Sorry for the delay in posting. Major problems with my PCs, modem, my Network Attached Storage and, probably, my firewalls. I am still not sure what all is wrong. Took me numerous phone calls to get two PCs and a laptop connected back to the internet after replacing my modem/router. Had to give up on connecting an old laptop. That one is so old that it doesn't even have an Ethernet connection. All kinds of conflict between the modem, my firewalls, and who knows what else. Now my only remaining problem, which isn't insignificant, is that I cant access my Lacie Big Disk, and that is where I have all my pictures. Luckily I did manage to upload my first set pictures in Rome.
Well, enough about my problems, here is Rome.
The first thing we did after arriving in Rome was hop on a bus for a little tour of the city. I think we would have all preferred to just check into our hotel for a little wash up, but that wasn't an option. Our first stop was, appropriately enough, the Coliseum.
Crowds At The Coliseum
We didn't actually get to go in, that would have meant standing in line for an hour or so and we were told that there really wasn't that much to see inside. Whether that is true or not, I don't know.
I am sure there was a story behind this arch, but for the life of me I just can't remember it. Although it is interesting to see this stuff for real, I think The History Channel has kind of spoiled it for me. There have been so many programs on this that the real thing is a bit anti-climatic. Also, the guide didn't seem to be all that well informed and that was a bit disappointing. Still though, it was neat to see it for real.
Coliseum And Bar Man
The sheer size of the Coliseum does come across when you see it up close. It really must have been an incredible undertaking to get it built. It must have been fun to be a Roman of means though.
Bigger In Life
Interestingly, the Coliseum had a retractable covering to protect people from the sun. Although the Coliseum in Rome was one of the larger ones, there were similar constructions all throughout the Roman Empire. I guess a good analogy would be the bull rings in Mexico and Spain. Lot's of gladiator fights and even more convicted criminals who were killed by them, killed each other, and killed or were killed by wild animals. According to our guide, slaves were not used in any kind of gladiatorial combat. I will have to research this though.
A Wider View
One thing that I learned, they did not hold chariot races in the Coliseum. It was too small for that. The chariot races were held on a track some distance away. Admission was free and it was primarily funded by the betting that took place. Both the top gladiators and charioteers made very good money and were the sports heroes of their day.
From here we stopped for a quick bite and then headed to The Vatican for a quick tour. The Sistine Chapel was scheduled for tomorrow morning.
The Swiss Guards were looking resplendent.
There is so much stuff packed in here that it is overwhelming. And most stuff is stored away out of sight.
Can You Say Ostentatious
It is hard not to be impressed by the true treasures like the Pieta by Michelangelo.
The Real Deal
Impressively, Michelangelo was only 23 when he completed this work of art.
A bit more morbid, I thought, was the display of the preserved body of Pope John XXIII. His face is now covered with a thin layer of wax and the Catholic Church has been careful to never claim that the body's preserved state was in any way miraculous. Many who pass by feel otherwise, however.
Pope John XXIII On Display
After our visit we finally got to the hotel and checked in. I had worked up a mighty thirst so I looked for a friend in the fridge. But damn, whoever had the room before me had filled the beer bottles with water. How rude.
A Really Light Beer
Luckily there were two more in there that had not been tampered with and I got replacements for the ones that were quite quickly.
Our room was really nice and it had a large balcony that looked out over well kept grounds.
A Room With A View
We couldn't relax for too long though. I signed us up for a group dinner. Not something I would normally recommend, but I was not that familiar with Rome and I thought it might be fun.
It was fun. It looked like there was a decent restaurant up front where regular people ate, and then a big dinning room in the back for the tour groups. But what the hell, free wine and beer, all the food you could eat, and it was decent if not inspired, and live entertainment. I ended up really enjoying myself.
Having A Good Old Time
And the Mysterious Chinese Woman even got serenaded.
A Song For Sweetie
One last stop before we headed back. We had to see the fountain made famous in the movie Roman Holiday, Fontana Di Trevi. It gets its name because it is at a point where three streets converge. If you never saw the movie, maybe you recall the song, Three Coins In The Fountain.
Crowded, Of Course
I did manage to force my way through the crowd to get close enough to actually see the water, though.
But, I Saved My Coins
I will have more on Rome tomorrow if I can access to my pictures. If not I will post about some stuff that I have done after I returned home. There was a street party to celebrate Bastille day last Sunday just a few blocks from where I live, and that was fun.