Friday, 22 July 2016

The Eternal Rome-ance - Day 4



Roman Forum

Rome and Florence                                                                  Italy

Sunday 20th July 2014

I woke up still feeling a bit of strain in my legs as I headed into the hotels restaurant for breakfast. However, excitement of seeing new locations today had spurred me on blocking out the pain. I felt like the walk to the Colosseum from the hotel was getting longer each day too feeling relieved as I arrived at the arena along with countless others. I then had a thought that I never went into the Roman forum since I had been here. As it was my last day with my Roma pass I took advantage of using it to get into the forum. I got straight in while everyone was lining up and the first thing I came across was the Arco di Tito which looks exactly like the Arco di Constantino close to the Colosseum. I was told that I would feel like I was in a different era when I entered the forum. The whole area was ruins and empty shells of temples and homes of what was once a thriving area in roman times; it was a remarkable sight to behold nonetheless as I headed further up to the Palatino hill and welcomed by some more ancient ruins. It was a weird feeling as I kept thinking about what this area must have looked like at its prime thousands of years ago. After viewing the pretty gardens in the area, I headed back to where I originally started and took in the sights of the pillars and columns down a different route which were scattered all over the ground. Again it was amazing to be amongst this ancient history with the thoughts of the Roman era still flowing through my mind.
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum

My next location was to see San Clemente and its catacombs set underneath the church. Along the way I stopped at where a Chinese woman was busy doing some paintings on 3 layers of glass making the picture look three dimensional. I looked at her work and I couldn’t believe how amazing it was to see them and how she made them. I thought that my mother would like one of these unique paintings so I bought one for her. 

Chinese Painting

After that I was stopped in my tracks by a man who had 2 budgies on his shoulder. He just came out of nowhere and placed one of them on my shoulder with the other one on my head. He said he would take a picture of me with them for free and so he did. He then took them back and asked me to pay up after he clearly said that I didn’t need to pay him; I couldn’t believe how gullible I was too. He was eager for me to pay him but I was not happy with what he did. I said I would delete the picture but he still wanted money. By this point I walked away realising I still had a picture of me with the birds so I kept it. 

Me with Budgies
After having my dinner of spaghetti bolognese near the Colosseum, I headed to San Clemente. It was easy to find but as I soon arrived, I was a bit disappointed to find out that the catacombs at San Clemente weren’t catacombs at all. However, the church and the courtyard were a pretty sight to see so it was not a waste of time walking there; still I would have loved to have seen some spooky catacombs. 

Colosseum
Roman Cosplay

I decided to head back to the monument of Emmanuelle II where I would walk down the long street of Via del Corso. It was a very long straight road leading to my next location at the other end. Along the way, I went into a few clothes shops which some of them were very expensive despite the 50 – 70% sales they had on. The Piazza del Popollo was nearing me and as I got closer, the shops became more expensive. These shops were the famous GAP, Gucci, D&G and Armani which were obviously too expensive for me. I did watch some of the people coming out of there with bagfuls of top of the range clothes looking like a million pound. I eventually arrived at the Piazza and was amazed by the size of the place but just a bit smaller than the Piazza of St peters at Vatican City. Yet again at its centre was a large spire with hieroglyphics but without a fountain at its base. I looked upon the wonderful gateway in the Piazza and noticed a very large banner saying ‘Museo Leonardo da Vinci’ which was just in the building next to the gateway. 

Piazza del Popollo
Piazza del Popollo Gateway
Piazza del Popollo
Piazza del Popollo
Piazza del Popollo

I had to go in and see it and I was definitely won over when I entered and paid for my ticket. It had all of his designs built to scale and copies of his paintings which were a wonder to see. There were a lot of designs I came across but there were several that stood out for me such as the bicycle, glider, helicopter, parachute, tank and a few weaponry designs which were a marvel to witness such wonderful inventions created by a great inventor. Also on the walls were copies of his anatomy notes and diagrams which were a wonder to look at as I was a fan of anatomy and physiology admiring how much detail was in each one. There was one small design which caught my eye and it was Leonardo’s design of a clock. I had seen this design before with the momentum of the metal balls and string swinging around back and forth causing the cogs inside to turn; this made me want to own one and I was won over at how the whole design worked. I left the building feeling amazed at what I had seen and it was definitely worth the money I paid for entry. 
 
Leonardo da Vinci Museum - Bicycle
Leonardo da Vinci Museum
Leonardo da Vinci Museum -Parachute
Leonardo da Vinci Museum -Anatomy Designs
Leonardo da Vinci Museum -Helicopter
Leonardo da Vinci Museum -Tank
Leonardo da Vinci Museum - Gun 
Leonardo da Vinci Museum - Crossbow
Leonardo da Vinci Museum -Gun
Leonardo da Vinci Museum - Clock

My next location was a quick trip to the Mausoleo di Augusto which was not far from the Piazza del Popollo. As I arrived, I realised that I couldn’t just walk up to it. The whole building was fenced off and most of it was covered by trees. However, I did manage to get a good picture of it from the front. 

Mausoleo di Augusto

My next location had to be the Trinita dei Monti which of course is where the Spanish steps are. With my legs already tired, the thought of having to climb these steps came to my mind; but I thought that it can’t be as bad as the steps to the top of St Peters dome. I arrived at the Piazza di Spagna to the site of the Spanish steps so full of people sitting on them trying to cool down. It was a great sight to look at but as I looked to the top, I noticed that the Trinita dei Monti was covered in scaffold just like the Trevi fountain. It was a real shame but it was still a good feeling to be at the infamous Spanish steps. I soon reached the top of the stairs with the heat of the sun bearing down on me with a sense of achievement as though I was Rocky Balboa. This was also the last main site that I wanted to see on my trip to Rome and I realised it took me 4 days to see everything I wanted to visit. This meant I could relax a bit more for the rest of the holiday. At the top of the stairs I had a great view of the city yet again from another great angle with the main locations popping up above the rooftops. I had a quick look in the church which had its own unique look but still with a hint of similarities with all other churches in Rome before heading back down the Spanish steps to have a relaxing walk through the streets of Rome. 

Trinita dei Monti - Spanish Steps
View from Trinita dei Monti

After passing the Pantheon I ended up in Vatican City where I would board the hop on – hop off tour bus for the last time just to give my legs a good rest and to make use of the pass before it expired today. It was a sensational feeling when the bus was moving and the wind was blowing on my face. I felt relaxed through the journey on the bus and it took a very long while before we arrived at the Colosseum. By this time it was starting to get dark so I sat for a moment at the Colosseum before moving off towards the Piazza Venezia. 

Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II

I felt like I wanted to sit down and have a beer so I headed to the Pantheon once again. It was dark when I arrived but before I sat down I watched some street performers and whilst I stood at the fountain which had a nice green glow to its water just listening to the music and the water trickling behind me. 

Pantheon

I then entered the nearest café to me and asked for a beer. The man that served me asked if it was just for one and I said “yeah, I’m by myself” which he jokingly cried also making me laugh; he poured my beer and led me to the outside seating area. He then asked me if I wanted to sit with a woman who was sitting outside by herself and I was a bit confused at first but eventually I sat down with this woman and kept laughing at the thought that this was actually happening. The woman was a friend of the worker in the café and she didn’t speak a word of English. I tried to speak to her with what little Italian I knew and it somehow worked as we were both laughing and having fun despite the language barrier. An hour or so later another friend of the worker sat with us and she understood a bit more English but still not enough to have a good conversation with. Despite this we were still having fun. They were both having a full on conversation in Italian and I made them laugh when I was nodding my head as though I understood everything they were saying. It was getting really late at this point so I kindly asked them if I could have a photo taken with them both and I got the pictures I wanted. It was time to leave to get back to my hotel miles away so I said goodbye to everyone and even got kisses on the cheeks by both women which I was really happy about. 

Italian Acquaintances

The long gruelling walk was relentless with yet more pain in my legs. As I got close to my hotel, I saw an old homeless man who I had passed everyday since I arrived in Rome so I did something good. I got his attention and gave him 20 Euros. He looked half confused and happy at the same time. Hopefully he had something good to eat for once with that money and not wasted it on alcohol. I finally lay on my bed feeling relaxed going over what breathtaking sights I had seen and couldn’t believe that I was sitting with two beautiful Italian women at the Pantheon; life was good I thought as I headed off to sleep.

Colosseum
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