Trip Start Oct 05, 2010
17Trip End Oct 20, 2010
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We didn't want to get up today . . . a week's worth of travel is catching up to us. No time for breakfast this morning! Off to our walking tour of Ancient Rome. We had a great tour guide - a native Roman and archeologist. We started off Piazza Navona with beautiful baroque architecture and a wonderful fountain. We walked a short distance to the Parthenon, a temple built to honor the Roman gods. Wonderfully preserved because the church took it over. The great Renaissance painter Raphael is buried there, as well as the first King of Italy Umberto I. We then went to the Trevi Fountain and tossed in our coin . . . legend is if you do, you will return to Rome again. We then had a food break . . . quite embarrassing that we actually resorted to McDonald's . . . and ate it on the run. And one thing we found that Italians DO NOT do better than we do and that is fast food. They had molasses in their pants. Then we passed by the square where Mussolini used to make his speeches and built the huge Roman road to the ancient Coloseum. And there is a huge white limestone building that apparently the Romans hate because it reflects light vs. absorbs it and is huge. Anyway, we thought it was pretty cool.
We then made our away to the ruins of the forum and the arches the various emperors built to celebrate war victories. It was the victory over Jerusalem and the spoils of this war that enabled the Romans to build the magnificent Coloseum. We learned that the Coloseum is named after the God Colossus that stood 100 meters tall (about a 130 yd Par 3) next to the Coloseum that was made of bronze. It was destroyed for the material later on. The Coloseum was absolutely awesome. We imagined all the movies we've seen, especially Gladiator. We learned that it was built solely for the purpose of Gladiator bouts, but that there was likely not as much bloodshed as Hollywood would have us believe. The key was whether the crowd was entertained, and wealthy people bought and trained their gladiators much like a fine racehorse . . . they didn't want their investment to be killed.
Our Coloseum experience was cut short, as we had to rush off back to the hotel to pick up our bags and head for the airport. We had quite a competent taxi driver, and he kept his speed to 160 km/hr (100mph), so we felt perfectly safe. Trish ended up in my lap only once! Think about her on her iphone suddenly doing a cartwheel across the back seat!! Oh, we also saw a Vespa turf it right in the middle of our tour. Then a lady on another tour at the Forum turfed it.
Leonardo da Vinci airport is WAY outside the city, and it was relatively uneventful other than being sent to the wrong gate and speed walking thru the airport so as not to miss the flight. However, when checking in our luggage, the weight limit is 20 kilos. The gate agent said they can look the other way up to 23 kilos. Miss Trish came in at 22.6! Of course, then Erin wigged out when the scale said 42 kilos when she loaded up her luggage! No way! Well, that was on top of Trish's, so we relaxed. Flying into Athens, it was very overcast and a totally different feel from Italy. We were pitched by a limousine service to get us to the hotel for 90 Euro. Well, we were quite relieved when the taxi only charged 25!
The Astir Palace is absolutely fabulous . . . our adjoining rooms look out over the Aegean Sea. It is SO gorgeous that we opted to cancel our tour of Athens tomorrow morning and simply relax and enjoy the scenery. We will have some fabulous photos tomorrow. Tonight we sit and enjoy dinner overlooking the Aegean and can't wait to see it in the daylight tomorrow. And we miss Jay!!!
We also discovered the Grecian rat killer cat and his posse at dinner. Of course, Trisha and I fed them grouper and lobster from our forks . . . danged American tourists. Oh, and Erin made the mistake of stepping on the scale this evening (as many of you know, I have worked very hard to lose 20lbs over the last year), and it wasn't pretty . . . gained 10lbs of it back! Oh well . . . back to low carb diet when I get home! Til tomorrow . . . :o)