Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 51: Rome (Nov 6)


Fortunately I had this day roughly planned out and didn’t have to stay up late the night before. The plan to start out was doing the Night Walk from last night, only in reverse, starting from the Spanish Steps, and taking time to go inside or see the sights. We slept in and got to the Spanish Steps (metro stop Spagna) around noon.


If you face the steps at the bottom, about a block to your right is what Rick calls the world’s biggest and most lavish McDonalds (hey, free clean bathroom!). Our walk took us to the Trevi Fountain, the Piazza Colonna, the Parliament Building, and then the Pantheon. We stopped for lunch in the piazza right across from it, then when it started to rain we went inside. The dome here inspired Michelangelo when he built St Peter’s. Then it was back to the Piazza Navonna (fortunately the rain had stopped by the time we finished with the Pantheon) to finish the walk. It was a short walk to the Victor Emmanuel Monument at Capitol Hill. We walked around the massive monument and the Piazza Venezia in front and saw all of the historical ruins in the immediate vicinity at street level, including Trajan’s Column, Trajan’s Forum, and what’s left of Trajan’s Market. We didn’t go visit them, that was for another day. Climbing up to the top of the Monument gives you some great views of the city, but while we were up there storm clouds rolled in and we were basically trapped in the restaurant/bar up top or looking around inside (there’s a small museum) for an hour until the rain stopped. By then it was time for dinner, so we wandered down to the Colosseum (which is right across from the metro stop Colosseo) and took some pictures. It looks eerie lit up at night, from close up, and the pictures come out much better if you do NOT use a flash. We left the area around 7:30 and headed up to the Spanish Steps to check out a recommended restaurant, which turned out to be closed for the day so we found something else. Left the Steps around 9:30 in hopes we’d be home 10:30-11pm.

I had thought we might have enough time to go to Trastavere (tras-TAV-a-ray) to see the synagogue there and the old Jewish Quarter, and maybe have dinner there, but the rain messed that up, so we had to move that to another day.

At the Coloseo stop, we heard of an impending rail strike the next morning. They would let the metro run from 7-10am for morning rush hour, then they’d strike for the day, picking back up from 6-9pm and then shutting down again at 9pm. At least we had some warning, I had to make sure that we were out early enough (with a 10-minute walk downhill, some waiting for the bus, a 20-minute bus ride, and a 20-minute metro ride down to the Colosseum) to get there before the trains stopped, and that we were finished with dinner with enough time to get to our stop to catch the bus (which was not affected by this strike).

(Originally posted 5/13/14 at 8:45pm, Houston )

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