Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Roman Ruins

Tuesday 19 August
We're about to start our last full day in Rome as we have to be at the airport by about 3.00pm tomorrow to fly to Singapore.

We're all avoiding the big sight seeing sites today as we are a bit shattered from those experiences and will spend the day trying to find the Boss an Italian Rugby beanie!

Yesterday we were up and gone by 9.00 and boarded a city tour bus at about 9.30. This took just over 2 hours and was very informative. It stopped for 20 minutes at St Peters so we got off to get coffee. Two coffees for 8eur ($15!!). Must remember not to buy near tourist sites.

We got back on the bus, completed the circuit then got off at the Colosseum. Rather than paying 10eur and lining up for 2 hours we paid 22eur and got a neat guided tour and no line up. I now love those tour groups that annoyed me before!

The Colosseum was impressive. It could hold 50,000 spectators and had an elaborate seating system and a complex set of corridors and elevators beneath the arena out of which emerged slaves, wild animals (including porcupines!) and gladiators. These corridors are now exposed and can be seen in my photos on the blog.

After that we joined our complimentary tour of the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum which was the centre of Ancient Rome. One of the emperors used his surplus 90,000 slaves to level a lot of the Palatine so he could build a huge palace. It was at least 6 stories, 4 below ground and 2 up and 100s of metres square, built in 5 years. The marble remnants were stunning. We also stood on his balcony from which he could observe the vestal virgins bathing. They weren't there when we looked!

Our tour guide here was a young woman from Canberra who was confident and with a great aussie/NZ sense of humour. Her looks, speaking and bubbliness reminded me of Alicia Gleeson!

We then lined up for ½ an hour to go into Augusta's house which was built in about 75AD. The frescoes are brilliantly coloured!

We then dropped into the Roman Forum and walked along the Via Sacre (Sacred Road) which was the first road in Rome and down which all Roman soldiers marched off to war and then on their triumphant return.

Leigh and I then did some internet before returning home to catch up with Terry and Dallas. We went out to an average restaurant which gave us a menu and when we went to order only had 3 dishes available. It wasn't too bad though and I think they under charged us.

Terry, Dallas and Leigh had veal and I had pizza!

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