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Published: June 12th 2018
Total we were on holiday in Rome. Rome on your own is a very easy, pleasant and enjoyable day. First we started wit the included breakfast buffet in the hotel. A wide variety of fruits, melon, ham and salami were laid out as if in a Roman feast. The were also breads, cereals, eggs, sausages and a variety of sweets. If you could not find something to eat you were not looking properly. Two cups of strong espresso and a glass of apple juice complemented the meal. We were ready to travel.
Today we decided to buy a tour bus ticket. In the last 10 years some new touring options opened up in Rome and one is an One and Off concept tour bus. The tour is called ROMA Open Bus. The cost of a 48 hour ticket is only 31E and allows you unlimited use of the bus system for two full days from the time you first enter the bus. The best part for us was the bus stop was only two blocks from our hotel adding to the convenience.
Our tickets in hand we headed off to the bus stop and waited less than a minute
to board the bus. The bus is modeled after the open top double-decker buses you see in London. The lower level is air conditioned, while the top is open but a tarp protects the riders from the hot Italian sun. The bus tours all the best sights within the city of Rome. There are 8 total prescribed stops. You can get off and walk to any number of sights to see, stop and eat, enjoy a drink, whatever. Then you just go back tot he bus stop and get on and prepare for the next adventure.
This morning we stopped at the Colosseum first. Since we were going to tour this historic spot with Trafalgar later this week, we opted to climb the Palatine hill and visit a little seen church that was the private church for the powerful Borgia family. On our way we came across a man playing a very odd sort of musical instrument.
He was sitting under a shade tree hitting what looed like an old tire with his fingers producing the most pleasant kettle drum sound mixed with an electric overtone. It was beautiful. I stopped and started a conversation, what else would
Heavily armed guards
All the main sites were protected with very heavily armed military. They had machine guns and armored carriers. They were indeed prepared for anything
I do, right?
He told me the instrument was invented in Sweden and consists of two parts of a highly pure iron drum. The two halves were welded together. The top drum was hand hammered to tune the 8 different sound spots producing 3 octaves at each point. The bottom drum was a sound hole much like a guitar. There was no electronics nor amplification, yet the sound was electric, clear and very soothing. He was selling CD's. When asked the price he replied, "Whatever you feel." I felt 5E and I now had my own copy. I plan on playing it in my office at home. Great background music and wonderful Italian memories.
Back on the bus we drove along and decided to skip a few stops until we hit the Vatican area stop. Here we departed and decided it was time for an aperitif. I always wanted to try a Compari and orange juice, the mainstay of all well healed Italians. I tried my first sip and, well, not so much to my liking. It was bitter, as Compari is expected to be and not exactly my cup of tea. To handle the need for sweets
we chose a Tortufo. This is a large ice cream ball covered in chocolate topped of with mounds and mounds of whipped cream. Sweet enough to handle any Compari concoction I'm sure!
We walked around and across the Tiber to the front of Castle St Angelo. Again we would visit this later, so we walked along the Tiber and shopped at the many little shops along the bank. There was a wide assortment of kitch but noting hit our fancy so we we continued our walk and back to the bus. We would our way through several more stops and ended up back at Termini, our point of origin. It was nearly 12:30 so it was time for lunch. We chose another outside cafe, located across the side street from our hotel and dined on salad with tuna, fresh breads and much needed water. After lunch we shopped a little more along the side streets, with no more success than earlier.
This morning I booked a tour with Viator.com for this evening. For the ticket price of 25 E we are taking a 2 hour ghost walk near the Castle St. Angelo. We are to be treated to
5 stops along the way that are said to be haunted by ghosts of centuries past. It will be kind of fun to walk the Roman streets at night with our guide, so we decided a much needed nap was in order. The plan is to head out around 6, back to the bus and hit a nice small restaurant for dinner, The toure starts at 9:30.
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