons of basilicas or churches were seen here in Ancient Rome. I am saying this because almost every street we walked to, one was seen erected and looking ageless in between other ancient buildings. Interesting!
By now it was 3:30pm and as we got closer to the Colosseum, it was obvious to me that the marathon was finished. Lots of policemen patrolled the streets as well as paramedics watching over some distressed or over exhausted people. Many runners sat in the middle of the closed streets probably recuperating from their days’ activities while others enjoyed drinking beer or simply eating pasta in many restaurants seen along the way.
Garbage such as water bottles and orange peels lay everywhere on the streets as city workers took down some of the installed high wire fences that were put up just for this special occasion.
Discarded aluminum blankets were everywhere in sight either piled one on top of the other or flying way up into the sky as the wind got the better hold of them. The entire area looked completely disastrous and dirty as if a hurricane had gone through. It certainly wasn’t the Ancient Rome that I had seen yesterday all beautiful and spotless!
Standing right next to the Colosseum, I could see that many streets were still closed to the public and that I couldn’t take my regular route back to the hotel. Due to this, once again a detour had to be made which took us an additional forty-five minutes as opposed to ten that it would have taken us on any ordinary day! I was glad that the marathon was over and done with.
It was 4:30pm when we made it back to the hotel all tired and exhausted from all of this walking around!Monique :-)