Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Roma, with Lena Day 2

     Ahhh, We crashed so early. After being up for 20 hours, Lena said I laid down at 9:05 and by 9:07 I was snoring. I am glad we got some good sleep, because it was Colosseum day!! Last year we covered Roman history, so this was the epitome of excitement for Lena. We got up and showered, headed down for breakfast and Lena got to try the Macchiato. We got lucky that there were boiled eggs, lettuce, cheese and tomato for her to eat. We came prepared with oatmeal just in case, but it was nice to be able to share breakfast together.

     The morning was a crisp 3*c (37*f). It was Saturday and the rest of the world was just waking up. It was lovely to walk down the roads with no one else on them. The fall leaves on the trees. We made sure to leave plenty of time on our walk so we could stop and take it all in.

     Lena and I chatted on our walk, about how I was so excited about how she was finally at the age to enjoy these kinds of trips, she told me how she just couldn't wait to be standing in history, to be in the presence of a place that has been around for thousands of years. When my husband and I came, we booked a tour with and I made sure to book it again for Lena and I. We had requested Patrizia, but alas, she was not available.
     When we rounded the corner, the sun was right in our faces, but you could see the Colosseum!

"Am I really here!?"

The meeting point for the tour was at the top of these steps.

Our tour guide this time was Alexandria.

     We were extremely fortunate that day. The entrance was backed up and Alexandria knew someone. Next thing we know, she is turning around explaining that we have been given a special treat today. Special entrance to the Arena floor! Normally this is an extra cost, and would shave 20-30 minutes off our time in the Forum, but it was worth it! We passed through security and entered what was called, the Gate of Death. This was where the Gladiators entered the Arena. As we entered I turned to Lena and said, now imagine you are a Gladiator entering the Arena, the cheers and the noise of the spectators in the stands. 70,000 people crowded in to witness the battles that were to take place that day. Everyone had their favorite Gladiator, and would be cheering or of course, booing. 
We learned that the Colosseum held something like 50 public toilets, the first in history! 

The dungeons.

Security is everywhere in Rome, all major sites and gathering areas had the Interpool or Polizia.

They attempted a restoration, and for support in the early 1900's.

Here you can see the missing outer rings.
One interesting fact we learned was the origin of the word vomit.
The vomitoria of the Colosseum in Rome were reportedly able to allow 50,000 people to enter and be seated within 15 minutes; presumably they would be able to exit in an equally rapid manner, thus earning the passageway its name. 

Lena couldn't stop admiring the horses.

     When I was planning this trip, I wanted to find something quirky and different for us to do. And we found it in the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. Lena loves cats, but is allergic to them. We have one, but she is an outdoor cat. So to be able to visit all these cats was a dream come true. The day had warmed up to a balmy 15*c (60*f). Perfect for our adventurous day.

This cat just decided to make it's self at home on Lena's back.

This one literally jumped out and screamed PET ME!

     By now we were starving. The Colosseum tour had ended at 1pm, and with our walk and visit to the sanctuary, it was nearing 3pm. So we set out to find lunch. We found it at Origano. Lena was dying to try lasagna.  

Italy with out espresso is not worth visiting. 

     And we were off. We needed to return to the Pantheon before they closed. When we arrived, there was a HUGE line. We kind of panicked and Lena asked if we should just come back another time. I told her, lets try it, we could be surprised. And we were. The line lasted all of 2 minutes and then we were ushered into the Pantheon. Wow. It's still amazing. There was no smell of incense that day, but it did not detract from the amazing fact that it's over 2000 years old. There is a giant hole in the middle of the ceiling and you could tell the floor had a slight slope from the center to the walls for when it rained, or snowed. 

It always astounds me that we were standing in a place where for centuries pagan rituals took place. Millions of people, possibly billions, have been inside this place.

     The sun is starting to set. And we decided to head over to the main shopping district just for the fun of it. 

So many restaurants were decorated.

Many streets had lights strung like this.

Huge Stitch inside the Disney Store.

Chestnuts! They smelled wonderful and were on almost every street corner.

So many people! This street was active with cars, but the people, and cars didn't mind. They just drove slowly and people parted to let them pass. 

When we had visited as many shops as we could handle, we decided it was time to head home. Hunger was setting in again, but first we passed by the Spanish Steps.

Such a pretty building! Lights were twinkling. 

     Unfortunately after this we wandered a little off course and I got us so off track, we added an additional 45 minutes to our walk home!. I had to laugh about it, Lena was not as amused as I was. So we popped into a grocery store and bought some goodies and checked out the crazy fish selection of sea urchins, squid, huge eyed fish and whole shrimp.

And then stopped for Pizza at Est! Est! Est! (4/a Via Principe Amedeo off of Via Viminale.) It was close to our hotel and we were so tired from our long day. 12+ hours of walking that day. And tomorrow was another big day. So off to bed we went.

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