Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Rome Trip (Day 3)

Day 3: Friday, May 19
Tourist Sites Checklist + Colosseum & Ancient Rome Tour
I did a short run down towards the river and across one bridge to the next and enjoyed the quiet of the morning hours with minimal traffic. We both enjoyed the hotel breakfast buffet with a nice selection of proteins (eggs and deli meats), dairy products (cheese and yogurt), fruit, baked goods (crusty bread and rolls, sweet pastry), and of course strong coffee.

We managed to find the shorter path to the Piazza del Popolo this time, climbing the stairs opposite the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (GNAM), passing a fountain with spouting turtles, and cutting through a short path of the Villa Borghese.

The first tourist site on our checklist was the Piazza del Popolo, with its central obelisk surrounded by water-spouting lions.

Next we headed to the Spanish Steps, where we learned that eating and drinking is not permitted on the Steps after observing an encounter between some of the City police and a couple of other tourists.

Next up was the Trevi Fountain, which was so crowded with tourists and tour groups that we could hardly get near it. And for some reason, the water wasn't spouting, which was a bit disappointing.

On our way to the Piazza Navona, we had an unexpected encounter with a gladiator! We were also tempted by a self-serve coffee beans machine (don't usually see that on the street...) but decided we didn't want to carry that with us for the rest of the day.

We inadvertently ended up passing right by the Pantheon, which we had planned to see a bit later in the journey, so we took advantage of the opportunity to enter and admire the amazing play of light in the dome.

Just a block away was another destination, the odd and adorable Elefantino. We're not sure quite why this elephant is hoisting an obelisk on its back...

The Piazza Navona with its three fountains was next on the list, followed by the Torre Argentina ruins, which is also the site of a cat sanctuary.

By this time, we were both a bit warm and starting to get hungry, so we charted a course towards the Colosseum area with the goal of finding a lunch spot prior to our 2pm tour with City Wonders. On the way, we passed Il Vittoriano but opted not to climb the stairs for a closer look.

Lunch was comprised of salmon bruschetta and a salad with tuna for me and seafood linguine with a side of roasted veggies for Mr. E. It felt great to sit down for a bit after nearly 3 hours of walking, especially since we knew we had another 3-hour tour ahead of us in the afternoon. We finished up with plenty of time for a leisurely stroll to our tour meeting spot across from the Colosseum.

We had booked the tour through Trip Advisor/Viator, and the local operator was City Wonders. Our guide, Laura, was excellent, and we even got to begin the tour with special access onto the stage, which gave an amazing perspective of the entire interior of the Colosseum.

We went up to the second tier as we learned about the history of the Colosseum, the "recycling" of its materials in many other structures in Rome, and the renovation work to clean up and preserve the site.

When we exited the Colosseum, we passed some of the construction site for the new Metro Line on our way to the Roman Forum. Our visit to the Forum included an unexpected avian guest amidst the ruins. A striking and memorable part for me was the depiction of the menorah on one of the arches.

The tour wrapped up with a stroll around Palatino Hill, with great views out over the Forum and the rest of the city.

We opted to take the tram #19 back to the hotel. We bought our tickets at a local tabaccheria, which was right across the street from a Carrefour Express, and we also took advantage of access to the little grocery store to stock up on some items for dinner and the rest of the visit. The tram ride took nearly 40 minutes, but since jet lag was definitely starting to kick in a bit, we were glad not to be adding on to our 6+ hours of walking for this return journey.

Back at the hotel, we cleaned up and enjoyed drinks and snacks out on the balcony until the gulls got too pushy, forcing us to move inside for the rest of the meal. The sunset views were quite impressive again this evening. And Mr. E is a talented photographer!


Blogger Stephanie Goodner said...

These photos are amazing!!! I feel like I'm right there with you. Minus the pushy gulls! ;-)

11:29 AM  

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