Ancient Rome

It’s a wind down day getting ready for the next leg of our journey, the train to Florence. We took a walk to the train station before lunch to check it out and saw very long lines at the ticket counter. Now the decision if express train at about an hour and a half or the local at 4 hours. That looks rather brutal with stops ever 10-20 minutes. In all probability it will be the express.

And what happened to renting a car and driving to Florence from Rome. The ride to the hotel from the airport is what happened. It’s hard to beat the insanity of these drivers. I think if I lived here, as in grew up here I’d be on a scooter like so many others, weaving in and out of the cars. Now, I’d go for a Smart Car – too cute! Now that the car rental idea is out, today we ready ourselves for tomorrow. Deciding also if we want to squeeze in one more Rome adventure before we leave. There were so many things to see and we got to just about everything we wanted to see but you can’t see all of Rome in 5 days.

The first day here we wound up going on the tour bus to get our bearings. I feel asleep towards the end of the ride. That being up 24 hours isn’t my cup of tea. We did wander around Santa Maria Maggiore but we were biding our time waiting for our hotel room.

Day 2 was when the real fun began, we hopped back on the tour bus, since our tickets were good for 24 hours to catch a ride to the Colosseum instead of just a drive by. It was huge and depending on which angle you approached it from made a big difference. Coming to it through the Arch of Constantine, it was clear you were in the ancient part of the city. The Colosseum was just to the right of the arch and to the left were ruins of temples and the Roman Forum. I confess in reading up on what sites to see everything spoke very highly of the ruins and I thought, well if we’re in Rome we really should go there. Now, I must say it was definitely a highlight. Both seeing what was left of the ancient grandeur and knowing you are walking in the places where those folks were is amazing. In walking to the entrance to the forum ruins it was along a busy street. Here is where you could see how Rome was both an anciet place and a modern city. From this angle the Colosseum was along this main thoroughfare. That is an interesting sight.

There is something magical about those columns that remain, reaching up to the sky defying the ages. Probably our favorite was the Temple Antoninus, because of how much was still intact and how grand it looked. There was so much to see and so much to imagine of what once was it was overwhelming.  I did manage to get a sketch in of the temple but I need more time than I have to put anything together to show. The forum area closes at 5:00 so we had to leave.  Time to look at the map and see how to get back to our hotel. We figured we’d walk since the distance wasn’t too far and there was more to be seen as we walked. As we walked away from the ancient part of Rome, the sun began to set. We had walked up a hill and then turned around to see the silhouette of the ruins in the setting sun.

A beautiful and striking scene to be sure but there was a close second shorty after that. As we made our way up the winding cobblestone road we heard a siren. It was a fire truck racing to its emergency. As it rounded the curve it was clearly tipping to one side. Not only are the regular Rome drivers nuts you can add the firemen into the mix as well. More evidence that renting a car wouldn’t be in the cards for the trip to Florence.