Monday, 25 July 2016

The Eternal Rome-ance - Day 6

Rome and Florence                                                                  Italy

Tuesday 22nd July 2014

Today was the worst day as far as my legs and feet were concerned especially my feet. I had a small blister on my left foot and my small toe was red raw. Even with the pain I was still determined to achieve my plans for today. It didn’t help with the fact that I didn’t have the best pair of shoes to walk in either. I had quite a large breakfast in the morning which relieved my hunger and also gave me more energy to take on the long walk to the Colosseum again from the hotel. I knew I could take my time as I had seen all the sites I wanted to see and was more focused on gift buying today. A very tiring walk brought me to the Colosseum once more and the first thing I bought when I arrived there was for myself; a bottle of nice cold water. The sun was out but I could clearly see the clouds rolling in from the distance. I was not short on gift shops or gift stalls as they were scattered throughout the city which to be honest was a great benefit for me. The stalls were all run by Indian merchants and they all sold Roman trinkets such as the typical fridge magnets, roman soldier statues and helmets, ivory beads, postcards, etc. I bought a few small items such as fridge magnets and a gladiator statue as I headed towards the monument of Emmanuelle II. As I looked at the monument I noticed the front gates were open to the public but still guarded by 2 armed officers and 3 police officers. As I never went through the front gates I took the opportunity to enter to get a closer look. It was a wonder to see the armed officers standing guard with two flames burning in front of the monument. 
Piazza Venezia
Italian Soldiers on Guard at the Monument of Emmanuelle II
Monument of Emmanuelle II
I took a couple of pictures before heading towards a toy shop just down the road. It was called ‘little big town’ and it had everything for kids so this was the perfect place to get my younger family members gifts. As I was browsing I was listening to the stores music and I couldn’t believe it when I heard a song with swear words in it. I was shocked but sniggering at the same time. I then headed down towards the Pantheon yet again and by the time I arrived there; the clouds were over Rome as I sat at the Pantheons large pillars at its entrance for a good rest. After a while had passed, I went inside again admiring its beauty and a thought came to my head. As the Pantheon has a large hole at the centre of the ceiling, I thought that it would look brilliant if I could witness rain coming through the hole and into the church floor. I decided to head back out of the Pantheon to continue my shopping. All of a sudden the thunder and lightning began and then the heavens opened with torrential rain. As the entrance to the Pantheon was sheltered, piles of people came flushing to it in order to stay dry. I suddenly went back into the Pantheon and looked up at the marvellous site of the rain coming down through the hole bouncing off the church floor. The security working in the Pantheon blocked the wet area with rope so no one could get wet or slip over. I was more interested with what I was witnessing. It looked as though the stars were falling from the sky which was magical. I stared at it for a very long time as did the other people in the church mesmerised at the site. I had another thought about running at the central area and kneeling down with my arms out to the side and my head facing up to the ceiling with my eyes closed feeling the falling stars upon my face. Then I would have immediately been rugby tackled by the security guards so I just stayed where I was. 
Piazza Rotonda
Wet Floor at the Pantheon
Time had passed and the rain eventually subsided for a moment so I took the opportunity to get from the Pantheon to the restaurant next to it to get my dinner. As I was trying to save money I decided to just have a margherita pizza to myself. Yet again I had to cut it myself but was very delicious as I watched the rain coming back with thunder and lightning once again. I was fine though as I was sitting under a large umbrella. 
Rain at Piazza Rotonda
It was still raining by the time I paid for my dinner and I had to wait until I had seen an Indian man going around selling umbrellas. I couldn’t believe that I had to buy an umbrella on my holiday for the second time but I eventually got one and was soon on my way. As I went by the narrow streets, I passed some wonderful shops where I would by some more gifts for home. The shop windows were a wonder to see too with a lot of unique displays on show. There were some with large paninos, pizzas and pasta which were making my mouth water even though I already had my dinner. Others included a window with various wines, oils and sweets which looked inviting in which I bought a few things from. 
Sandwich Shop
Wine, Oils and Sweet Shop
I walked down Piazza della Minerva behind the Pantheon and noticed another obelisk with hieroglyphics carved onto it but at its base was an elephant with what looked like an Egyptian rug draped over its back which was beautifully designed. As I walked down another street, there was a shop specifically for religious purposes as it sold large gowns of what the pope or cardinals would wear with its Jesus crosses and mosaic art. There was one window which had a beautiful gold statue of a pope with his gown and a cross behind him which was interesting. 

Obelisco della Minerva

Religious Clothing Shop
Religious Shop
At this point, I had bought all the gifts I needed and started to make my way to the main street of Via del Corso when I was stopped in my tracks by a man with his two daughters. He asked me where Via del Corso was and I personally took him to the street he wanted. Along the way we had a brief chat but good nonetheless about Rome and the unexpected weather. I shook his hand and quickly told him about the area where he would find all the shops and took my leave. By the time I reached the monument of Emmanuelle II, the rain subsided once more which gave me a chance to take a few more pictures of statues of Emperor Cesar in the area which I missed the last time. I came across this beautiful fruit stall full of grapes, bananas, coconuts and apples which all looked mouth watering but I had to save my money as much as I wanted to try them. 
Emperor Caesar
Emperor Caesar
Delicious Fruit Stall
I sat for a moment near the fruit stall and I seen the man with the 2 budgies placing the birds on people shoulders and taking pictures. I was just laughing in shock to see how many people were gullible enough to actually give him money but also seeing their faces the moment he asks them to pay up which reminded me of me a few days ago. After getting tired of seeing him rip people off, I decided to climb the hill up to the Santa Maria in Aracoeli again to sit inside the church to rest. I was still struck by the shear beauty and peace of the church and eventually sat down on one of the many creaky wooden chairs behind the churches pews. I sat admiring its beauty and kept thinking in the back of my mind that someone was watching me this whole holiday spiritually. I felt as though they were making sure I was safe and on the right track which I thought was comforting. 
Santa Maria in Aracoeli
Piazza del Campidoglio
I felt at peace sitting here but I couldn’t sit in the church forever. So I headed out and ended up back towards the Colosseum. By this time the sun was beaming and I could feel every degree on my neck. As I got closer to the Colosseum, a spray painting artist was setting up his paints and canvasses. A woman wanted a specific painting of his with specific colours so he had to make her one up. I was watching for a while overwhelmed with how much work went into one painting. A lot of people were gathering to witness his work and process which probably put a bit of pressure onto him. Just when he was coming towards the end, part of the painting was not dry yet; so when he removed the Colosseum template, he accidently ripped a part of the paint off on its edges ruining the whole picture. I felt so sorry for him being so close to the end as well so at that point I took my leave to reach the Colosseum. I sat for a brief moment staring at the arena as though I was hypnotised by its beauty once more before I took off to my hotel. 
Suddenly it started to rain heavy again and luckily for me I had my umbrella still. Half way to the hotel I noticed a woman coming out of work with her thin cardigan over her head protecting herself from the rain. I thought it would be kind to give her my umbrella so I walked up to her and asked her if she wanted my umbrella. She laughed and said that it was alright as her car was near where we were standing but she was really happy that I came over and offered her my umbrella. She drove off in her car with a smile on her face; it just meant I could stay dry when I got back. The walk from the arena to the hotel was the hardest walk throughout my time here as my blisters on my left foot were slowing me down. It took forever to get back to my hotel and was relieved when I put the key in the door and walked into my room with the air-con blasting. After a nice shower, I lay on my bed eating my Pringles whilst watching the Italian TV not understanding much of what was on but it was absolutely nice to get my aching feet off the ground for yet another peaceful night.
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