The Colosseum at Night
An pre-sunrise view of the Colosseum.
I decided to get up early to head down to the Colosseum for some early morning pictures. First however, I thought I would go to the Spanish Steps. Even at 4.00 in the morning it was still covered in people, obviously chilling after a Saturday night out. It was the same at the Trevi Fountain.
Furthermore, and despite the time, there was still a large number of soldiers on guard for whatever reason. One point to note, if you are walking around at 4.00am to get some photographs where there are a large number of soldiers, consider carefully how you carry your tripod, as it can cause a bit of unwanted and potentially perilous attention. It was even more worrying when I remembered I had forgotten my passport and it is illegal to not be carrying ID in Italy, let alone at 4.00am during a period of national celebration and whilst carrying a dodgy looking tripod.
There was still a lot of clearing-up to do from the previous day's celebrations.
The Colosseum looks spectacular when it is floodlit at night and was definitely worth the early start. I was not disappointed. What also made the early start worth
The Roman Forum
Sunrise over the Roman Forum.
while was the sunrise over The Roman Forum, which I hadn't expected, but I had luckily timed perfectly.
Next, I went back to the Spanish steps. It was too late for a night shot now and there were still some people chilling on the steps, but few enough that I should be able to remove them with Photoshop later.
After a wait until a more sociable time we decided to try out one of the city's sightseeing bus tours. After all the walking of the previous two days it was nice for the sights to kind of come to us whilst we sat and watched. What wasn't so nice was the heat. We were melting and there was absolutely no draft, particularly as the bus seemed to spend more time waiting at bus-stops and traffic lights (yes, the bus driver actually took notice of the traffic lights) than it did actually moving. Obviously an open-top bus can't have air-conditioning, but some blowers would not go a miss.
Rather than a specific destination, we just spent the rest of the day on our own little walking tour and a bit of shopping. The city is scatted with an
The Spanish Steps
The steps in the early morning before any people arrived (thanks to Photoshop).
array of piazzas, churches, obelisks and Roman ruins. The Pantheon was a particular highlight. This huge Roman temple is completely intact, including the striking column lined entrance and the massive domed roof. A hole in the apex of the roof provides the only natural light inside.
It was also interesting to see how some more recent buildings had been constructed around some ancient Roman ruins so that those ruins actually form part of the structure of the buildings.
The flight was not until late in the evening so we went for a meal first. It was nice just to sit outside in the cool of the shade watching the people going past. That was until an accordion player turned-up and started to play whether we all wanted him to or not. Then he expected us all to pay for the privilege. The street also appeared to be on the main route between the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps as there was a constant selection of tour groups passing by.
It was a very pleasant taxi ride to the airport with more scattered ruins and psychotic traffic to enjoy. Sadly, when we got to the airport, we
The Roman temple known as the Pantheon.
discovered that out flight had been delayed somewhere between 17 and 70 minutes depending on who you asked. In the end it was nearer an hour and a half.
We were worried that it would be hit-and-miss as to whether the flight would be allowed to take-off as it would be too late to land by the time we would arrive at Luton. In fact, when we flew over Heathrow all the runway lights had been turned-off so there were clearly no more flights landing there.
We landed, but it seemed that all the baggage handlers had gone home for the night. In all my years of flying and of all the airports that we have been to, we have never had to wait so long for our luggage to arrive. By the time I got to bed it was exactly 24 hours after I had got up.
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