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Published: June 24th 2011
Early morning view from the hotel
We loved opening the windows and shutters in the morning and letting in some fresh air and city sounds
Rome in the morning is full of wonderful sights and sounds. We love opening the windows and shutters of our hotel room to let the fresh air and city noises in. The bread trucks, church bells, horns and scooter engines add to the excitement as we get ready for the day.
Today was my treat. Mum gave me a bike tour of Rome for my birthday and we had organised it for the morning, thinking it might be a little cooler and give us time to do other things in the afternoon. We headed down to Bici e Baci near Piazza della Republica, and waited for Alessandra our guide. It was just to be our family, but at the last moment a lovely couple from Belgium, Wim and Natalie, joined us. They had left their children at home but were very kind to ours! Although Hugo rides really well, he is not used to hand brakes, so with Rome traffic being as it is, we opted to put him in a seat behind Frank. Great decision. The tour was just fantastic. We saw more in 4 hours than we saw over a day by ourselves, and it was wonderful to
A hidden Lane on the bike ride
This lane was full of art galleries and the water fight fountain!
just follow the guide with the breeze cooling us down, rather than stopping to consult a map every 5 minutes. We rode up little laneways and discovered wonderful nooks and crannies of the city that we went back to explore further later. There were plenty of water fountains to fill up our bottles, and at one beautiful little spot the children had a massive water fight - I think they might vote that a favourite moment. Of course we saw the major spots as well - Piazza Navona, The Qurinale, Piazza del Popolo, Campo di Fiori, The Monument to Victor Emmanuel which contained an eternal flame, and The Colosseum. Our legs held out easily, and the last 5 minutes contained about the only uphill stretch.
After saying good-bye to Alessandra, we went to a great restaurant built around Roman ruins which she had recommended. It looked like something out of a TV set, but it was authentic! We all ate well, then set off to see Ancient Rome - The Forum, Palatine Hill and The Colosseum. Hugo kicked his footy around Palatine Hill, much to the amusement of many tourists, and there was yet another water fight at yet
another fountain. The views over the ruins were wonderful, and we found a few shady spots to sit and enjoy them. Legs were tired by the time we entered the Colosseum, so after that it was into a taxi and home to freshen up for dinner.
We had spotted a lovely restaurant down a lane on our bike ride, so after a rest, we walked down to check out the area and decide where to eat. Street sellers in the Piazza del Popolo had amazing spinning toys that lit up in the night sky, so we all had fun taking marks with a couple I bought for the children. After sitting down at the restaurant, we were amused to find that it was vegetarian Nothing on the menu really grabbed us, but we were so tired and hungry that we just ordered something as fuel. Well, what a surprise! It was truly the most magnificent meal we had in Rome, and there was nothing bland about it, which is a criticism of most vegetarian restaurants I'd been to at home. Everybody was pleased with what they had ordered, and the children could play with their toys in the laneway
Night time at the Colosseum
We kept Hugo awake long enough to see this!
without fear of being run over! After it was finished we wandered home (Hugo asleep on Frank's back) in the balmy night, truly ready for sleep, but the lights were too tempting so we quickly jumped into a cab for one last look at the sights of Rome at night. Our cab driver was 85, and the best driver we'd had! He was telling us he'd been driving cabs in Rome for 69 years. As we drove past the Colosseum he slowed down to a crawl, allowing the children to take in the wonder of all those archways lit up in the night sky. Truly magnificent.
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