Our Days of Roamin' end in Rome

Italy's flag
Europe » Italy » Lazio
November 3rd 2016
Published: November 4th 2016
Edit Blog Post

Total Distance: 0 miles / 0 kmMouse: 0,0

Matera to Rome

Rome - Trevi FountainRome - Trevi FountainRome - Trevi Fountain

Shot without the crowds
Day 276 Thursday 20th October 2016 – Matera to Rome

Awoke to fog over the town and threw everything into our bags, we have a taxi booked for 7.20am and thankfully decided to go down at 7.10 which is when we heard a horn beep and yes it was our taxi. We grabbed our bags and are lucky we got a taxi as the terminal was a completely different one than the two we know and a bit further than the one we were dropped at. We are getting Marozza Buses which have a direct bus at 7.45am to Rome which takes 6 hours, with a good 15 minute stop halfway at a café/shop/toilet.

When picking our hotel in Rome we had chosen one near the Termini station as it was also where the main bus station was but wouldn’t you know it the bus we got dumped us miles away at the Tiburtina terminal but thankfully this was near a metro station. Unfortunately, the trains were not running too regularly today and we ended up on a packed train to the Termini station, which is generally okay except when you have a
Rome - Museo Nazionale RomanoRome - Museo Nazionale RomanoRome - Museo Nazionale Romano

Detail of the Bronze Boxer
huge backpack on your back and everytime you move you are knocking people off their feet – “mi scusi”. Once we got to the Termini station it was only a short walk to our hotel. Well Scott has been suffering from “Mary and Baby Jesus overload syndrome” of late and I have promised that I would not inflict another painting of them on him till we get to the Vatican where he will hit the motherload. You wouldn’t believe it our hotel room has not one but two paintings of them hanging over the bed – so sad seeing a grown man weep.

The pictures make it easy to get Scott out the door and so walked around getting our bearings of the immediate neighbourhood before stopping at 6.00pm for a drink and early dinner we are both a bit famished as missed breakfast and didn’t get anything at the bus stop, silly us. The restaurant is OK but the staff are friendly and funny so a good place to stop.

Day 277 Friday 21st October 2016 –Rome

“All roads lead to Rome” is a
Rome - Trajan’s ColumnRome - Trajan’s ColumnRome - Trajan’s Column

Close up of the details
great statement on the engineering prowess of the Roman empire at its peak. A bonus that came about by having a huge army that was equipped with engineers and shovels that every Traveller in Europe can benefit from. The “Roman way” was a curse for early opponents but a bonanza for future generations, and as travellers it seems appropriate that our days of travelling should conclude at the ultimate destination – Rome.

If you follow cliches, the great cities of the world reads like this Paris, London, New York, Rome. Shelley has seen three of these but I only need to see one and it is the eternal city of Rome, this is the city that has reshaped itself endlessly and has dominated history like no other. Viewing the sightseeing options of this city is mesmerising and although we have planned to be here a week it is hard to take it all in and still feel chilled. Had planned on hitting the grand sights of the Colosseum and Forum straight up but it seemed silly to hit the epicentre straight up so we decided to take a long walk around town looking at the lesser but
Rome - Pyramid of Cestius Rome - Pyramid of Cestius Rome - Pyramid of Cestius

The Pyramid and parts of the old Roman Wall
grand sites instead, this is what we saw over a 6 hour walk.

1. Palazzo Albani Diana, Il Tevere, L’Arno – which is just a busy small intersection that has a fountain on each corner built into a building. It was built in 1588 – 1593 and apparently the original idea was for a fountain in the middle but because the traffic was so bad they decided that it was best to not do a centre fountain, most critics agree that the work is mediocre at best and we tend to agree.

2. Fontana Dei Dioscur fountain is a huge fountain that we stumbled across and apparently the original was built in 1588 but was somehow lost and the one you see today was built in 1818. Still unsure how you lose a 100 tonnes of horrible sculptured marble, or why you have the desire to replace it?

3. Colonna di Marco Aurelio one of the great uses of combining Marble, art and military propaganda. Erected in 193AD it is a mimic of Trajans column (see below) and is an absolute masterpiece.

4. Pantheon. Well where do we

Photo friendly seagull
start – it’s the Pantheon what more should be said other than it is perhaps one of the grandest buildings ever built. Hadrian commissioned the building in 126AD and it is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. The Pantheon started out as a Pagan temple but was converted into a church which perhaps saved it for eternity. Hard to describe what it feels like standing in this enormous space, even with another million obnoxious tourists, but this space is special. Spent ages here feeling the energy and then discovered the grave of the great Ninja Turtle Raphael was buried here, sort of wished they had incorporated a pond or something for him.

5. Piazza Navona which used to be the huge stadium of Domitian where Saint Agnes was put to death. Today it has been paved over and is overrun with selfie sticks. In the centre is a huge fountain which apparently personifies the four great rivers of the world (Nile, Danube, Murray and Hawkesbury), but to me it looks like 4 large marble guys with water running out their butts.

6. Stumbled upon the Basilica di saint Andrea della Valle
Rome - Mausoleum of Hadrian Rome - Mausoleum of Hadrian Rome - Mausoleum of Hadrian

Mausoleum/castle with Tiber
which is a long name for an ugly church. Grand is an understatement but the décor is still a bit over the top and the painted ceilings and walls are way overdone, or perhaps we have seen way too much of this stuff. The dome in this church used to be the third largest in Rome but unsure if it still holds the title.

7. Further down the street we stumbled upon the Area Sacra dell’ Argentina which is an area that Mussolini ordered excavated back in the 1930’s. Destroying mediaeval buildings uncovered ancient temples and the Curia of the Theatre of Pompey where Julius Caesar was killed. Such a nerd for history, just hard to believe overlooking a spot in history that is so significant – goosebumps.

8. Statua Vittorio Emanuelle II Emmanuel II") or Il Vittoriano, is a monument built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, that is just one of the world’s largest white marble monuments, it also is the final resting place for Italy’s unknown soldier. People either love or hate this grandiose edifice, but I personally think it is beautiful and spectacular, way grander than
Rome - Area Sacra dell’ ArgentinaRome - Area Sacra dell’ ArgentinaRome - Area Sacra dell’ Argentina

Julius Caesar was murdered here
I could have ever imagined.

9. Last on the day’s list of sites was my favourite – Trajan’s Column. Erected in 113AD this column tells in marble the victories of the Emperor Trajan in a spiral picture story fashioned up the column. Similar to the Colonna di Marco Aurelio we had seen earlier today but created 80 years earlier, Trajan’s Column is regarded as one the world’s greatest historical pieces and has revealed so much about Roman life, and warfare. Few historical pieces have spoken so much that it was sort of weird to stand in front of it gawking at its marble excellence.

Well after so much history and so much splendour we just had to get a drink. Rome isn’t exactly filled with cheap bars and we ended up walking all the way home and going to the restaurant we had a feed at last night because it had the cheapest beers in town. Large beers here are $4.50 Euros whilst everywhere else we saw them at between 5 -6.50 Euros and it seemed the “Irish Pubs” were the dearest. For dinner we picked up a load of cut Salamis and cheese
Rome - ColosseumRome - ColosseumRome - Colosseum

Inside looking into the subterranean floor area
at the nearby deli along with a bottle of Rose and had a feast back in our room.

Day 278 Saturday 22nd October 2016 –Rome

Aahhh Roma, what can I say other than this city is magnificent. Awoke with a head full of thoughts of what sites we should see today as well as a huge pain from all the wine and beer we drank last night. After breakfast which consisted of lots of coffee we hit the streets and first on the agenda and the main attraction today was the Museo Nazionale Romano. This is not a huge museum but it contains a great collection that covers the Classic period of Rome from about the first century BC to about the 3rd Century AD. An absolute Marble fest with 60 percent of the exhibits being Marble heads or marble torsos without heads. It wasn’t till this trip that we discovered that the reason there are so many more heads to torsos is that they often changed the heads on the torsos and threw the old ones away, and on lots of statues you can see how the heads are
Rome - ColosseumRome - ColosseumRome - Colosseum

External view
the wrong size, or just look odd and this is because they were not the original head.

The absolute masterpiece in the museum is the bronze statue called “the Boxer” which was cast somewhere between 350 BC to 50 BC and is so lifelike that it is hard to believe how old it is. Nearby was another bronze of an athlete cast at the same time that was beyond lifelike complete with popping veins in the hand – stunning work. Once again I cannot believe how people carry on about the Italian Renaissance work when to me art was at its peak a thousand years and more before. The second floor of the building contained frescos, stuccos and mosaics salvaged from Roman villas. The colours and themes were stunning and I was left wondering why I need to paint my house every few years when this paintwork has lasted 2 thousand years?

Another great display was about the Caligula Barges that were recovered from Lake Nemi in the 1930’s. the emperor Caligula had two barges constructed that were 20 metres wide and 70 metres long and had marble buildings sitting on them. Both sank
Rome - Trevi FountainRome - Trevi FountainRome - Trevi Fountain

Oh the crowds - 3000 Euros and counting
in the lake and after several failed attempts to salvage them the lake was drained over 4 years from 1926 to 1930 so they could be recovered. Unfortunately, in 1944 they caught fire and were destroyed in their specially built museum and to this day it is unsure if the retreating German army set them on fire or if it was caused by American artillery hits. The museum still contains lots of the bronze bits and pieces that survived from the barges – fascinating stuff. As we moved around the museum we came across some other very strange people including one guy that literally was photographing every single piece and description in a hurry and another guy photographing a video on a TV screen.

As you can guess we both absolutely loved this museum and it was nice that we were able to avoid any religious paintings as we are yet to hit the motherload in a few days, but somehow Shelley thought we needed to get a sneak peek and so we headed down to the Basilica di Santa Mara Maggiore, which is a huge overblown Baroque nightmare, and had us both bleeding from the eyes as we left. Have to visit the Vatican in a few days but after that I never want to see gold and marble mixed ever again.

Been a tiring day for these two people so had a short rest at home before returning to our usual restaurant where we were treated like royalty and they had left the best table for us even though we hadn’t told them we were returning. Had actually wanted to eat somewhere else as it is nice to try other places but just haven’t seen anything that seems less touristy in this area – might get a kebab tomorrow night.

Day 279 Sunday 23rd October 2016 –Rome

Today is shopping day well a visit to the markets at Porta Portese so hopped on the metro for 4 stops down the rail. Since we are heading this way we swung by the Pyramid of Cestius that was built for Gaius Cestius in 18-12BC, it is made of brick and concrete covered with white marble and stands about 37 metres high. Later the monument was incorporated into the Aurelian Walls probably to save time
Rome - Trajan’s ColumnRome - Trajan’s ColumnRome - Trajan’s Column

My favourite Roman Piece
and materials building.

Then onto the huge markets which if I lived here I would be here every Sunday so many bags, shoes, vintage clothes and everything else. We wandered, were shoved, pushed and fell over every dog and person from Rome. We both could have brought so much, what a good market but in the end I (Shelley) only got one handbag, though we did see so many “special presents for family” like pipes and that interesting 1970’s record of Italian greatest hits.

We were so close to the Hole of Rome we stopped for a peek through the key hole which sounds a bit perverse but is literally a key hole in the gate of Villa del Priorato di Malta the Knights of Malta (Knights of St. John Hospitaler). When you look through the key hole you see a line of trees that perfectly frame the dome of St. Peter’s, most people only need a quick look so the line moves quickly, so grumpy pants handled it pretty well.

Walked onto Circo Massimo and along the ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and I swear I kept thinking I heard chariots bearing down on me or was it the scooters trying to run me over on the roads that has made me jumpy.

A short walk down the road we found La Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth) and there was no way Scott would join the line which was not only long but also included most people taking multiple photos in all sorts of angles meaning this line hardly moved. I also felt that maybe my makeup/wardrobe artists had let me down today and I was not ready for “my close up Mr. DeMille”.

Now as we turned the corner the Colosseum was in front of us which we have not scheduled for today but you cannot miss it so had a gawk as we walked passed, while I reminded Scott this is the end point of all the Roman roads that we have visited in our journeys. Then walking through the park opposite to see the ruins of the huge Trajan baths which were started in 104AD and accommodated hundreds of people, I just think they liked to get naked together. Some of the local teenagers seemed to be embracing the old
Rome - Spanish StepsRome - Spanish StepsRome - Spanish Steps

Good luck getting a crowd free shot here
ways with some very intimate displays happening in the park.

“Oh Mickey your so fine” well maybe not, visited Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli the 5th Century church which has Michelangelo’s Moses statue, it got some unusual comments like “he is very muscular” and “he is well built” from other tourists, a little odd. Don’t believe this is one of his better works but what do I know. This church also “contains” the chains that held St Peter hence the name of the church.

Well after a hard day on the road a drink is required so stopped for a beer on the way back.

Day 280 Monday 24th October 2016 –Rome

Seen a lot of Roman ruins in our travels and today we are seeing the source of all that marble and engineering. First on the agenda is the Numero Uno Roman site - the Colosseum. Actually called the Flavian amphitheater, it was completed in 80 AD over what had been a huge manmade lake/pool built by Nero. 52 metres high 188 metres long and able to hold 73,000 spectators,
Rome - Pantheon Rome - Pantheon Rome - Pantheon

External Façade
this is one huge structure and what makes it even more incredible is all the passageways allowing easy access and exit for the people, a really remarkable piece of architecture. In the early days the arena could be filled with water so naval battles could be recreated, but the colosseum was eventually redesigned with a vast and elaborate underground system to allow the movement of people and animals. You stand and marvel and you are soon in absolute awe at this incredible structure but then you do remember what its purpose was, and it is hard to comprehend the level of death that was sponsored here. 9,000 wild animals were killed during the inaugural games and then later Emperor Trajan is said to have celebrated his victories in Dacia in 107AD with contests involving 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators over the course of 123 days. Wholesale death and bloodshed was the sole purpose of this building, but today it is selfies, and smiles. The one fact today that I found surprising is that there is only one recorded instance of a Christian being murdered here, and it was some poor soul who was done for treason and fed to the wild
Rome - Pantheon Rome - Pantheon Rome - Pantheon

The Amazing Dome

Spent a good couple of hours wandering around this incredible structure before moving onto the next stage of Roman History. Next door to the Colosseum is the Palatine hill which is covered in successive layers of Emperor homes and baths. Another thing I have learnt today is that the Roman Emperors didn’t mind splashing out on themselves and it is best revealed on the Palatine. The size and scope of the personnel baths and homes on this hill are incredible. Nothing much remains to show the splendour of the buildings as most have been stripped to the bear bricks but the vastness is staggering. Wandered around the Palatine hills for ages before moving down the hill to the Roman Forum.

Seen the photos, read the stories but to be here was amazing, incredible, sensational, but mainly overwhelming. After all we have already seen today it was hard to absorb the enormity of being in the Roman world epicenter. Triumphal arches, the temple of Saturn, the remains of the massive (and I mean massive) Basilica of Maxentius, the temple of Vesta, with the house of the Vestal Virgins next door, and the Curia Iulia where the Roman senate met – this is real history and we were standing in it. Of course we were here with thousands of others but we trod the streets where the Emperors walked and the barbarians ran, fantastic experience.

Our heads were swimming as we left and on our long walk home we stopped for a beer in an effort to absorb and talk through what we had seen today. An incredible day and one I will never forget. Both didn’t feel like yet another pizza or pasta tonight so found a dodgy Indian kebab store for dinner, perhaps we had just overloaded way too much on Roma today.

Day 281 Tuesday 25th October 2016 –Rome

Wow, yesterday was HUGE and awoke with my mind still swimming with so much history, and today we were going to back it up with a HUGE dose of religion. Being a dedicated Jedi I fully understand the force of religion and the power it has of doing good and bad. Catholicism depending if you are Catholic or not is the ultimate good in the universe or the

The Hole of Rome
cauldron of evil, being a Jedi allows me to see the good and bad of this religion, and allows me to accept it for the good it does but understand that it will never reach the purity of the Force. Firmly believe that generally religion is ruined by the people who worship and run it (ie Humans ruin everything). Despite being a practicing Jedi (I watch a Star Wars movie every day), I have been really looking forward to visiting the Vatican today, I just find places of worship so fascinating.

Did our usual breakfast and was out the door at 10 and walked up to the Termini metro station where we were met with a huge scrum of work day Italians off to work and tourists off to visit the Vatican. The first train took ten minutes to arrive and was packed so waited for the next one. 5 minutes later and it was still packed so waited for one more. Next one arrived 3 minutes later and we were able to squeeze on for the 10 minute journey to the Metro station closest to the Vatican. Got out of the train station and didn’t need

Looking through the Hole of Rome
to look at the GPS or map to work out which way to walk as the entire route was lined with people selling Vatican tours. Today we are just visiting St Peters Square and Basilica and tomorrow we are hitting the Vatican Museums so it was just a quick walk down the road till we hit the hugely impressive St Peters Square. Bit of a line up to go through security which was more adhoc than your usual airport security but glad there was a little bit. Just before entering the basilica we noticed we could buy tickets for the Vatican Museums tomorrow and decided to do that now and save some time tomorrow as that is apparently one of the world’s largest scrums.

From here we entered St Peters Basilica – what can I say, well let’s start with statistics. And to begin with lets state the least known fact and that is that St Peters is not the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, this title is held by the St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome, and in fact St Peters isn’t even a cathedral. There has been a church on
Rome - La Bocca della Verita Rome - La Bocca della Verita Rome - La Bocca della Verita

A quick photo between group shots
this site since the 4th century AD but construction on the present St Peters was started on 18th April 1506 and was completed on 18th November 1626 – yes that’s right 120 years!!- the death star was built quicker. It is the largest Christian Church building in the world, the second tallest building in Rome and it still continues to hold the title of the tallest dome in the world. This building is huge.

Interior is fitted out with an odd mixture of styles and statues with perhaps the greatest piece of art being The Pietà by Michelangelo. Can appreciate the amazing proportions and lifelike features of this statue but for me I would have liked to have seen Mary a bit more grief stricken at holding her dead son. The marble inlaid floor is sublime, the ceiling is high but most of the adornments and finishings leave you feeling slightly cold. Spent over an hour walking around inside (along with perhaps 10,000 others) trying to get a sense of the spiritual space but didn’t quiet feel the Force. Normally crowds like this would drive me mad but as the great Yoda once said “beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will”.

Rome - ForumRome - ForumRome - Forum

Classic overview

Seen a lot of spiritual spaces in our lifetime but strangely St Peters didn’t ring the bells for us, perhaps it was the crowds? Thankfully a mass was held at midday giving us a hint that this was more than a museum and there was a chapel open only for prayers where Shelley could say a quick word for our combined families as this probably will be the last spiritual place/church on the trip, but who knows as this is Rome and they are on every corner.

Left the Basilica and walked through the vast St Peters square before moving onto the next destination. Down by the river Tiber is the Castle of the Holy Angel, which was initially build as the Mausoleum of Hadrian but was later converted into a castle and is now a museum. Further up the river on the opposite bank was the mausoleum of Augusta which was built for his ashes along with Caligula’s and Nero’s but is fenced off and left in ruins. Final stop today was at the Piazza del Popolo with its huge stolen Egyptian Obelisk standing in the centre of the square.

Fantastic day
Rome - ForumRome - ForumRome - Forum

Part of the enormous Basilica of Maxentius
visiting all these sites but by the late afternoon we were feeling tired so got the metro back home and then down to a bar for a few drinks to clear our heads, or perhaps numb them. Once again Shelley wanted a curry for dinner and I went out on a limb and chose something I have only ever dreamed of “a Kebab Pizza”. Had visions of an Aussie kebab dripping with hummus and chilli sauce with Tabouli smothered in cheese on a pizza base, but unfortunately it was pretty much a tasteless mess – the search goes on.

Day 282 Wednesday 26th October 2016 –Rome

The secret lives of penguins have been observed in Roma in the past few days with the sightings of the common black with white collar and chest species running around ruffling the backs of some of the more exotic species like the Calcutta Theresa’s with their white and hint of blue. Today we are going back to their migration hotspot must first endeavour to combat the metro to see the Vatican and its history, unfortunately the tunnels were blocked and we were trying to
Rome - ForumRome - ForumRome - Forum

Wow all that broken marble
push down a level but were blocked 2 levels above the platform by a wall of people. We decided to walk the 1 hour to the Vatican and as we arrived got to see the Emperor Penguin (El Papa) was on the big screens in the Square. We pushed and tried to be polite to all the hawkers that swooned down on us trying to sell tickets to the Vatican which is free and then offering tours to the Vatican Museum which thankfully we have already got tickets for, this meant we got in before the group without tickets.

Italy is not known for its organisational skills and El Papa’s house is no different we may have had pre brought tickets but had to exchange them for tickets in the Museum which meant lining up with the non ticket holders and them paying with credit cards etc. We only had to exchange our slip of paper for the ticket – quick and easy so why is there not a separate line. Once in, the human crush started in the Egyptian section we saw some nice pieces but opted to get out quickly the crush continued on and off through the day reaching its peak in the Sistine Chapel where the bedlam was unbelievable with loud speaker announcements telling people “Silenzio”, “no photos and no video”. There was no peace and quiet looking at the masterpieces in the chapel just constant chatter and shoving.

The day came to an end before the old grump blew his fuse and I got to see enough art to last me for long time as this is our last big hit before going home. We got the crowded penguin train home and stopped for a quick feed before heading passed a flock of white double breasted common greys scouting for a feast. Back at the hotel and at 7.10pm the chandelier and the bed began to shake and yes it was another earthquake this time near Preci, Umbria and it was a 5.4 magnitude. At 9.20pm there was a larger shake, hoping people are OK.

Day 283 Thursday 27th October 2016 –Rome

Last full day in Rome and although perhaps not a full stop to this trip perhaps it is a “…” so much more to see
Rome - St Peters Basilica Rome - St Peters Basilica Rome - St Peters Basilica

Inside with a few of my closest friends
in this eternal city, and we could seriously give ourselves whiplash trying to see it all but felt we wanted to just recap on things and see one last huge piece. On researching Rome we discovered that St Peters isn’t Numero Uno church in Rome but in fact the older St. John Lateran Archbasilica, it is the oldest church in the West and houses the cathedral of the Roman Pontiff. This is a huge church that has been rebuilt countless times and is a mish mash of styles. Despite the gaudiness this church seems sort of grander than St Peters, and deserves the mother church Monika. Next to the church is the baptistery which looks very Early Roman/Byzantine Complete with golden mosaics. This is reputedly the place that Emperor Constanitne was baptised. Standing in front of this is the Lateran Obelisk which is the largest standing ancient Egyptian obelisk in the world weighing in at 330 tonnes that was shipped from Egypt around 360 AD. One final piece in this religious mixture is the Scala Sancta or Sacred Stairs that are housed in a building across the road from the Lateran Church. These stairs which are reputedly the staircase which once
Rome - St Peters Basilica Rome - St Peters Basilica Rome - St Peters Basilica

Pietà by Michelangelo
led to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem and which, therefore, were sanctified by the footsteps of Jesus Christ during His Passion. Devotes can now ascend the stairs on their knees as a sign of penance (but not forgiveness). I have been known to crawl home on my knees after a big night but my knees are giving me so much trouble lately there was no way I was going to do it and besides I figured I would probably need to do it a few times for my penance. Shelley also opted out thinking that as a heathen she probably was already pushing her luck with the lighting of candles and requests. To complete the whole picture of this area there are also remains of roman walls and aqueducts, this is an amazing corner of Rome.

From here we did a long walk around the town taking in some of the other historic sites we had already seen but just felt like we wanted to see it one more time before leaving. The Coliseum, the forum, Trajan’s Column and finally Trevi Fountain, on a long goodbye walk over the town. With the sightseeing done we had an
Rome - Vatican MuseumRome - Vatican MuseumRome - Vatican Museum

Golden Ceiling and crowds
important job to get done before leaving – washing. Lucky a laundromat was around the corner from us so we didn’t need to carry our laundry too far. When we turned up we were greeted by a guy in his fifties with what must have been his father in his seventies sitting in their underwear drinking beer whilst waiting for their laundry - We just so wished we could have taken a photo of them for this blog. Don’t want to be too disrespectful to the guys but they could have done with a few minutes in the washing machine themselves. Rather than sit with them we walked across the street for a couple of beers while we waited.

For dinner we returned to the restaurant we have been to a fair bit and got a last feed of Italian pizza. Both really, really sad about putting an end to this trip and to leaving Rome, this isn’t perhaps our most favourite town on this trip (or even in Italy) but it does have a decent vibe and it is hard to beat in the history stakes. Lucky this is our last blog for this trip as
St. John Lateran ArchbasilicaSt. John Lateran ArchbasilicaSt. John Lateran Archbasilica

Crawling up the Scala Sancta
we maybe losing the plot, not that you would notice unless you are a penguin or a Jedi.

Day 284 Friday 28th October 2016 –Rome to Phuket

Off to the airport today, we got to the Termini train station and of course got there early for our 8.50am train so decided to get the 8.20am. We are getting the Leonardo Express which is not so express as the 8.20 was cancelled and we ended up leaving at 8.50 for the half hour trip to the airport.

The airport was crowded, first we had to check in and the Singapore Airlines desk is the last one and for some reason on this trip our backpacks are being treated as special luggage so after check in we had to carry them over to another counter to check them in. It is getting very annoying especially when the straps are packed away and the bags check in before us are twice the size. Now onto the line up to get through security which was huge so our advice is to have plenty of time to get through all this, some
Rome - Palatine hill Rome - Palatine hill Rome - Palatine hill

Looking across the Circus Maximus
people were getting a little nervous about missing flights. We had a short wait before boarding the plane we have two aisle seats one behind the other as we booked these late and were lucky to get on the flight. We were first to our seats and you know what is like waiting to see who will be sitting next to you, Scott got a young couple so he was settled. I waited a little longer then and saw a pair of rare Indonesian grey penguins I did have to consult with my penguin spotters guide and yes they were my travel companions, David Attenborough would have been green with envy. It turns out they were heading home to Bali after a stint in Rome, is this karma?

We changed planes at Singapore and said goodbye to the penguins sorry I guess I should say the nuns who were lovely. We are heading onto Phuket for a short stay and no sightseeing just beach/pool.

Bye to everyone from this trip and thanks to our family and friends for their support and love, and for everyone who has left comments and advice along the way.
St. John Lateran ArchbasilicaSt. John Lateran ArchbasilicaSt. John Lateran Archbasilica

Largest free standing Obelisk

Additional photos below
Photos: 81, Displayed: 45


Rome - Museo Nazionale RomanoRome - Museo Nazionale Romano
Rome - Museo Nazionale Romano

Detail of the discos Thrower
Rome - Museo Nazionale RomanoRome - Museo Nazionale Romano
Rome - Museo Nazionale Romano

The Marble Discos Thrower
Rome - Statua Vittorio Emanuelle II Rome - Statua Vittorio Emanuelle II
Rome - Statua Vittorio Emanuelle II

Huge Monument in White Marble
Rome - Pantheon Rome - Pantheon
Rome - Pantheon

HUGE Entrance Columns
Rome Rome

Arch of Constantine and Colosseum
Rome - Piazza Navona Baroque FountainRome - Piazza Navona Baroque Fountain
Rome - Piazza Navona Baroque Fountain

It sure looks like the water is coming out their bums
Rome - ColosseumRome - Colosseum
Rome - Colosseum

Inside with partial new floor
Rome - ColosseumRome - Colosseum
Rome - Colosseum


4th November 2016
Rome - Pantheon

What a fabulous ride!
When you set out to see the world, you don't mess around! So glad you really enjoyed walking on those old Roman roads and soaking in the history on this last stop--love the Pantheon and its oculus. Must say the crowds look formidable, but you handled them like the Jedi and shopping/church maven that you two are (how fab to have a handbag from Rome!). I'm going to miss your musings and photos--it's been lovely traveling with you and your wicked sense of humor. And how very wise to have some kickback days before entering the daze of unreal life again. Thanks for the wild ride!
4th November 2016
Rome - Pantheon

What a fabulous ride!
The great thing about having a fabulous ride is the unexpected hitchikers you pick up along the way, and we have really enjoyed your company. Sort of weird circumstances have come about to put a full stop at Rome but it is hard to find a better place to say ciao. We are still waiting for your next blog and the match made in heaven of you and your camera and Bolivia.
4th November 2016

What an epic journey!!!
Thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us.
5th November 2016

What an epic journey!!!
Thanks, it has been a bit of a roller coaster ride this one and a real struggle to keep putting out the blogs. The great thing about getting home is that it will allow us more time to read other blogs like yours.
4th November 2016
Rome - Pantheon

Inspired Slacker!
Ok, I have been known to hitchhike here on TB and in real life, but I so loved hitching with you. I love Scott's interest in history and Shelley's in churches and art. However, you have inspired me with your quick-blogging ways--I shall change my slacking habits and finally get out some of my love of Bolivia, where I think I met you ever so long ago. Soonish, the Isla del Sol where others visit for a hike, but I spent a couple of weeks. What can I say, I'm slow. I'd love to see a blogget on your life in Sydney--pets and fave spots, etc. It's been great--ciao and hasta pronto!
6th November 2016

A lot happy, but a little sad too... Day 284!
I read this blog with a small cloud of 'impending ending' over my head, but I'm so happy that you had such fabulous travels (hope Phuket wasn't too feral). Thanks heaps for the humour, honesty and depth of information you shared with us on this trip. Hope everything is ok with the families at home, and that your re-entry into reality is gentle. As I've said before, if you guys are ever down this way, let us know and we'll make a list of churches for Scott to visit (the longest continuously running catholic church in Australia is only 20mins from our place!) :) Take care guys, and welcome back home xx
7th November 2016

A lot happy, but a little sad too... Day 284!
Thanks guys for coming on the journey with us, having someone in the back seat giving us encouragement rather than saying "are we there yet?" helped us keep going and blogging it. When we get around to heading to the apple isle we will take you up on that offer as it would be great to share a laugh and a drink. As for the church I will only enter it if you can cover up all the paintings of Mary with the baby Jesus as I am still a bit twitchy about that one. We are with Shelleys Mum for a couple of months to help her through an operation but hopefully in the new year will be back up at our home in Mooney Mooney so if you are heading our way we do have a spare room and a club within walking distance and no churches. Stay in touch.
6th November 2016

What a long and amazing trip it was. Congratulations on an epic and surely memorable adventure. We loved following along and will miss your frequent updates. Glad you travelled safely and shared so many great stories with everyone. Welcome home and enjoy your rest. You certainly deserve it!
7th November 2016

Thanks heaps for not only following but also for trailblazing ahead of us and giving us so much good advice. You have both been on the road for a long time now and know how incredible as well as how tiring that can be. Glad to be home at the moment but that might change by next week, actually went shopping today and had to stop in front of a travel agents to check out the cost of flights - cannot help myself. Will continue to follow your amazing travels, stay safe.
7th November 2016

Here's to a fantastic journey!
Can't believe it's your last blog of this journey already! Absolutely amazed that you were so up to date with posting all the blogs! Lots to learn still... Thanks for taking me along and sharing all the tips and info... Loved your honesty and fantastic sense of humour as well! Really enjoyed reading your blogs. And what a great place to finish your journey! I went to Rome in high school with a school trip - Vatican, including the mass with Emperor Penguin Nr 1 - I'm Polish after all, 20 or so churches and all the 'attractions' in two days... think I might need to go again! Now at least I'll have all the info that I need, thanks for sharing! And welcome back home :)
7th November 2016

Here's to a fantastic journey!
Thanks, it certainly has been a bit more of an effort getting the blog out this time, but it would have been impossible if we had a small child with us and been with family. Ending in Rome was a chance thing and we were so glad that we could end in such a fantastic city, I sure hope you get there on this trip, as we would love to read what you think. Happy safe travels.
13th November 2016

Rome provides a great ending to any adventure
It takes weeks to absorb all you've seen and done. Time to reflect is around the corner. One morning you'll be up and it will cross your mind that you need to begin planning the next adventure. So many amazing things have happen over the past months. You've certainly inspired us to want to get back out there. Although I must admit we are not sure we want to do the really long trips anymore. We will see what the future holds. We are finding that we enjoy the 2 to 3 month trips best. Rome has so much to offer you could stay for a long time and only scratch the surface. Glad you had some new shoes and haven't fallen down any steps lately or had any other illnesses. Thank you for allowing us to follow along. We enjoyed it immensely.
13th November 2016

Rome provides a great ending to any adventure
Unless we win a large sum of money, this will be our last large trip for a long time. Looking at settling down for a while and getting some dogs and trying to work out how to earn money again. Short 4-6 week holidays may be on the horizon which I think we will enjoy more. Presently enjoying having the time to read other blogs and looking forward to your next adventure. Thanks for riding along in the backseat and not screaming at the driver and navigator when they started to lose their minds. Thanks heaps

Tot: 2.825s; Tpl: 0.1s; cc: 37; qc: 136; dbt: 0.1141s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 2.1mb