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Published: June 13th 2018
Today is our last day before we join our Trafalgar Tour at 5:30 this evening. After a very restful sleep we headed off to another fantastic buffet breakfast. Today we slept in a little so we did not eat until 8:30! Another meal of salami, ham and melon for me and yogurt for Cathy. Of course I had my espresso and a cafe americano for added zip and off we went.
We headed out again to our prepaid on/off bus and headed for adventure in the Roman Capital City. Our first stop was not as planned. We heard that there was a house underground that was once owned by Emperor Nero. It is said to be lined with gold and open to the public, sometimes. It is somewhere near the Colosseum. So we took the bus to the proper stop and started our search.
Strangely enough, not one single tour guide ever heard about the site. I knew it was off the beaten path but so far off as to be next door to obscurity, I thought not. So we stopped asking the professionals, who only wanted to sell us tickets to tour the Colosseum and had no idea
about anything else. I Googled the location and sure enough Google Maps showed we were a mere 900 meters away. So we followed the map, tried to anyway.
As we headed to the back side of the Colosseum a small car drove up and asked us for directions! Image that, asking us, who are already lost, for directions. I told him I had no idea where I was let alone where he was going, but he insisted I come to the car and at least tell him, on the map, where we are. The bait was tossed and the hook was set.
So we chatted a bit and he told us he was from Italy working the fashion industry in Milan and was on his way back from some designer show. He chatted us some more to really sink the hook and then gave me a leather jacket that was a sample from the show! I pulled it our of the bag and it actually was a nice jacket. Next he handed a leather bag to Cathy. This was also seemingly very nice. Again the bag was a sample and he had no use for them so he
wanted to thank us. Does anyone see where this is going yet?
I should have known better. Next came the reeling in. He told us the goods were a gift but he would be grateful if we could spare some money for gas. You see he had maxed out his credit cards boozing and entertaining all night and he needed money for gas back to Milan. I have no resistance at all, so I whipped out first 10 E, he asked for a little more, then another 10 E and once again asked for a little more. A total of 50 E later he was gone and I had a leather jacket and Cathy a leather purse. OK I got taken I am sure.
Back to Nero. Google maps kept taking us in circles. Up one hill and down another only to tell us to turn around and go back up the same hill we just came down Frustrated, we spotted a nun walking with another nun and an older lady.So I stopped them and asked the younger nun where it was. She had no idea. The very old nun, who spoke no English indicated she Knew where
the house was. Fortunately the younger nun did speak English and provided a translation.. We were told to go down a certain path, follow it around and we would come to the location in 10 minutes. OK we tried that idea, nada.
We then stopped a man and his dogs, surely he lived nearby and would know exactly where it was. Sure enough, he did. "Just go down this road, through the gate and walk up the hill and it is on your left." We followed his directions precisely and once again, nada.
Next we saw an old man reading the newspaper on a bench, surely he would be our savior, and yes he was. We were a mere 75 feet from the entrance to our goal. He even walked us half way just to make sure we would not get lost. We thanked him profusely and took the final turn on our own, only to find a locked gate. They are only open on the weekend. Oh well all for naught.
Back to the bus we next exited near the Victor Emmanuel Memorial. For those who do not know their Italian history, Victor was the first
to unite Italy all under one flag. It was a big deal and his memorial is indeed grand enough to show how big a deal it was. We passed the memorial every time we come to Italy but never visited up close. Today would be different. We exited the bus, and began the walk up step after step to the back plaza, behind the memorial. There we saw several museums, and beautiful statues replete with a fountain.
We walked around, admiring the sites when I noticed the stairs to the memorial itself was open. Now for me this was a big treat. For Cathy, not so much. She was hot, tired and in no mood for steps. So she hit a bench in the shade and I the steps. Up I went, 145 steps later, I was at the top of the memorial and was given a chance of a lifetime to marvel at the panoramic views of Rome. For me it was worth the climb and I have the photos to prove it.
Next, we heard that a recent discovery by the French Archaeological Society pinpointed the exact site of the assignation of Julius Caesar. Cathy teaches this epic in school, Wouldn't it be cool to have a photo of the spot? Let the search begin!
Back to Google search I put in the information and out comes a spot only 900 meters away, sound familiar? We followed the directions precisely, this time with a much better outcome. There before us was a plaque pinpointing the spot under a now grown pine tree was the exact location of histories most famous murder. Several photos later we were walking back toward the bus, much happier for the journey.
It was nearly noon and time for lunch. We took the bus to the Trevi Fountain stop and got off to see the fountain and of course get some Gelato at our favorite store. Chris and Rick I am sure both remember this particular store for we stopped with them there as kids. we saw the fountain, took the obligatory photos and headed off in search of lunch.
We decided to get away from the crowds and took one side street after another until we found a quiet restaurant that had a lunch special, pasta, wine and coffee 12E. A great deal. We sat down and enjoyed an excellent presentation of pasta bolognese with the house red. Delicious.
We walked around some more and found the Spanish Steps which led from the Spanish Consulate to Plaza de Spagna. The place was packed. We took some photos, walked around some more then headed back to the bus stop and a return to the hotel for a much needed shower and rest. In a few hours we will begin our tour.
By the way I checked online about the jacket and the hand bag. The jacket is an Andrea Lee and sells for $125 retail. The bag is an INT Company leather bag ans sells for $50 so maybe we got ripped off or maybe we got lucky, who knows
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