Italy with the Family Day 9: The Family Begins to Arrive for Forum Fun

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July 2nd 2014
Published: July 2nd 2014
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Yay! Andrew and Erika came today!!! Their flight was due in at 7:30 and using our experience as a guide, we thought they would take about 2 hours to clear passport control and gather luggage and arrive at the hotel. Imagine our surprise when Erika texted at 8:10, said they had found the man who was sent to pick them up and they were on their way. Yikes! We’d better move! We were downstairs by 8:55 and they arrived at just about 9:00. They were a little tired but their goal was to stay up for as much of the day as possible to jumpstart that European schedule. Their room wasn’t ready yet, so we took their luggage up to our room (they and two suitcases fit in the 4-person elevator—I should have taken a picture!) and went down for breakfast. They said the flight was good although they were sitting in the center section right by the bathroom, and Erika said that every time the bathroom door opened, it banged into her seat. Yikes! Andrew slept for about 5 hours (that kid has always been able to sleep anywhere) and Erika supposed she got a couple hours of sleep so they were game to go. They took showers in our room (their room wasn’t ready yet) and then we met downstairs. Mark had some work to finish up so Andrew, Erika and I went out to explore the neighborhood a bit. I was looking for a bank that would change money but since we are out from the center of Rome, the banks I tried said they only did that for people with accounts. Oh well. The ATM card would have been the way to go after all. Live and learn. We went to a grocery store where Andrew got some Coke Light and I got a bottle of water, some fruit, cheese and a bottle of wine for our room. I brought the fruit up to the check-out stand and quickly learned that you had to have the person in the produce section weigh and put a bar code on it. I retraced my steps and took care of that (much to the chagrin of the woman in line behind Andrew) but I don’t think my faux pas caused her more than about a 45 minute delay. I mean, this was an Italian “super” market, nor Wal-Mart. It was maybe slightly larger than your average Dollar Tree. We walked back across the street and Mark was ready to go and, good news, the Young Elgerts room was ready, directly across the hall from ours. We got their stuff transferred over and then headed out to their number one site on their wish list: the Roman Forum and Colosseum.

We caught the number 3 tram heading towards the ancient district. At one point on the tram trip, we crossed underneath a section of the aqueduct and from that point onward, we were in ancient Rome. The tram trip took about 30 minutes and we got to sit most of the way. We got off at Palatine Hill because I had read that the ticket for the Colosseum and Forum were a combo ticket that included those two sites and Palatine Hill and that the Palatine Hill entrance was much less crowded. We pretty much walked right up and got our tickets, strolled around Palatine Hill which has ruins of aqueducts, houses and temples and at the top, a great view of the Colosseum. We wanted to leave and get lunch but the Forum and Palatine Hill were one entry so we went to the forum instead. That was really interesting, and Andrew, Latin scholar that he is, knew much of the history and significance of this site. At one point he had told us something about the forum and then a sign appeared. Mark read it and said, “That’s pretty much what Andrew said.” Smart boy, that one! The forum is really interesting with many buildings and remains of buildings that were the settings for much of what took place during the height of Rome. Andrew was in his element, reading the Latin inscriptions and just soaking it all in. Erika was busy snapping pictures, and I think we must have each said at least a dozen times, “This is amazing!”

We left the forum at about 3:00 and went to a little place across the street for lunch. It was above average for primarily catering to the tourist trade. That was a plus! After lunch we went to the Colosseum. The line to buy tickets was at least 200 people but we were in the “already have tickets” line and sailed right in. The Colosseum has much better markings to indicate what we were looking at. We started our visit on the top level which gave us great views of the entire structure. It is amazing (as I said before) that people nearly 2000 years ago had the engineering know-how to build such a mammoth structure. There was a museum display which showed an artists rendering of what the Colosseum looked like in the day. There were also explanations of what went on there, the most horrific to me being sending unarmed, condemned prisoners into the forum to battle with wild animals. Andrew also said that the floor of the stalls underneath where the floor was in the forum was covered with sand; easier to soak up the blood. Nice! We spent a good hour in the Colosseum and then made our way back to the tram stop. It was not that hot—although it was hot, it just could have been much worse. The iPhone said it was 77 degrees, we all said it had to at least be in the mid 80s but the asphalt-covered tram stop had a different tale: the tar in the asphalt was melting. That sun is some serious sun!

We got back to the hotel at about 6:00. At one point on the tram ride, I looked around and Andrew, Erika and Mark were all sleeping. I thought, “I’d better stay awake or who knows where we’ll end up!” Andrew and Erika wanted to get cleaned up so we met for dinner at 7:30. We had looked for a local pizza place and I found one on Yelp! that looked good but it lied when it told me how far away it was. Due to distance and tired peeps—and that would be all of us—we opted for Taverna Rossini, the place we had dinner our first night here over a week ago. Tonight we started with suppli which are the rice balls we tried last night. I have to say, I think these were better than the ones from the food tour. We each ordered pizzas and talked about our favorite parts of the day. Andrew loved the forum and just how much history is here and Erika liked the Colosseum and was surprised at how big it was. We made it an early night so they could get some much needed sleep, Mark could check on a few more work things and I could upload pictures to Facebook and get the blog updated.

Tomorrow we are doing the Pristine Sistine so we have to be out of the hotel at about 6:55. No rest for the weary. But we don’t need rest. That’s what day 4 of the cruise is all about!


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