It mightn't have built in a day, but we only had two to see it.
24.06.2011 - 26.06.2011
After a fairly trouble free drive out of Cinque Terre, we headed for Rome. Our apartment was at the top of some pretty shabby looking flats about a 10 euro taxi ride outside the city. Actually, the place was very good. Had an amazing bathroom with a spa and an outside with a jacuzzi. Which we didn't use. Had just two nights there, so went and had a look around on the first afternoon and got tickets for the tourist bus and a Roma pass which gets you into the various historical places. We had a fairly ordinary meal that night. Whole shanks of pork roasted to the edge of eatability served with roast potatoes and a very unusual bottle of wine. If you'd seen the colour on a minesite and matched it against the chart on the wall, it would have told you to drink water without delay and stay in the shade. The taste sort of confirmed the prognosis. It also ended the shared role of selecting the wine! The bus was a good idea, we got our bearings and worked out what was on the cards for the next day. Which was essentially the Colosseum. I'd always wanted to see it so it was pretty special. It was very crowded, but considering that it was built to hold 50,000 people, I suppose it was pretty appropriate. Mind you, I'm not sure that the Romans would have been in groups following quite strange looking people waving umbrellas with flags. It is quite a place. I was a bit disappointed that we couldn't go downstairs under the arena, but regardless it is an amazing environment to wander through. I left Jennie sitting in the shade and spent a bit more time by myself just taking it all in. We went from there to the ruins of the forum across the road. The size and scale of it is simply amazing. And the lessons we've learned from Timeteam helped to give us a far better understanding of what we were seeing! We'd been warned that the restaurants on the piazzas could be a bit of a rip off, so we chose one further up a side street. Not such a good idea, they served us our meal and told us we had 30 minutes to finish before they closed. So we forgot that rule from there on. Got adopted by an Armenian waiter (Italian food though) in another place who insisted on helping us with our choice of food and wine. He wasn't wrong, we had a great meal. He also insisted that we drank sparkling water, not still, with our wine as it complimented it. Right again. Am now a convert to wine and sparkling water! Went past the Vatican three times, each time it started to rain and looking at the crowds, we'd have had no time to see anything else, so stayed on the bus. As a final fling we thought we'd go and see the Trevi fountain. We came at it from the street the Armenian's restaurant was in and the access was very quiet, until we got the the square. What a tourist coup! There must have been thousands of people all fighting each other to get to the fountain. It was hilarious. Overall we had a great time, didn't find it overpriced, amazed by the way that the old city has been integrated into the more recent and found people in the shops and restaurants to be very helpful and friendly. Arriverderci Roma!