Europe: Day 13

Rome, Italy

I arrived in Rome a lot earlier than I arrived in most of the other cities. I tried to schedule my train reservations in line with hotel check-in times but for Roma, I was about an hour and half early. I ended up just sitting in Roma Termini until 12:00PM and then I left for the hotel. The nice thing about the hotel was that it was just across the street from the train station but it was a tad tricky to locate. The front of the hotel didn’t look exactly like a hotel. I found the address but there weren’t any directions on how to get to the hotel. In Florence, there were signs that pointed me in the direct of the hotel but in Rome, there was nothing except some labels in the elevator. But one I took the elevator to the floor that the hotel was located, there were just two doors. One had someone’s name on it and the hotel was blank. I had no choice but to call the hotel to get more information.

A Chinese guy picked up the phone so I was a little confused. I was expecting an Italian person. The person on the phone told me that there was a buzzer at the front of the hotel that I was supposed to press which will alert him and he would come down to get me. I told him that I was already standing inside the building but just didn’t know where the hotel was. Moments later, he came down and brought me up to the hotel room. It was the door that wasn’t labeled.

Once I was settled in my room, I started to plan out my day. I decided that I would stay on the east side of the Tiber river. I had a couple days in Rome so the other side would be for tomorrow.

The first attraction that I visited was the Colosseum. It was a 30 min walk from the hotel to the Colosseum. The area seems to be blocked off to prevent vehicular traffic. The Colosseum was a massive structure which has stood the test of times. Parts of it appear to be under restoration. There were tourists all around it. I didn’t see a line up to get inside. But then again, with so any people around, it was difficult to see a line at all.

Down the street from the Colosseum is the Roman Forum. Or what’s left of it. You had to pay if you wanted to see the ruins up close but in my opinion, the view of the ruins from far away was just fine. There were a few paths that you can take to get a closer view without having to pay an admission fee.

Not too far away from the Roman Forum was Piazza Venezia. It was a large building with lots of statues. Sitting on top were statues of angels on horse pulled chariots.

Entry into this area seemed restricted but I didn’t look further into it. All I know was that the entrance was guard by someone that looks like a Police Officer and they were stopping people from going in. But then other times, I saw that they were letting people in.

But if you continue down the side walk, there’s a free entrance into the building. There wasn’t much in the building, mostly statues. But at the top was a restaurant and a nice view of the streets.

While I was on the terrace, there was a wedding at the church next door. The bride and groom were just on their way out and were being showered with rice.

Once the wedding party left the premises, I walked into the church. Like most churches in Europe, it was like the TARDIS, larger on the inside. At the front of the church was the caretaker, vacuuming the carpet. Part of the carpet looked as if it was flipped over so I walked over and fixed it. As I was doing that, he yelled at me. Apparently, he was the one that flipped that part of the carpet over. Whoops!

A ten minute walk from Piazza Venezia was the Pantheon. I keep confusing this building with the Parthenon, so when I saw it I was like, that doesn’t look like the picture. Nonetheless, the area was busy. I took a few pictures and carried on. As I was leaving, there was a model with a photographer in the area to take pictures. I guess it was a little crowded so she seemed a little intimidate to be there to take pictures.

I slowly made my way to the Trevi fountain. My friend in Cologne warned me about this place because it was currently under construction. Surprisingly, with all the construction that was going on, people were still swarming the place.

After all the walking that I did today, I was getting hungry. There was a restaurant near the Spanish steps that I passed a few times. I told myself that once I was done, that I would stop by for pizza and beer. I saw by the open window and I could hear people eying my beer. It looked very appealing in this heat. As for the pizza, I was thinking that I wouldn’t be able to finish it but since it was so thin, I didn’t have any problems.

The nice thing about Rome is that a lot of the attractions are close by. If you don’t go inside, you can probably go to all of the major ones in a day. Starting from the Colosseum, hitting the major attractions and ending at the Spanish steps, is about a four kilometer walk. If you sit aside 30 minutes for picture taking or just taking in sights, you can probably visit all of those places in half the day, which is what I did, but that’s going at my pace. If I had someone with me, it may take longer.