Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Adventures in Rome, Italy

Since Richard had to work over the kids' spring break we didn't get to take a long trip somewhere. Due to a Georgian Holiday lining up with Orthodox Easter holidays, Richard had a 5 day weekend, so we let the kids miss a day of school and flew to Rome! We arrived in Rome a little after midnight local time (so about 2 am Tbilisi time). Clarissa had fallen asleep the second flight and pretty much dozed through customs and slept in the cab on the way to the hotel. We check into the Crowne Plaza - St. Peter's. They offered a shuttle (to/from Vatican in the morning and to/from the city centre late afternoon/evening) for 1.50 Euro each person. We had gotten a package deal that also included 2 adult passes on the Rome Open Tour (green bus), so the next morning we headed down to catch the bus. We only had to buy Mason's child ticket (Clarissa was free since she was under 6). We figured this would be the best way to orient ourselves in the city.

The first stop we got off at was the Trevi Fountain. Legend has it, if you throw a coin in the fountain you will return to Rome some day. Mason really wanted to throw a coin in so that we can come back to Rome again (he is not the only one wikipedia says that every night the fountain is cleaned out and about 3000 Euros are removed daily and donated to a supermarket for the needy).

Unfortunately the fountain is under construction currently. There is a scaffolding that you can walk on and get up close to the fountain (which is a rarity to get that close). There was a long line and with hungry kids we opted to just throw our coins in a small pool of water in front.

We walked a little further down the street and had lunch at a cafe/pizzaria on the street.

After lunch we got back on the bus and headed on our way, super cool cruising past ancient ruins.

The next stop we got off at was the ancient Roman ruins. Mason was super excited to headed to the Colosseum (it might have something to do with having studied ancient Rome in the fall this school year....seeing things he had just learned about).

Watch your back....Mason.

Seeing this reminded me of the stories (history) I learned in high school from Mr. McCauley.....I told Mason some of the things I remembered (I left out the vomitorium stories).

Looking for lions.....we didn't see any....

It was pretty amazing to see something so old that was so massive....

View of the Arch of Constantine.

Up close to the hypogeum (the elaborate under the arena floor area).

Outside the colosseum we splurged and let Mason meet some gladiators....(20 Euro for the photo op).

Clarissa wanted nothing to do with them....especially after Daddy got impaled.....

We then headed over to the Roman Forum (super cool, one ticket got us into both the Colosseum and Forum!). We saw the Temple of Romulus.

We went inside the Temple of Romulus.

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina.

The Temple of Castor and Pollux.

It was almost surreal to see the ancient and the modern so close together.

My favorite view in the Forum was of the Palatine Hill (one of the most ancient portions of the city).

It was kind of fun to stop and rest on a wall/walkway that Julius Caesar probably walked by himself.

The sign said this was a bath....rub a dub dub, scrub with a bud.....

We headed up the Palatine Hill to view the Forum from the look out point. We came across an underground fountain/spring.

The view from the top of the Palatine Hill.

Richard had done a Europe tour about 15 years ago...even though he had come to the Roman Forum, we stumbled upon some ruins he had not seen then!

After the exploring, we had back to the bus. We passed the outside of Palatino Hill as we headed back.

On our third day in Rome, we hadn't pre-planned anything. We were toying with the idea of heading to the Pantheon and/or the Zoo. Clarissa ended up waking up with a high fever and was very lethargic. We called the front desk and they offered to call a Doctor to come to the room for us or give us directions to the ER. We opted for the Doctor coming to us. He was very nice, walked in with a leather doctor's bag (like in the movies) and diagnosed a lovely double ear infection in the little lady. He wrote a prescription for antibiotics and warned us about flying the next day.

So given Clarissa wasn't feeling too hot, we opted to do another on/off bus. That way the rest of us could still see things, while she rested. Per her request we rode on the pink bus this time. 'I Love Rome' was priced the same and had the same number of stops. The route the bus took was slightly different, but that may have been due to it being a weekend as oppose to a weekday on this trip. The only drawback we noticed was the frequency of the pink bus. They came by a stop every half hour, where as the green bus came by every 15 minutes or so.

Since the route was different, we drove past the Hard Rock Cafe Rome location this time. Given it has been 8 months or so since eating American food....we decided to go there for lunch (which ironically was one of the cheapest meals we had on the trip). So we got off at the Barberini Square stop, had lunch and took some photos of the Fontana del Tritone....a lovely merman blowing water out of a conch shell.

Clarissa even woke up for about 5 minutes to see the fountain.

So while, we didn't see as much as we would have liked to on that last day, we had a great trip (I will write about what we saw/did in the Vatican in a separate post). Since we tossed our coin in the Trevi Fountain, we will be back some day....so until then Ciao Italy.

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