Doug & Heather's Voyages

Join us as we travel the world...or at least that which can be reached by cruise ship.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We Came, We Saw and We Conquered Rome

Wow this was a day. We were able to get seats on Princess' "Rome On Your Own" trip which got us to Rome via tour bus and traffic was quite light, so that turned out very well. The trip dropped us off at a spot just off of Saint Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro) which we hadn't really even planned to see, so that was good.

Being the adventurous type, we made our way to the Metro and seemed to be the only ones going that way as they were pushing a HOHO bus to take people around the city. We dropped into the dark metro station and bought some all day tickets and onto the train headed to Termini station which is the cross roads for the two metro lines. We got off there and switched to the other line which takes you to the Coliseum which was our first stop. Having researched endlessly, we knew to wait in the short line at the Forum to get the combined tickets then headed over to the Coliseum.

Once at the Coliseum, we were able to bypass the tortuous lines and got right in…surprisingly without any kind of security screening. The Coliseum is simply amazing to step into. The sheer size and relative preservation of it is astounding to witness first hand, even after seeing many of the pictures. Avoiding the Gladiators trying to take pictures with you, we made our way into the Forum. This was nice, but not as spectacular as nothing is labeled, so you can't really tell what everything is. Took pictures of everything, so someday we can figure out what those are.

It was really hot coming out of the Forum, so we got some Gelato and continued on the tour. First stop was at the ruins where Julius Caesar was killed, frankly not much to see, just a hole in the ground covering a square block and some homeless and urine smells. It was really cool to see, however. From there, up the street, we saw the ruins of the Agrippa Roman Baths which are now part of a more modern building. Next was the Pantheon. This was a beautiful building and the entry into it as you realize what you are seeing with the sun shining through the hole in the top is worth the visit. Rafael's tomb is located here, under glass, although the building was built by Agrippa, long before Rafael was born. This is the oldest, continuously used, building in the world.

From there, we walked to Trevi fountain. However, along the way, we passed Hadrian's Temple, which was actually the front of a more modern building that they kept up. Also we saw the Marcus Aureleus Column which has a spiral relief of his life story carved into the marble all the way up the tower. Trevi Fountain was being closed because there was a crazy old man climbing on it. We stuck around for awhile to see what would happen as the police climbed into the fountain to bring him down. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in video taping what was happening, that we couldn't really enjoy the fountain. Heather and I both got our €0.10 pieces into the fountain by hurling them over the amazed crowd, so it looks like we'll be coming back sometime.

Tried to see the head of John the Baptist at a church, but it was closed, although we could see through the door and it was very beautiful inside. Then to the Spanish Steps. We were probably the only tourists that sat on the steps for less than a minute…but we had to get going. We also filled our water bottles at the fountain and the water tasted pretty good…we'll find out if it was potable in the next 24 hours, I guess. (You can play Where's Heather? in this picture)

Another metro ride back to Piazza San Pietro, some Pizza at one of the few places that were open, and affordable, then a quick tour of the Piazza which is stunning in architecture and in size. Also made our way across the Tiber looking for Piazza Navona which we didn't find…had to get back on the ship.

All in all, it was a really good day. Tomorrow is Pisa.

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