Italian Vacation 2010, Day 7

Not that I don’t love everyone in Monika’s family, because I do, but the final day of our vacation to Italy we got to spend alone in Rome.  There’s a lot to cover in Rome, so honestly I think it’s better to do it in small groups anyway, that way you get to see everything you want to see.

Here is the obviously obligatory shot of the Coliseum. This is where our shuttle dropped us off just before noon. We had until 10 o'clock to see everything we wanted to see. This was pretty high on the list, so it's nice that it's so big, you really can't miss it.

this isn't just a dirt field. well, actually, it is just a dirt field, but the Italians like to call it the Circus Maximus which roughly translates to "dirt oval field where guys in chariots raced in circles and some dude from Ben Hur got killed for real." Pretty cool, huh, a little piece of Hollywood, right here in Rome!

Me and Botgirl inside the big, stone stadium thingy. It wasn't crowded at all and it really was a beautiful summer day. Even though there was a huge line, we got to walk right in cause we roll like that (and we bought advanced tickets).

Here is a video of the interior.  The Romans, over two thousand years ago, had this shit figured out.  You don’t really need a map at all because the layout is exactly the same as every damn stadium and arena you’ve ever been in.  Seriously, they’ve not improved upon the design in over 2000 years!  You can see the stage and renovations on the floor at about :40 because they sometimes hold concerts here now, mostly for dvds and specials, but pretty damn cool anyway.

In Rome (and really, probably anywhere in Europe) you can drink right on the streets. they sell beers at every food vending cart and I took advantage. throwing caution to the wind, and with no idea when the next time I would see a bathroom, I slammed a can of Peroni while strolling around on the Apian Way.

It is amazing that this building/church, The Pantheon, is in such amazing condition since it was built nearly 2 millenia ago. But, I guess they maintain it, which is why you see it's half shrouded in scaffolding.

It's clear that inside has gone through periods of neglect and restoration, and I know that what I see now is probably nothing like what an ancient roman would have seen. Nevertheless, it is amazing that culture has preserved this place for so many years.

In Italy, and most of Europe at his point, Absinthe is pretty common and not all that unusual. They even have a pretty good selection, unlike the States, where you pay an arm and a leg for a shitty bottle for no good reason except that people think it's exotic. In any case, here, I drooled for a minute, but we couldn't stop to drink...we had things to see.

This is the Vatican. It took us half the day to make it this far. Oddly enough, it was pretty crowded, you could take pictures, and it was pretty noisy as well. I guess they just gave up on pretending it's a church and all.

Everything, again, was either marble, granite, or gold. No expense was spared, especially since they didn't have to pay for any of it. To tell you the truth, most of it was probably stolen from other churches that they then burned to the ground. Damn blasphemers.

the thought of it made me want to drink. We had dinner in an cafe and then hung out in the piazza next to it before heading off to the Spanish Steps.

Then we found a bar to relax in and just enjoy being in Rome, knowing we didn't have to drive for hours to another city tonight. We could just relax for a minute. This was an Irish Pub, but hey, they had Guiness, so I wasn't complaining.

In the morning, our hotel had an amazing breakfast spread. We packed up the car and headed out to the airport to say good bye to Italy once again.

Once again, since we ordered vegetarian meals on the plane, we got ours served before everyone else on the plane, had better, warmer food than the rest of them, and scored some drinks.

The cats were happy to finally see us again. They were probably getting to the point of forgetting we even existed, but they seemed to remember us all right. We had every reason to be tired and we slept well that night.

Some things I learned in Italy:  When you rent a car, pay the extra money for GPS.  The bedbug scare is way overblown.  We stayed at 7 different hotels, and never once was there any sign of bedbugs anywhere (and  trust me, I checked well).  People generally don’t get mad when you speak English.  They get happy.  You’re a tourist, you’re probably going to be giving them money, and they seem to like that just fine.  Having an international phone is handy for drunk calling your friends back home, but not much else.  If you’re vegetarian, you will eat quite well.   Italy isn’t a big as you might think.  If you want to get somewhere, you can, so if you ever visit, make a list of all the Italian cities you’ve ever dreamed of seeing, and get there.  It’s not as far as you imagined!

See all the pictures from Rome over here.

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