Monday 22 December 2014

Italy: Roma Day 1

On our first full day in Rome, after a bit of a lie in, we ventured into town to see the sights. This was mainly going to involve an open top bus tour and a variety of other touristy places; in the end it was so hot and we were so like snails because of this that we managed the bus, Il Vittoriano, the Coliseum and a trip to the Trevi Fountain that ended badly because it was drained and scaffolded for works. Boo. This was fueled by frequent stops for coffee and coca cola, and shaded by a little parasol that I bought from the roof of the bus, which was thrown up to me by the vendor. In one cafe the waiter asked me to write the English translations of his granita flavours down for him, and then came back with a marker and a piece of paper and asked me to write the sign for his window because my handwriting was so neat. Love it!

Here are some pictures. Naturally, I took a lot. The first few are from the bus tour.

The Basilica.

 Temple of the Vestal Virgins. I remember this one from Latin class.

Castel Sant'Angelo, a big building next to the Vatican which looked intriguing. It's on the list for my next visit.

Il Vittoriano. This is nicknamed the Wedding Cake and is a monument to the country's first king, Victor Emmanuel II. They had some pretty vicious guards ensuring nobody made the mistake of sitting on the steps. There was also a lift here, to the roof of the building - if you're going to do one thing here, I would recommend this. I could have spent hours up there taking pictures of the skyline.

You can see our hotel in this one, directly behind the Pantheon, on the hill just in front of the mast.

Boy, was it hot! I did everything I could to keep my hair back out of my face, but most of the day, all I could think of was getting back to the hotel and throwing myself into the freezing cold plunge pool in the spa. First though, we braved the queues for the Coliseum - at least they were in the shade.

I love places like this. The weight of the history is really strong and I could have stood there for hours imagining the roars of the crowd and the desperation of the reluctant gladiators, and the euphoria of the ones who made a successful career out of it.

Much has been made recently in Rome of the rabid seagulls who have become extremely cheeky. Indeed, recently apparently one killed one of the doves the Pope released to symbolise peace in the world, in front of a horrified crowd. You couldn't make that up. They are certainly posers.

I think this is my favourite picture. Rampaging on a chariot into the blue.

We went home via a rather unpleasant tourist eatery staffed by rather over-familiar waiter. I am definitely a food snob and the night at la Pergola had done nothing to mitigate against this. However, it was followed up with ice cream, and I did go back and gratefully sweat out the day's grime in the steam room and then fling myself into the freezing plunge pool, while Tutt sipped her wildly over-priced orange juice and wrote post cards. A winning day.

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