Published: September 3rd 2007August 24th 2007
Today we make like the Romans do and Travel to Rome - via bus, not chariot. The drive was a long one, as we were by-passing Florence, a quicker drive, and heading on to Rome. Jon gave us a brief history of the ancient city on the way, which was good.
After two toilet stops, and some grub, we finally got to Rome at 4:00pm. We certainly weren’t expecting to see all the topless hookers on the side of the highway coming in - they position themselves at the bus stops, and wave their boobs at you while you drive past - DODGEY!!
Thankfully, our hotel wasn’t too close to this area, but we were a fair ways out of town. We didn’t have time to change, and headed straight in for our tour of the city with Chincia, a tiny Roman lady with all the goss. After driving past a filthy, algae infested River, and a LOT of graffiti, we were in the city centre. A small street peddler was pushing postcards our way as we stepped off the bus, and at 1 Euro a pop, most of us bought the 20 pack of 20 postcards.
led us into the Piazza Navona…a central starting point. The famous fountain (not the Trevi, the Four Rivers Fountain) was out of order, but it was still great strolling around this huge square, where a massive stadium once sat. You can see this from the rounded outline the houses make. From here, we headed on to check out a few Obilisques, and eventually, to the Pantheon. What an amazing sight - amidst all the hustle and bustle, here is a 2000 year old wonder.
The Pantheon is an impressive architectural feat - it is dedicated to the Gods of Rome, but has since been converted into a Church. The roof of the building is a huge dome, which the Romans packed with terracotta and hay, so as to keep it from falling in on itself. It is one of the last remaining, mostly intact Roman temples. The bronze doors are the originals, and light comes streaming in from this entrance, as well as the huge opening in the ceiling. When it rains, the floor has drains to collect the water - the Romans thought of all of this, and 2000 years ago!
From the Pantheon, it is a
short stroll to another famous landmark, the Spanish Steps. Be prepared for annoying street merchants, selling roses and crickets. The roses are shoved at you, and if you take them, you’re up for at least 5 Euro. The area is also bad for pick pocketing, and we saw quite a few shady characters inspecting bags…not ours!
The Spanish Steps provide great views done the main street of Rome, and you can fill your water bottle up at the bottom (after a tough climb to the top - not really). The steps are very worn in places, which can make them a bit tricky, and I’d hate to head down them in the wet. The water fountains here are fantastic. Some of them look disgusting, but the water that comes out is crystal clear and freezing cold. You can fill your bottle up all day long - which is a good thing, considering it was 38 degrees that afternoon!
Our tour finished at the Spanish Steps, but we had dinner planned, and we walked from here to our Italian Restaurant. Another 4 courses later, we were ready for bed. Tomorrow is an early start - as we want to
Itallian Traffic Light
Check out the size of the Red light!
beat the line-up into the Vatican - the world’s smallest country. On this tour, we visit three of the four smallest! Over and out for now.
There are more photos below