the grand sites of Rome

Posted from Rome, Lazio, Italy.

2016-05-06 12.10.56My final day in the Eternal City was reserved for seeing the grand sites of Rome. It was early May, 24 degrees, and the sun was ever so bold. The weather was holding out perfectly for more walking. And walk I did, already clocking some 48,000 steps on my Vivofit the past two days.

Getting lost in Rome is easy, though. The streets curve in strange ways, so I often found myself somewhere I did not intend to go, which is what happened on my way to the ancient Flavian Amphitheatre. 

People of yesteryear spent a lot of time in tunnels, which means I wouldn't have survived.

People of yesteryear spent a lot of time in tunnels, which means I wouldn’t have survived.

I ended up going the long way around by the Circus Maximus, now a massive green field. This route took me past Palantine Hill, and past the Arch of Constantine, which is directly adjacent to the colosseum. It was a happy mishap.

Once I arrived at the colosseum I had to stand in line to get my reserved tickets. It was at least a 45-minute wait to get to the ticket booth, and then another 15-minute wait to get my ticket for my tour. I was glad I chose to arrive early, and I couldn’t imagine what the lines would be like in summer. There are tons of hawkers around this attraction selling anything from water, to selfie-sticks, to hats, to silly toys. While they were annoying, they weren’t as bad as the touts I’ve encountered in southeast Asia.

From the third level the colosseum floor becomes a bit smaller. This is where the poor folk sat.

From the third level the colosseum floor becomes a bit smaller. This is where the poor folk sat.

The sheer size of the Colosseum is awesome, and it really does take you by surprise. It really is a feat of engineering, but there’s not much to it. Yes, it was cool to go down to the basement, and to have access to the third level, and to let my mind wonder about the changes it experienced over the centuries, from the water battles, to housing the poor, to being stripped of material to build Vatican City, but it was a little boring. Maybe I built it up too much in my head. The oldest parts that show how it once used to be are actually the newest parts, re-built and restored. The romantic in my head felt slightly cheated. But I’d still recommend seeing it.

The columns and rubble are numbered. This is where imagination has to take over.

The columns and rubble are numbered. This is where imagination has to take over.

From the colosseum I wound my way over to Palatine Hill. By this point, after two and a half days of walking, my feet were on fire. I was also feeling a little over-whelmed with so much information and stimulation that I needed to sit. But that proved nearly impossible. Every bench I passed I took a rest, rubbing my feet and taking in the scenery, but then something else would catch my eye, and I’d be up again. It was clear that I needed far more than three days to really see Rome. I was trying to do far too much, and my feet just wouldn’t have it.

Many of the statues had lost their heads.

Many of the statues had lost their heads.

But still, I wandered around and after having finally found an exit I made my way up Via del Corso, getting somewhat misguided once again, until I found my way home, but only after a cappuccino break.

However, I was not done walking yet. I took a wee nap and rested my feet. And then I decided I had to go shopping in Rome. Via Cola di Rienzo is said to be a more local shopping area, and it wasn’t too far away. At first I had wanted to get dinner here too, but after a quick one-hour tour of this shopping district, and after only buying a foundation primer from a make-up store, I wound my way back to Trastevere and chose to eat at La Scala, a small ristorante known for it’s delicious seafoods and pasta. I ordered a delicious bruschetta appetiser and a ravioli entree. For once, I declined the wine. I was really tired.

My delicious ravioli. The food in Rome is good good good.

My delicious ravioli. The food in Rome is good good good.

My flight the next day left rather early. I had arranged another 45€  airport transfer as I couldn’t be bothered to manoeuvre myself with public transport at 6 a.m. It was my last night in Rome and I was exhausted. But I was in love with Rome. From the people, to the history, to the food, to the culture, it was so much more than I imagined.

Some things you just don't see anywhere but in Rome.

Some things you just don’t see anywhere but in Rome.

And was visiting Rome in spring the right time? Bushy and green trees, fully open flowers, vibrant green grass, and the whole city already at such an impetus that one can feel the energy exuding from this Eternal City? 

OH yes. I arrived at just the right time.

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