Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rome, Italy Part 2

After lunch we re boarded our bus and headed out to the Quirinalis (one of the seven hills of Rome), the Victor Emmanuel monument, the Roman Forum and the Coliseum. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located near the statue of Victor Emmanuel. After passing by the monument, we headed down a long flight of stairs into the ruins of the Roman Forum. These are quite extensive, and there is a lot of archaeological work going on. I was fascinated by what appeared from a distance to be cliff dwellings, but which probably appeared to be that way because the level of most of the city is now so much higher than it was in the days when all those structures were built.

Unlike at my prior visit, the coliseum is now fenced off, rather than being completely open. We did not go into it, but I'm sure the atmosphere there is much better than it used to be. After we left we boarded our bus near the remains of an ancient aqueduct. From there we could also see the Circus Maximus.

After this we headed to St.-Paul's-Outside-The-Walls church, which now is a Catholic church, although it did not start out that way. The scale is much smaller than St. Peter's but it is a beautiful church.

Sunday turned out to be a good tour day. There were fewer people than on other days, plus we saw no evidence of the usually ubiquitous pickpockets.

A few odd bits of information: there are three prices for coffee at a café. The least expensive is when you buy it to go; next up is when you want to consume it inside; most expensive is when you want to consume in on the patio. Lane lines on the roads appear to be suggestions, based on the way people drive. And finally, by law in Rome no building can be taller than St. Peter's Basilica. Therefore there are no skyscrapers.

Monday morning we had an easy time checking out of our hotel and traveling to the airport, which is nearer to Civitavecchia than to Rome. There were armed guards above the ticketing area of the airport, but security was easy to get through, apart from the fact that our passports were checked at least five times. We found the airport easy to navigate. Our timing was also perfect: we left the hotel at 8:30AM for a 10:55AM flight, which was exactly enough time to board our flight immediately after check in. We had a safe and uneventful flight home, apart from the usual delays at JFK airport surrounding baggage loading.

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