Today we woke up in the Hotel Felini in Rome. We went to a special breakfast around the corner from our hotel. It was the usual items...pastries, cereal, yogurt, and YEAH more tea. BTWs Mom and Dad have really liked this hotel...the front desk has been very helpful from directions, to dinner reservations, take away pizza recommendations, and more.
After we were finished we walked about 20 minutes including through a long tunnel to a place called the Colosseum. In case you were wondering what the Colosseum was they would put things in a ring from animals to people called gladiators and make them battle. Usually to the death, but if someone failed to die the people in the audience would be asked to decide the fate of the gladiator. Those who fought valiantly were allowed to live and normally those who were cowards were executed. They had all kinds of animals that would participate from lions, bears, porcupines, elephants, and even hippos. They would have many "acts" to the days events. Acts you say? Yes, as they considered many as plays and would have scenery for the battles and costumes for the gladiators. In fact they generally acted out old Roman legends, such as Hercules, and the gladiator would die the same death. Under the floors of the ring there were over 80 elevators that could lift props, animals, and humans to the stage/arena. Watching these "shows" were everyone from the people in cheap seats to the members of the senate and the Vestal Virgins who are selected before the age of ten....that could be me. YIKES! Other than sitting and looking pretty in the Colosseum and keeping some pools filled with water and a flame constantly lit they seemed to lead a boring life, never marrying or having children. But if they messed up they were buried alive.
I really enjoyed the Colosseum as our parents had downloaded audio guides on their phones to save us some euros. Mom's comment: Rick Steve's Rome Audio Tours. They had great stories and had us follow very easy directions. There were audio tours available for purchase or if you wanted to hire a guide there were a lot who would approach you before entering. Dad was also good and purchased our tickets in advance and we got to bypass a really long line.
We went up a hill over to the Forum next. It was getting really hot so we sat in the shade where we could and listened to more audio talks. It was filled with lots of large marble columns from ancient roman government buildings. We also saw a large arch which starts to tie our journey together. Remember David from Florence. The shepherd boy who defeated Goliath. He would go on to become King of Israel. The Romans went in and defeated Israel and destroyed much of the Temple of David that he had built to honor God in Jerusalem (we will go there in a couple of weeks). The Romans brought back more than 10,000 Jewish prisoners and made them build the arch that honored their own defeat. This made me sad. It was getting hot and we had a long, difficult walk back to our hotel. But we rested for a couple hours and were off again.
This time we took the Metro to Vatican City. Did you know Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. To me today it was the most crowded. Luckily again we had tickets and skipped right to the front of the line for the Vatican Museum. Dad picked us up an audio guide, but the numbers on the map made no sense, so every time we saw a red number we punched and listened. That worked. The Pope sure has a lot of art. By the way the Pope is the highest person in the Catholic Church. There were room after room of sculptures, tapestries, paintings, vases, and even bath tubs. But we didn't really enjoy this place. It was very crowded and as Mom said kind of felt like being stuck in IKEA. You had to go through every room before you reached what you were there for...at IKEA the cash registers...here the Sistine Chapel. In the Chapel the boys have to wear pants and the girls wear something that covers down to their knees and their shoulders. Shew...we made it and it was amazing!
Tonight is our last night in Rome and Italy in fact. One last scoop of gelato, one last pizza, and then tomorrow we are off to Athens and Israel.
Oh heads up to kids and parents when visiting Rome....there are lots of street vendors and performers. They will try to put the item they want you to purchase in your hand. If you actually grab hold you are in for a battle to get them to take it back without you paying them. Luckily a friend had prepared us and our fists were clinched and we said "no grazie" a lot. And even the guys dressed up like gladiators outside the Colosseum for photos would try to place their toy sword in your hand. So tighten your fist. And anywhere in Italy carry bottles for water as there is potable/drinking water spickets everywhere for you to refill or have a water fight.
Mom's Comments...also our first evening we arrived we went to the Spanish Steps, but it was hot, lots of vendors, and hari krishna around, and the fountain was down for repair, so a little bummed. And then we went to the Trevi Fountain...very similar except the fountain was operational, but barricaded so you could not get very close. We read it has just occurred in the last couple of weeks and will be that way for repairs for at least a year+. But we had a wonderful dinner at Trattoria Tratone.