Off to Rome

That was about all for Florence, but we did get one more morning of museuming in before heading to Rome.

When we headed out I made sure to take a picture of this column with the statue.  According to the Rick Steves book, this is considered the belly button of Rome.  So, it seems we sat on the belly button of Rome.  You can see our hotel in the background, so it seems we stayed very close to this said belly button.  This is this site that was the first Roman forum.
We decided on a museum nearby, the Bargello, and headed in that direction.  The train wasn't until noon, so we had a little bit of time.  
We got there just before the mad rush of children on a school trip.  While the idea of having these places at your disposal as a child learning history and art is amazing, it became a bit of a pain as we were quickly trying to sightsee.  Again, no pictures allowed inside, but we did take one looking back in after we left, and you can see the school children inside.  There were many great sculptures inside here, so it was nice to drop in and look, even if just for a short time.
When we got to the train station we decided to grab some food.  Oddly, McDonald's looked the best.  I should mention that on this trip I have eaten at McDonald's more times that I have in the last probably 20 years, and we only went twice here.  Since I don't eat meat, I never really ate at McDonald's, even as a child, thankfully.  But, when traveling, McDonald's offers some familiarity, and for use it was a novelty to go.
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Next stop: ROMA
After a short moment of trying to figure out how to get to the hotel from the station, and nearly being ripped off by a cab driver who wanted twice as much in fare as we knew it should have been, we opted for the subway, and determined what stop we needed.  Knowing that the subway is lurking with pickpockets, we watched our things closely.

Our hotel was near the Spanish Steps, and came recommended by my grandfather, who stayed here once before.  Well, the subway stop dropped us at the bottom of the steps.  Hmmm, do you know what I am going to say next?  Oh yes, we climbed up the steps, with our suitcases.  Actually, we bypassed the Spanish Steps in hopes of finding a road to drag things up, but instead only made it to a less crowded staircase, where we lugged those suitcases all the way up.  Yes, there is a picture of this later on, which I took as we went out walking later and passed by the same staircase.

But, we did make it in one piece to the Hotel Gregoriana.  This is a cute hotel, one a very quiet side street.  DSC00656DSC00655
The only difficult part was no wifi and I was actually then connected to the wall by a cable and pretty much stuck doing work in bed and not at a desk.  Obviously it was not the end of the world, but seeing as I had to grade papers and work, it was not the most ideal situation.  The other downside was no American breakfast, and that meant no real protein, which I prefer or I get hungry and my blood sugar drops after we head out and I start walking for a while.  No big deal!  The croissants were tasty and there was a little cheese spread which helped.  Mostly I just grabbed breakfast elsewhere.

We were in Rome and settled in the room while sights were still open.  Seriously, we were in Rome.  This meant we had to go see some Roman sights.  We could not contain ourselves and headed straight for the Colosseum.  I was so excited to see the architecture and and the magnitude of the presence I felt around me, that I took pictures of just about everything.
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I even took a picture of this bus because the sign said G. Washington.
The first MAJOR place we saw on our walk was the hVictor Emmanuel Monument.  You really can't miss it and you can't help but stop and stare at the size of this.  Remember, Rome is packed with the very old, and then the just old.  This monument is quite new, and is dedicated to the first king of Italy.  There is a museum inside and you can take a ride up to the top of the monument for a view.  It was too expensive, so we passed on that.
One thing to remember in Rome is to pay attention as a pedestrian.  There are few traffic signals and often you just have to go for it while traffic is moving all around you.  It can be scary, but you need to be confident or you will have problems.  After our first look at the traffic at this section, we decided to stop and get something to eat first before braving the roads.  We stopped into a cafe for some food.

Look at this flower arrangement.  Look closely.  How neat is that!
Ryan had some ice cream, while I had half a sandwich of cheese and tomato.
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Then it was back out to brave the traffic and make our way to the Colloseum.
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Along the way, we passed these ruins.  At first we were like, ok, this is neat and old and broken, whatever, and then we realized this is part of the Roman Forum.  Then we were a tad more impressed.  You really have to use your imagination to get a true feel of how impressive this area is and what really happened here.
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The ancient Roman architecture is just amazing to look at.
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Then it appeared before me.
Have I ever mentioned that I minored in history in college.  The older the better.  The more interesting the story behind something, the more curious I am.  For me, a Roman vacation, with all that history, is just a dream come true.
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Oh, and of course Ryan and I are big nerds.  I mean it.  Any idea what this is?
If you guessed our shadows down below on the wall inside the Colloseum, then you are not only correct, but really good at identifying odd objects in pictures.  Ryan is obviously the taller shadow.

Now, welcome inside the Colloseum!  Obviously things are not as they were and there is some restoration done inside.

Here is the Colloseum floor.  You can see where the animals and I think Gladiators, were kept down below.
Here I am!
A close up of the area below the main floor.
Since you can walk all around it, you can get views from all angles.
I loved the tree tops, so I could not resist taking a picture.
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This is the Arch of Constantine, next to the Colloseum.
More views of the surrounding area.
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Up close with the area below the floor.  You can see rooms where animals were held.
Of course on the way back we passed the Victor Emmanuel Monument again.
We also made sure to check out the Spanish Steps without our baggage in tow.  There were tons of people here, and lots going on.  There was even a guy roasting chestnuts.
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This is the fountain at the bottom of the Spanish Steps.
As we got to the top and headed back to the hotel, we walked by the stairs we actually went up, and although you can't see all of them, you get the idea that this was not the easiest way to get our luggage to the hotel, but at least it worked.
There was a little cart selling food and beverages at the top of the stairs, so we decided to grab a drink.  Actually, I only grabbed a drink because I have not seen Tuborg beer since I was in high school and travelled to Denmark (notice I said seen and not drank, right mom?).  I got really excited and decided I need to get one.
After a rest, and some work, we headed out to find the Hard Rock Cafe.  Again, I collect the shirts, so I always seek them out when I can.  Sadly, I am home now and I can't locate my Hard Rock Rome shirt.  I know I packed it, but I can't find it.  Oh well!  Guess I need to head back to Rome!
Ordinarily, we would not eat here, but sometimes, when you get there you are just hungry and don't feel like looking for something else.  We did eat at the one in Paris too, but did not eat there in Venice.  It is one of those things where if the timing works out and the hunger is there, we might just decide to stay for food.  In Rome it was a little different for our motive.  When we were in Venice I got the All Access Card.  This meant anytime we are at a Hard Rock, we can bypass the wait.  Oh the power!  They were on a 45 minute wait, so we thought this would be fun, and sure enough, we were seated right away.

Ryan ordered a burger and I ordered a shrimp pasta.  Yep, not the best meal (because it wasn't authentic Italian in Italy, like the other meals), but the food was good and the atmosphere is always fun.  I love to see people from all over flock to the Hard Rock and enjoy their American food.
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On the walk back to the hotel, we stopped by this place for Gelato.
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I thought these little frozen desserts were cute but I was just too stuffed for anything else.
Ryan on the other hand got an ice cream cone.  I love the little cone they stuck on top for decoration.  They like to make their cones into art creations.
After a long day, we went back to the room to get some rest before another long, full day of touring Rome, with the coming afternoon at the Vatican.

QUESTIONS:  Do you have a Hard Rock near you?  Have you ever been to Rome?  Did you have a minor in college?  Do you know about Ancient Roman history?


Unknown said...

HAHA you are nerds. I love the shadow pic :) I do have a Hard Rock near me, but the last time I was there was High School...maybe with YOU?
I did have a minor - womens studies :P
I know a little about Roman history...we had a personal tour guide in Italy...but that was 2006. Now all I know is that I like gelato :) xo!

Nicole, RD said...

I loved Rome - best European city in my book! It is exactly what I thought it would be and for that, I loved it all the more! I love the photo of the shadows - so creative and cute! I was able to pick you guys out easily!

KimberlyInSEA said...

I'm loving all the photos. It's like I can travel in your shoes for the length of the blog post :-) Dave has been to Rome before, but I have not yet, so it's on the long list!! I hope you are doing well! I'm sorry I have been out of the loop lately!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

I've never been to Rome, or anywhere outside of the Bahamas or Mexico, only through your blog!!! :)

eatingRD said...

McDonalds? Hard Rock? lol My goal when overseas is to eat super authentic at all costs :) hehe Perusing your other posts...Can't wait! Looks wonderful!

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