120506 Rome 6 May Sunday

I wake early, 4:00am, and decide to get the blog for yesterday ready for uploading.  At 5:30 I quickly dress and catch a cab to the Colosseo to get early morning light effects on this great building of history.  The cab driver is asleep as I tap on his window.  However, it doesn’t take long for him to wake.  He straight away gets into ‘Roman Chariot speed’ as we make way towards the Colosseo down cobble stoned laneways touching 80kph at times.  The best early morning ride one could ever wish for.

The sun is still not taking effect on the Colosseo, and with no one around, I get some great video; the spotlights make for an even better picture experience.  I slowly walk back towards the Hotel Westin, hoping for a McDonalds to be open for an early morning tea – they don’t open until 10:00 am.

Breakfast is another great meal similar to yesterday.  Today’s program is free time until 3:00pm where we meet our Tour Director for Italy, Rosemary.  Rosemary is English but has lived in Italy for many years.  She helps us with important information like, “Don’t order a coffee without asking for American Coffee”.  Italian coffee is full on heavy stuff.  To eat or drink at the counter is much cheaper than taking a seat for the event.  Our hearing pieces, which will be the source of all history and information during our walking tours, is checked and ready to go.

At 4:30pm, we venture out on our first city walking tour, with umbrellas up as it is raining and continues to do so throughout the tour, which lasts to 7:00pm.  Our first stop is the Piazza Di Spagna or, Spanish Steps.  At the top of the stairs is a major French church in Rome.  Many tourists hang out at the fountain at the foot of the steps – oh, I forgot to count the many steps.  We wander through the maze of little streets and find the Trevi Fountain, occupying almost the entire square in which it stands.  This is where Neptune takes center stage.  If you want to be sure of returning to Rome, turn your back and toss a coin over your shoulder into the basin of water.

Still venturing through the narrow streets, we make our way to the Pantheon.  This was reconstructed 2,000 years ago after a disastrous fire.  Its majestic dome, with a diameter of 43 meters, identical to its height, is a triumph of architectural harmony.  There is a 9m opening in the dome for light to come into the church below.

The streets are busy even though it is Sunday afternoon and it is raining; tourists, we can tell, are a plenty.  We make our way to Piazza Navona where there is a large square with yes, another fountain taking centerstage. Of course, there is a story to this fountain like there is to all others.  This fountain is Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers; Nile Ganges, Ia Plata, and the Danube.  These rivers are in the four major continents of the world.  From here, we make our way to our bus, which takes us back to Hotel Westin.

It is suggested by Rosemary, to take a meal in the not so up market restaurant region, so we take a 10 minute stroll and find a nice little café in some back street which turns out quite acceptable food.

Sorry for the quality of pictures in today’s post, but due to the constant rain, we decided to just use the iPhone cameras.  I have reduced them in size and so if you copy and paste them, you will not experience good quality.  If any of you wish to see pictures of your relatives ‘on site’, please leave a comment at the foot of this post and we will include something in the next post.  Normally, Lyn takes the pictures on her Sony DSLR a55 with a Tamron 18-270mm zoom lens.  We had nearly 400 hits to the site on Sunday – very good!

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