Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rome - October 14, 2010

Went to bed last night around 11pm local time and woke up at 4am. That was a bit early to be awake so eventually, we fell back asleep again – only to wake up at 11am. Whoops! We thought it was about 7am. Guess not. Checked my work BlackBerry and no service… only SOS. Hmm, and no WiFi or Internet in the hotel without paying 30Euro per day. Thinking not. So once we got our wheels in gear, we headed to the Colosseum. Even though it’s not the busy season, there are gaggles of tourist (or touri as I fondly call them) everywhere. Lots of groups are wearing distinctive markers like scarves or identical t-shirts (aww, how cute – puke). My favourite by far was the group in the orange traffic vests. Once they’re done their tour, they can step out and direct traffic or empty some garbage bins. How very fashionable! Speaking of fashion, everyone sure is dressed well here. No teenage boys with their pants hanging around their butt crack with their Calvin’s showing. Not that it isn’t fashionable,,,, 
Trevi Fountain
On the way to the Colosseum, we stopped at the Trevi Fountain. It was raining a bit, but still, lots of people. After that, we stopped for a pizza lunch. I had funghi pizza and Kelly had two pieces, one sausage and one pepperoni. He determined that my pizza was better than his.

Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele



Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele














We stopped at the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II and took about 100 pictures of big horses and other things. We passed by the Forum, which I didn’t know was still in ruins. Then off to Rogers Arena, I mean, the Colosseum we go. Little did we know that there was a strike (not sure why, maybe because it was Thursday) so they closed at 2pm. Guess what time we arrived? Yup, about 2:05. So we walked around it and will go back tomorrow to see the inside (well, unless there’s a Friday strike). So off we went on a walk around Rome. A few minutes in, Kelly pronounces “uh, I think I lost the map”. Hmm. Ok, we’re winging it.  So we head out, we end up stopping for an espresso then a beer (it was 5 o’clock somewhere). Kelly pulls out the Rick Steeves book and declares, hmm, I think we’re in the Ghetto. Sure enough, we’re in the Jewish Ghetto. Oh well. Other than the homeless guy aggressively licking the plastic container that held a sandwich, it was pretty tame.
By this time, we’d seen, oh, about 20 monuments. As Kelly put it, it’s like Bob Villa’s This Old Monument. Lots of construction going on. We’ve also figured out the cross walks. They’re mere suggestions for the drivers so you edge out… hey, you gonna stop? It’s a bit like the hokey pokey – you put your right foot in, pull your right foot out, put your right foot in and if it doesn’t get run over, shake it all about all the way across the street. A bit like a Frogger game now darting and weaving. Power on, baby.
Largo Argentina
Sans map, we forge on. Kelly says he knows where we’re going. I’m sceptical, but off we go. We see a map at a bus stop and head towards Circus Maximus. Turns  out, that’s just a vacant field now. Cordoned out, but nothing to see. Next.  We go to Largo Argentina, which professes to have free WiFi. Excellent, since I’ve dragged my laptop around all day. Liars. No free WiFi. But we took pictures of the ruins and for some reason, there are lots of kitty cats hanging out in the ruins. Tons of them.
Pantheon McDonald's - really?

Pantheon
Now off to the Pantheon. Lots of dead people in there. Man, I’m naïve, I didn’t know it was a mausoleum. More construction going on outside, but beautiful inside. And lots of rent a Pope outfit stores around. You don’t see many of those in Vancouver. After the Pantheon, we decide to do Rick Steeves; walking tour to head to the Spanish Steps. Every time we passed someone with a map, I suggested to Kelly, psssst, steal their map! But he wouldn’t. Ah come on, you’ll fit right in with the Rome crowd. But nooooo, he won’t grab it. Until we pass a sidewalk café that has maps as their place mat. We pulled a stealth (well, not so stealth) move and grabbed a map. So we head toward the Trevi Fountain again so we could go to San Crispino gelato (famous from Eat Love Pray). We finally figure out where we are in the map (I believe we stepped into the map a la Joey Tribianni) and went to find “the little narrow side street near Trevi – Via della Panettieria”. Hmm., let’s head to the right. Now a left  and presto! Blonde Girl finds the street a la gelato. Mind you, we walked right past San Crispino and when we hit Burger King (yes, really), we headed back. It was worth the trip. We both had two flavours – Kelly had caramel and rum/cocoa. I had a tangy lemon sorbet and a honey gelato. Yummmm! They were all excellent. Definitely worth finding. (note: this is trip # 2 to Trevi Fountain).
Spanish Steps
Spanish Steps
Spanish Steps


Next stop, Spanish Steps. On our way, we recognize a street we passed this morning that had a nice Italian silk tie for 10 Euros (footnote, I told Kelly to buy it but he didn’t). So let’s go down a few blocks and see if we find it. Nope. But visit to Trevi Fountain #3. We’re regulars now. Let’s whip out that map. Oh, a short cut to the Spanish Steps…. Super… I have 100% confidence in this move. But eventually, we do make it there. Some dude tried to hand me three red roses saying they were “for luck”. I kept declining but he insisted. So finally, I took them. Of course, the dude kept following us around and finally asked for money. So, of course, I gave him his roses back. It’s not like I wanted to carry them around all night. Up the stairs we go. Once we get to the top, a little parched and low and behold, there’s a street vendor. Two Moretti, please. Walking down the street and drinking beer, I love Rome!
On our way back, we stop for dinner at La Botte Osteria Pizzeria. Very good – we had  tomato & basil bruschetta then Kelly had lasagna classica alla bolognese; and I had fettuccine al ragu (minced meat & tomato sauce). The house wine wasn’t anything to write home about, but ok. There was a LOUD female tour group from Mississippi in the house. The chick behind us declared; “The Olive Garden is the only Italian restaurant we have back home”. Oh my. The table to the right of us was LOUD LOUD LOUD and when the group left, there was a lot of laughter by the staff and the French family beside us. Hi, we’re Canadian, we’re not with them… During dinner, it occurs to me that I left our train tickets at home. Oh man, I left our train tickets at home. Ahhhhh! Well at least I have the confirmation number so off to the train station tomorrow to see if they can reprint the tickets as we have them booked for each leg of our travel. Stupid blonde girl. Sigh…

Now back to the room to finish off the bottle of Chianti and watching the first thing in English Kelly found on TV – some Nick Cage movie. Tomorrow, (side trip to the train) then Colosseum again and finally, to the Vatican. We’re going to walk to the Colosseum (about 45 mins) then try the Metro to the Vatican. Wish us luck!




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