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Published: June 20th 2011
Well, we walked our feet off today. After leaving the hotel, it was only a short stroll to the top of the street to the Spanish steps (Spagna). At 8am there were hardly any people there, but it was already hot! We met a gladiator along the way, and had been warned to negotiate first before taking a photo - good tip.
I loved cutting through gorgeous Via Frattina and window shopping, as there was no time at all for the real thing! (Note to self: don't forget to allocate shopping day next time you plan a trip!). Green is the big colour at the moment, and the Roman women with their dark skin and hair wear it well.
We we took our lives in our hands every time we crossed the street - the drivers truly are mad, but I love every minute of it. Every time we turn a corner there is something to marvel at. It really is the most magnificent city. We wound our way along tiny lanes (Hugo with footy in hand), not really sure if we were going the right way but having fun all the same, until suddenly the lanes coverged onto
a square and there in front of us stood The Pantheon. We spent some time wandering inside, and wondered about the sunlight making a wolf's head appear on the dome. More on that later. By then it was approaching the time that our room would be ready and we were all dying for a shower, so we headed back. Guess what? They had upgraded us to a suite, and much to the children's delight, there was a huge, oval shaped spa bath next to our bed, with a big walk through shower above it. They had never seen such luxury! It was cool, quiet and we were able to open the double glazed windows and shutters to see the street life below. Church bells were ringIng out a tune I knew from somewhere and by the end of the day we were all humming along. I had stopped at Vodafone for another attempt at getting sim cards that would make my phone and computer work on the way back, but to no avail. It was our first experience of not-so-efficient Rome. After an hour I sent Frank and the children off so they didn't waste more time, and Iwaited another
hour. It is amazing how lost I felt without a phone or computer, especially as many of my notes for the trip,contact details and reservation numbers are on it.
After settling in, we wandered again - this time to a restaurant recommended by the hotel ( very average food, sadly), and then down towards the Plaza della Republica via Piazza Barberini and the Fontana del Tritone. Fountains are everywhere, and the water is cool and fresh and usually drinkable. The highlight for the chIldren in the afternoon was the Time Elevator show, which I had booked from Australia. We sat in a moving chariot as we learned about Rome through the ages - a great way to get a taste of the history before tackling Ancient Rome tomorrow. I hate rats, and nearly jumped out of my skin when we got to the Great Plague of Rome as a rat brushed against my leg - the family says I screamed out loud, but I'm denying it. There were even water effects which were very welcome on such a hot day.
Everybody was flagging a little on the walk afterwards, but the lure of our first gelati in Italy
pushed us on to "La Palma". Street sellers appeared from nowhere as we were hit by a heavy rainstorm, and we got our first souvenir - an enormous umbrella! La Palma was an experience - packed with families and businessmen alike, and almost too many flavours to choose from. We managed though. I loved the magnificent butcher across the way, and tried to think of ways I could transport some of the incredible delicacies to our next stop - which will have cooking facilities. Common sense prevailed and I took a photo of the window instead.
We all bounced back to the hotel for rest before heading out yet again for a walk to the Trevi Fountain. We were pleased that the children had lasted so well after the long flight, but our photos are funny - Hugo could barely keep his eyes open. It doesn't get dark here until about 9pm, and even then the light is magnificent - deep blue sky. Nobody felt like dinner - it was straight to bed at about 11pm.
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