Thursday, August 30, 2012

To Rome At Last

Cheers to Rome! Happy 29th Anniversary and 50th Birthday! We made it! On our first day, we took the taxi to Hotel Nerva, checked in, and then had to taxi over immediately to the Vatican for our afternoon tour. We saw the Sistine chapel with many other tourists. Since it was crowded, we dodged the tour groups and made good timing getting through. Then we made our way down the street to St. Peter's square and the Basilica. It was amazing inside the Basilica. It is the size of many football fields.

After, we were fortunate in our timing, as we left, that we saw the changing of the Swiss guards.
Here's a clip of the changing of the guards in action:
Our hotel room at Hotel Nerva, Rome
The stairs going up to our room. The first of MANY stairs in Italy for us to encounter. Thank God this hotel had an elevator. Many do not!
The view from our hotel entrance:
The narrow streets of Rome are best navigated on foot. Be wary of speeding taxis, scooters and cars! Walking here is not for the faint of heart.  The Roman and Augustus, Nerva Forums ruins below were just across the street from our Hotel Nerva. Nerva became emperor at age 65. In fact, every where you turn is something amazing, and old and beautiful like this.
 Celebrating that we made it to Rome! Jet lagged, but excited. We had a great first dinner inside this nice restaurant, Tavernelle Dal 870 Antica Trattoria Monti, a few blocks walk from the hotel. Caprese to start...
 Arne had suckling lamb, I had carbonara. And tiramisu to finish with an espresso for Arne.

Our Hotel Nerva cappucino and breakfast served in the dining area. first of many to come.

 Day two: Roman Forum walk and the Colosseum
Roman Forum walk on day two of our visit to Rome, started out as a very hot day! The ruins were remarkable, unbelievable. Huge and towering and amazingly intact. There were fountains inside the forum that had running water, at which you could safely refill your drinking water bottle.
Up at the Palatine Hill area of our walk.
More of the Forum area. Everything is so incredibly huge. It's unbelievable to think you are walking on the same ground where all these emporers ruled and lived and walked and where some were buried.

A sized down panoramic of the Roman Forum:

Inside Capitoline museum after making our way through the Roman Forum. Marble with the look of plaid was intriguing.
Views from the windows inside the museum were beautiful also.



Panoramic from Capitoline museum
After the walking tour of the Roman Forum, and the Capitoline museum, a caffe freddo (cold coffee) and panini at the Capitoline museum cafe....we had one more stop. However, the weather turned on us, and we had to literally run to the Colosseum in a torrential downpour and buy an umbrella from a street vendor for 3 euros! Funny, my only souvenir from Rome is a black umbrella! Never have we been so wet. And that is saying alot, coming from Seattleites. Our quick dry travel gear was put to the test.
The Colosseum was incredible. You can see where the spectators sat to watch, and where the animals were held underneath. Unbelievable how it is still standing. After the Colosseum, we experienced being ripped off by our taxi driver. Be wary, when you hand them the bill to say out loud, "Here is 10 Euro", as they are sneaky and pull a 5 euro from their sleeve and say, "You gave me 5 euro". Even though we were very aware this could happen, it still happened to us. That ride cost about 15 euros!
Of course my time in Rome would not be complete if I had not found a gelato place. "To the Pantheon", we told our taxi driver and off he went, right to the very street. And lo and behold, like magic, a gelato place was right there! I was not disappointed. I tried to order it the right way. You pay first, and then take your receipt to the counter. After that important business was taken care of, we could head in to the amazing Pantheon.
Exploring Piazza Navona and walking to the bridge with view of the Vatican prior to our dinner.
We ate at L'Old Bear, the same restaurant Nicole dined at when she did her stay in Rome. I ordered the pumpkin lasagne. We smelled bug repellent and smoke here mingled with the good food smells.
Our second and last night in Rome...Tomorrow we are off to Orvieto by train.
Lessons learned so far: The weather can change on you any minute. Wear amazing walking shoes. Don't trust any taxi drivers. Keep your sense of humor!
Now, don't laugh at this video clip of us eating dinner and me videotaping the guitarist who came to serenade us, no doubt, looking for euros!

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