London, Rome, & Heart of Europe

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April 22nd 2019
Published: April 22nd 2019
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The goal today was to get to Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon. We had a great breakfast at McDonald's! Its fun to go to another country and see what fast food restaurants are there and how their menu might differ. I kept telling Shealyn and Marsha that McD's had a great ham and cheese breakfast sandwich when we were here before and it was still on the menu today! It is called a ham and cheese toast! They had all kinds of pastries and various coffee drinks but the most unusual item was a ham and cheese deep fried bite! It was excellent. What we loved was that the McCafe drinks were served in real dishes it you ate there.

Once breakfast was over we headed toward the bus stop. Each day we have to walk about a mile to get to the bus stop. Most days we get distracted along the way. Today there were various tents and carts set up near the Vatican selling souvenirs. Of course we had to stop and look. It made our walk take a little longer!

On our way to the bus we heard someone say that the Pantheon would close early because it was Easter Monday. We only had about 40 minutes to get there! What is amazing about Rome is that you have to walk all kinds of little streets and alleys to get to the historical sites. All along those alleys are restaurants, souvenir shops, dress shops, gelato......its vey difficult to focus on where we are going!. First thing Shealyn notices a shop that sells beautiful Silk scarves. Next up I hear music playing and have to find the source. There is an older gentleman playing a hammered dulcimer. The music is beautiful. I'll try to post the video I took. Suddenly I look at my watch and realize we only have 10 minutes before the Pantheon closes. We take off in a dead run hurry inside hoping they don't throw us out. It is beautiful!

The Pantheon was a former Roman temple but is now a church. It was completed and probably dedicated in 126 AD. It is one of the best preserved buildings in all of Rome because it has been in continuous used. Since the 7th century the Pantheon has been used as a church. Its dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. It was interesting to note the dome is open and below it are holes in the floor to get rid of any water from the rain. It started raining just as we went inside and I could feel droplets of rain on my head as we were taking pictures.

Once leaving the Pantheon we went on search of gelato. Grant (Shealyn's brother) was here a few years ago and had the very best gelato near the Pantheon. Of course Shealyn decided to call him for was 1:00 pm here...7:00 am there. He wasn't real talkative but I got an idea of where to go. We had our gelato and headed down another narrow street thinking we were just going around the block...not so! We didn't know exactly where we were but we were so glad we went the way we did! We found the most intriguing woman cutting out coins. I watched her work for a while, asked f I could take her picture, and proceeded to purchase a few coins. Refer to the pictures I included in this blog.

We were tired!! We weren't sure where the next bus stop was and it was raining pretty good, so we decided to duck in to a little café and have lunch. This is the first day since leaving the USA that we had both breakfast and lunch. Shealyn and I shared a pizza. Marsha had a sandwich. The food was outstanding but the best part was we got ice for our drinks. Now if you don't care about the ice in your drinks then this place is for you. If you're like the three of us you really miss not getting ice. Our waiter today was very generous with the ice! Getting to the bathroom was a little challenging. This bathroom was through the restaurant and downstairs. Now that doesn't sound so bad, but the stairs were circular and narrow. Its interesting to note that many of the bathrooms are unisex....both men and women using the same bathrooms and share the same hand washing stations.

From our lunch spot facing Piazza Venezia, we walked to what we thought was the next bus stop which we thought would be stop 5. Instead of being bus stop 5, it was bus stop 15. What happens is the bus stops on its way around Piazza and then stops again on its second time around. Piazza Venezia is really the central hub of Rome in which several roads intersect. There is an incredible amount of traffic and bus traffic. It is a short walk to several sites, so it is very busy. We were tired and thought we'd ride to the next stop which was Trevi Fountain. Instead we had to ride clear around the loop to get there. It was okay as we were tired and needed to get off our feet!

Once we got off the bus at the Trevi Fountain stop is was raining pretty good. We stopped under an awning of a shop and I noticed it was Café Roma. Anyone who has been to New York City with me knows that Caffe Roma is one o my favorite cafes! Of course this one is not related. We found our way to the fountain and it was packed with people. We worked our way through the crowd so we could get pictures and throw in our coins.

Trevi Fountain is a large fountain in Trevi district in Rome. It is the fountain at the junction of three roads (tre vie). It marks the point of one of the aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome. The majority of it is made from travertine stone and it was finished in 1762. Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of he most famous fountain in the world. It has appeared in many movies...probably the most notable was "Three Coins in a Fountain". According to the movie you should throw three coins in Trevi. Another legend is if you throw a coin from you r right hand over your left shoulder you will return to Rome. I'm not sure we did it right but we did it!

We then walked to The Spanish Steps not too far from Trevi. The Spanish Steps were also made popular by starring in movies. If you walk them all there are 174 steps. Today is was raining pretty hard and it was very crowded. Shealyn walked part of them. Marsha and I stood at the bottom and took pictures. Another half mile walk and we were back at the bus stop. It was late and we hoped a bus would be running. The hop off hop on busses usually stop running at about 6 pm. If you are lucky you will catch one finishing its last un and get back to your hotel. We were so happy to see one of our buses pulling up to the curb! Remember that we still have to walk a mile or so to get back to our hotel.

While we were walking to the bus this morning we spied a place we wanted to try for dinner. I took a picture of the place because I was sure we wouldn't find it in the evening. Thank goodness I took the picture. We found our way to the restaurant and had another wonderful diner. We haven't had any bad food since we started this trip! Fortunately it was a short walk back to our apartment.

Who knows what tomorrow holds. I'd like to walk back to the Vatican. We have to pack as tomorrow is our last day/night in Rome. We have a steak place we want to try for dinner. We just have to find our way there. So Good night all!

Additional photos below
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