We intended to go in to Rome later today, sometime in the afternoon, with the intention of
staying in to the evening when it was cooler and less crowded.
On top of the €18pn Camperstop fee, we have to pay €2 each per day as a Rome Tourist Tax. So even this overcrowded
motorhome car park is going to cost us €22pn. On top of this we have to pay to have a shower, it's usually one Euro, but it all mounts up. We opted to fire the boiler up and use our own facilities. But first we had a bit of a lie-in as there was nothing
much to get up for.
After scrubbing up we popped up across the dual carriageway to the supermarket for a few bits and pieces, one again we were charged two cents for the bag the tomatoes
were wrapped in. I wonder what would happen if we'd opened the bag, stuffed the tomatoes in our pockets and then told them we didn't need the bag.
On the way back we popped in to Reception
and purchased two all-singing-all-dancing-ticket for the Rome transport system which would be valid for 48 hours once we started using them.
After lunch the moment had come, we were to join
our Italian cousins in their capital city. The tram was quite straightforward, what with it stopping 200 metres down the road from the Camperstop. The journey didn't take too long and we son arrived in Rome city.
Off the tram and on to the Metro which was quite a walk down the road, a few stops down the track and we had arrived at the Colisseum. This is pitched as Rome's greatest amphitheatre, commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in AD72 (he
was later to have a brand of motor scooter named after him).
It's at this point I must be honest. The Chef has been here a couple of times before, but this was my first visit, and yet, even
in the planning stages there was no feeling of expectation of excitement. It was more a matter of 'If you're in Italy you simply must visit Rome'.
OK so it was impressive in an historical
sense, but in my opinion the Coliseum in Pula which we visited on the way back from Istanbul was vastly superior.
When I began taking pictures with the pocket camera (I'd left the SLR behind
- too heavy) I realised how life must feel suffering from cataracts. For some reason, and it may have been when I cleaned the lens, was steamed up internally. Grief - my only option was to use the camera on my mobile phone which I seldom carry
with me but today it was to aid our navigation if needed thanks to Google Maps.
Thankfully after a few hours being warmed in the sun, the lens cleared and we were back in business.
The streets were absolutely heaving. Not only were there the usual tour groups but the Italians themselves had turned out in force, this being yet another weekend they didn't have to work. We walked
around in the heat amidst heaving crowds, making our way between a few 'sights' or 'attractions', however you view them. Rome is a big place, and today we were there to test the water regarding public transport, and take a look at a small specific area.
I did get to take pictured of the Coliseum, bits of the Forum close by, but not the best views, because for that you have to pay to get in, and I'm not mean by any means but I didn't see any point in
shelling out money if I had no strong desires to see it.
We reached a few other places, click, click, click, then on to the Spanish Steps, click, click, click. I tried to hold the camera
in the air to get over the heads of the crowds, but it was all a bit of a compromise.
The Trevi Fountain is Rome's largest and most famous fountain completed in 17602 took a bit of finding,
yet again heaving crowds which made it difficult to get the pictures I wanted. The central figure are Neptune, flanked by two Triton, one trying to master an unruly seahorse, the other leading a quieter beast contrasting the two moods of the sea.
The Chef remarked that she had never seen crowds anything like this before here in Rome, which was of little comfort to me, a virgin tourist to Italy, but one with no real agenda of 'must see and photograph'.
It was very hot and crowded. We bought a couple of bottles of water and sat and drank them not far from Rome's only Irish pub and restaurant.
As it was all on the way back to the Metro station I took a few pictures of earlier sights now that the camera had been cured of its cataracts.
Back on the Metro, and then to the
Tram station. Ooops the guy at the barrier said they were closed, despite our paperwork stating that they were supposed to run until about midnight. We were to walk 500 metres to catch bus 105 instead. Lucky for us a bus came along just after we arrived
at the bus stop.
It was a bendy bus, probably one of those off-loaded by Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London. It was heaving inside, absolutely stuffed full of people, which brings
me to another point, Up until now I have been quite impressed with Italian folk, they have been very friendly and helpful, and most importantly, smelled good. But here in Rome, starting at the supermarket yesterday we are back to Les sweaty armpit, loads
of it, they put the Spanish to shame. So it must be a Regional thing.
Back 'home' we chilled before having a light evening meal . Having had it we are now listening to amplified music
coming from who-knows-where featuring what sounds like Muslim or Hindu music, and as a rank outsider I can say that it is utter, out of tune rubbish, and I hope that they don't intend to continue such rubbish until late in to the night. Still we must
remember that our beloved politicians keep telling us that they enrich our society.
Tomorrow's cunning plan is to get up early and get in to Rome and visit the Vatican City, my thinking being
that as it's a Sunday they should all be at work.