Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When in Rome...

Well, after a week with relatives, we headed off to Rome from Sardinia. Sardinia is part of Italy as you may know but it is not on the mainland so we went by plane. A 50 minute plane ride and we were in the big smoke. Lots of smoke actually or more like smog! We forget how lucky we are in Australia to have clear skies...
I had pre booked all our transfers and transportation in Rome with RomeCabs who had come highly recommended via the Internet forums. In essence, we found out they are also a driver service so we found ourselves being chauffeured around in posh cars with suited drivers!! How fancy, not something we are used to but we liked it!

Anyway, after our driver met us at the airport (I never thought I would be the one to have their name on the driver's card but this time the driver's card did have our name on it so we looked for a driver carrying a card called DALEY and we were off). Our driver, Luca, spoke English as do most people in the industry in Rome and the other major cities in Italy. He took us to our apartment and we were officially in Rome. We could not get over the fact that our apartment was probably only 100 metres from the Colosseum.

This is us in front of our Rome apartment.

You can see Michael here getting comfortable in the apartment!

You can see in the photo above that the mobile multimedia came in handy. The portable DVD was a godsend and has been very useful keeping Michael entertained.

The photo below is really funny. We were accosted by these roman gladiators near the Colosseum who were offering to have photos taken. Once we took the photos, they politely asked for 20 Euro. This is $40 in our money! We were suckered in and to rub salt in the wound, I read later in my Rick Steve's Italy guide not to get caught in this trap. Oh well, part of the experience I guess. Michael enjoyed it. He now thinks that all Romans dress like that.

That same afternoon we walked around Rome and got lost. We had our mobile phone with Google Maps which was useless because of satellite coverage so there we were going around in circles. Lots of fun though cause we got to see lots of little areas you would not normally go to.

Michael decided that mummy and daddy need help so he got his very own map and we ended up doing it the old fashioned way, with a paper map! Technology is not all its cracked up to be!!

The next day we visited the Colosseum inside with a guided English speaking tour. That was really good for Trevor and Michael. The lines to get in to these places are massive, sometimes people wait up to 3 hours! Michael was already whinging so I knew this was not going to be easy. With a booked tour, you skip the line up and go straight through to the security check point. They screen you like at the airport then you are inside the majestic ruins of the Colosseum.

The Colosseum was as we all know used in the Roman empire as an theatre where brave gladiators fought the world's fiercest animals who were kept beneath the Colosseum for up to 3 weeks prior to a fight with no food, this made the show more interesting. The emperor would bring animals from all over the world to feature in the shows. Most never made it over the long trip and those that did got to fight and be slain in front of roaring crowds. Incidentally, women were not allowed to sit with men in the theatre, women sat alone in the very top rows unless they were the vestal virgins who had privilege. Gladiators fought and if they were good, after 7 years they could buy their freedom. The floors do not exist any more but they were made of wood, a particular type that was good for soaking up the blood, how lovely!

Well, that's the history lesson over but what a spectacle this monument is, it is absolutely massive and awesome to see.

In the photo below, you can see Michael wearing his tour commentary radio. It has been a long time for me between tours, the guides now give you these portable radios so that you can hear them better. In my day running tours, we had to shout!

We ate well in Rome, Trevor tried his favourite dish "Penne all'Arrabbiata" and he still says mum's is better!! Good one MUM!!
Michael has learned to read Gelato everywhere maybe because there is a Gelateria everywhere!!
The weather in Rome was warm so it made for good sightseeing.
Next post.....The City of the Renaissance, Florence!


Anonymous said...

Hi Guys, talk about living the high life. Chauffeurs and classy looking apartments - you won't want to come home.
Great photos and a great read Ally, look forward to the next posting.

Take care, Lisa

Anonymous said...