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Rome — On Our Own in 8 hours

Author: PenelopeCorelli
Date of Trip: July 2009

Friday, July 10: Civitavecchia, Italy

Had an early breakfast in the room — ordered too much food, and our bodies are not quite awake yet! Had to call room service for the 2% milk, which was missing. Took a couple of the croissants and Danish with us for snacking; also took a couple of bottles of water. Jim forgot his ship’s card and had to go back to the room to get it. There was a free shuttle from the ship to the Civitavecchia port entrance, with A/C! From there, we walked about 1/2 mile to the train station. BIRG tickets were €9 each for all day. We just missed the 7:33am train — it must have been the first Italian train ever that was on time! What are the chances? Our loss. The next train was at 7:59am. No A/C! Gasp! Took 1 1/2 hours & arrived in Rome at 9:30am. We had to walk a long way to get out of Termini, because we were on Track 28 — the last track and farthest from the entrance!

Used the restroom – €0.70 — automatic doors, change machine, and an attendant — but very clean and well supplied. No riffraff here. But with all the money they make, they could put TVs in the stalls, or something. What do they do with all that income? Interesting to speculate.

Took the Metro Line B to Colosseo. Got off, walked up the stairs with the crowd, and there it was! The Colosseum right there across the street & staring you in the face! That was impressive! We kept left and bypassed the line, because we had prepurchased our tickets online. (Initially I got in line because we weren’t sure what the line was for — a common thing to do when you’re a tourist. What is the line for & do I need to stand here?)

Took lots of photos, of course. Next time we can take fewer. Jim saw an elevator on the ground floor (he didn’t tell me!), but decided to take the stairs –not that many, compared to some places. Got to the top and viewed the levels below. We had taped Rick Steves’ online audio tours to our mp3 players, but listened to only a portion. Learned, among other things, that 2000 people plus many more animals were killed in the 100 opening days of the Colosseum, aka Flavian Amphitheater.

We walked down to Foro Romano, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Hiked up steps & ramps to the top. Wow! An incredible sight! The remains of ancient downtown Rome. We spent about an hour hiking and taking pictures. Then walked back down to the street level, hot, dripping, and exhausted!

Walked towards “Wedding Cake,” Vittorio Emmanuel Monument. Very large, hard to get it all into one photo from close up. Found a nice restaurant, Bibo, about 1-1/2 blocks away. Inside A/C! Yes!! Cute, friendly, good food, reasonably priced, and a singing waiter — he was just a happy guy. Jim had salmon on toast with mozzarella cheese, Cate had a Neapolitan pizza (anchovies), and I had chicken salad on light toast. Yum! Yum! We also got 2 L of water & a Coke. Total, including tip: €38.50. Restrooms are downstairs.

After lunch, we walked the 1-1/2 blocks back to the Monument, where we got a taxi (yay!) to Piazza Navona: €6, including tip. Jim & Cate bought gelati (€3 each), while I walked to buy postcards at a store with a couple of very sweet Italian flatterers, as it should be in Italy, where chivalry and gentility is appreciated by us “older” gals.

We sat on a bench in the Piazza, absolutely beautiful, with three fountains, street artists, and, of course, lots of people.

From there we walked to the Pantheon — whoa! — A huge old building (rebuilt in the 2nd century) with giant columns right there in the middle of the city. It’s now a church. The giant concrete center dome has a hole in it to let in the sunshine, and there are drains in the floor below to accommodate the rain. Several altars, statues, paintings. A large fountain stands outside in the Piazza Della Rotunda.

Now on to the Trevi Fountain — everyone in Rome is there today! Beautiful fountain — apparently about €3000 in coins is thrown in daily, leading to some serious fishing attempts. The money is used to help Rome’s poor.

Walked about a mile looking for another taxi stand — it was 3:30pm and the buses were jam-packed. We ended up at Bibo’s Restaurant again — the same place we got the first taxi!

Took the taxi to Termini (€8). We had to walk about a half mile to that last track! Bought 2 lemon slushies (€2.20 each); we were tired but found no place to sit. Sitting at the train station is discouraged by metal spikes sticking out of flat concrete areas that may be large enough to rest. A couple of areas had the spikes removed. Found an edge to rest a little.

Back to Civitavecchia — no air-conditioning, unbearably hot! Some windows open, so there’s a hot breeze when the train is moving quickly. One guy from the ship brought wet bandannas and mini-fans (which I had decided not to pack.) He kindly let us use a fan. I read here on the boards about bringing wet cloths in Ziploc bags, but I kept forgetting. Good idea!

Walked… no, trudged the last 1/2 mile to the shuttle. Staggered aboard and collapsed in the room!

Jim iced his knees (did that daily — we had two buckets with ice in our room on most days, except when the steward filled them early and the ice was melted when we returned).

The pedometer indicated we had walked 6 miles today! The next day would be easier — our nephew and his wife were stationed in Sicily, so they’d bring their car. We were going to explore Taormina together.

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