Rome Day 3

Inside the Colosseum on a brilliant November day

I don’t know about footloose but we certainly are foot sore! We “did” the Colosseum today and as always, seemed to involve ourselves in more walking than necessary. I don’t know what it is but we either get off a bus at the wrong spot or have to walk extra to find our destination or a bus stop or something. And when i get tired and sore, I get cranky. It soon goes away once I rest up.

This morning after breakfast we headed to the next street to find the bus stop. It had a stop for every number except the one we wanted, naturally though we saw the bus we wanted go by a few times. We decided to walk up the road. Surely we’d come across the stop eventually. “Eventually” was the accurate word. Well, it probably wasn’t that far in the grand scheme of things but it was farther than we thought we’d have to go. Once on the very crowded bus, our noses practically pressed up against the front door, we spotted the stop at the area where we started. For some reason, neither of us saw it though we were right beside it. Lesson learned.

Next, we knew the bus was heading to Piazza Venezia which was a bit of a walk to the Coloseum so I thought we should get off at the stop before. Which turned into just as much walking. We went down a flight of stairs and around near the Trajan Markets and ruins. That was good to see that at least. The column of Trajan has a relief spiralling up to the top with illustrations carved into it of all Trajan’s victories. The markets were just that, shops but they were multi levels of shops, very modern!

It was still a bit of a walk to the Colosseum from there. Our original plan was to see the Gladiator school/barracks behind it before going in but we decided we shouldn’t take the time and with all the walking involved, it’s just as well. We buzzed through the reservation line and got our tickets printed and had a 15 or 20 minute wait for the guide. The tour we took included the hypogeum (basement level) and up to the third level and included the main and second level which anyone can go to. The basement and third level have only been open a short time. The guide was quite good and we all had little radio type devices to hear her speaking though often I didn’t use it, just stood closer to her to hear.

I managed to get up the steps from the basement and barely managed the steeper stairs up to the second level. I didn’t think i’d get up the next one so I stayed put and Graham went up and took pics from there. The tour ended after that. We were both tired and thirsty and exited the structure and tried to decide where to go next. We walked around away from the direction we’d come from and there were a string of restuarants and cafes there. We knew it would be pricey and we shouldn’t have gone into the first one but we did. We ordered burgers and fries but if that patty came from a cow, then the cow had feathers and clucked. The waiter said he’d ordered the one we wanted but I don’t think the cook got the message. It was ok but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t beef. I drank lots of water as well as a Coke Zero to rehydrate and we headed out again.

Now, did we have the energy to go tramping around the Forum? According to the Rick Steves podcast and map we could get in where the exit was but no. That’s wrong. And after trudging up and back down there, even though one sign pointed us to the right for an entrance, that also seemed to indicate we’d have to climb up the Palatine Hill before getting to the Forum ruins and I didn’t want to do that. I was pretty sure there was another entrance around the corner the other way and there was. But it was blocked off. I was getting cranky now and tired. We were both done in and since we couldn’t find any other entrances and I was damned if i was going to walk all that way back around,frig it. We thought we’d just go back to the hotel for a rest.

Finding a bus stop was another problem. We walked into Piazza Venezia in front of the big white “wedding cake” building and couldn’t see where the busses might stop and the one we wanted seemed to be coming from around a corner. Expecting we’d have to walk another long way, I gave up and we headed to the taxi stand which was the end of the queue not a separate taxi stand from the one that seemed to be right on the square. That meant another walk around what felt like a distance equal to the circumference of the Colosseum to get to the front of the taxis when we could have got to it straight out with half the walking had we gone in that direction. Typical.

Into the cab and a fairly short ride back unlike yesterday’s marathon in traffic. But before hitting the room, I really wanted a beer so we went into the hotel bar and had a Peroni, a well known Italian beer which was cold and tasty and hit every spot there was!

Now our feet are up and we’re kicking back for a few hours before going out again for something to eat later. Our meal last night at a restaurant just down the street was most excellent. We’d had steaks that were some of the best I’ve ever had. The “primo” course of soup was served in something the size of a mixing bowl and it was really good but far too much of it. I should have figured, because it wasn’t on the “antipasti” or appetizer menu,

Menus here have an appetizer section but then a first course, quite often pasta or you can have a big salad, then the main course, or Secundo, which is the meat or fish. That doesn’t seem to come with much in the way of extras, vegetables are usually add-on side dishes it seems. Dessert is the last course. Now I don’t know about your appetite, but I very much doubt I can get through an appetizer, a plate of pasta and then a steak with a side of roasted potatoes and dessert. Indeed, just having half of that huge bowl of soup and the steak and potatoes did me in. I didn’t finish the soup because I knew i[d need the room. The steak was really good and so were the roasties but I couldn’t finish that either. We rolled home to the hotel after but it was quite a nice. meal just the same. We’ll try one of the other neighbourhood restaurants tonight.