Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 12 Second Day in Rome

Richard was back on deck today. Still not 100% but OK enough to wander round with us. We had an earlier start this time, caught the bus, then Metro right in to the Colloseum, not 20 steps away. The Colloseum was every bit as grand as I had remembered, and we spent some time there listening to yet another audio guide (we are really enjoying them – even the kids). Mostly it is ruins, but at one end, they have restored what the stadium floor would have looked like (wood with sand over the top), and some of the marble seats, it is easier to imagine what the spectacles would have been like in there. It was very noticable that there were much fewer cats there than last time. I don’t like to think what might have happened to them all, but I imagine they probably became quite a problem because of the numbers.
From there we wandered across the road to the Roman Forum, turned on our audio guides again, and got taken on a great tour of these ruins. It must have been a buzzing incredible place in its hayday. I don’t think I have mentioned the hoardes of school kids all over the place, each with an identifying cap on (bright red for one school, bright yellow for another, and one with stars on). All European children under 18 can go to the historical sites for free at the moment, and schools seemed to be taking advantage of it. Anyway, at the Roman Forum, at the place that Julius Caesar is said to have been killed, some of the kids had left postcards to him. One was written in English, and said “Yo Julius, You are a bamph, sorry about Brutus, he is an arsehole”! We don’t know what a bamph is, but the second part was very clear. We wondered whether the teacher actually checked them before they were dropped off at the site! Some of the columns there were 2000 years old – hard to imagine life that long ago.
We had lunch with the pigeons, then walked on to Circus Maximus, where the chariots used to race. There is not much left now except an elliptical grassy area with embankments, and a few ruins in the further distance. It was a short walk from there to an island on the Tiber, where Richard wanted to do a cache. The whole time we were walking, we would hear sirens from police and ambulance. We just couldn’t take seriously the cartoon like sound they made, nor the smart car ambulances that were painted bright yellow and looked like a clown should hop out of them rather than an ambulance officer! We walked through the Jewish Ghetto, then on to the Pantheon. This is an incredibly old, and incredibly beautiful building. Its proportions are mathematically perfect, like a perfect sphere inside a perfect cube. Again, one of the oldest buildings in Rome, it defies its age, and has been beautifully maintained as it was used throughout that time (mostly as an church).
Still walking..... (yes, our poor feet were complaining bitterly by now), we went again to the Trevi Fountain, then tried to find a church Sarah was interested in visiting, but when we got there, it didn’t seem like the one we were looking for – with catacombs. Wearily, we made our way back to the Metro, then bus, and gladly back into the camper. Hayden cooked tea for us, and we fell into our beds.