Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday-the first big day in Rome

We posted earlier in from the McDonald’s to celebrate the free wifi. Here’s more info.

We got up early again and caught the train into Rome, about a 50 minute ride into the central terminal. Lara found out about Roma Pass, which gets us into 2 major attractions and comes with a 3 day subway card. At the station, we thought we'd be prepared by going to the bathroom. Then we saw the gate that charged $1 for the privilege. Dry clean only means it's dirty, and a dollar pee fee means hold it. If I paid €2 for a train ticket and €2 for a Coke, then I've paid about $1 in tax. That should pay for a bathroom in the train station so I can dispose of the Coke. The fee wasn't a pattern throughout the city, but still it's one of those US suburban amenities that is hard to go without.
First we went to the Coliseum. The Roma Pass got us through with no wait in the long ticket line. What can you say-it's the Coliseum. It's big, old, impressive. It's a little scary - in its inaugural week 2,000 people died while fighting for show. We panic when 2,000 people die over multiple years in a war (though not when 40,000+ people die in car wrecks each year so we aren’t consistent). I digress. We then went to the Forum and Palatine Hill. L got sick of seeing ruins and rocks. Trigger suggested the Arch of Titus, which was impressive in denoting how much 50,000 enslaved Jews had done to build the Coliseum and the rest of Rome. The GPS was very helpful in finding a nice restaurant. I had calamari and shrimp. The shrimp were the whole shrimp, head, eyes and all. Even at Virginia Beach, I don’t think I saw that.

We hopped on the subway and then walked a half a mile to the Pantheon. We walked and winded our way through urban canyons, which the GPS severely dislikes. So when we got there, I wasn’t entirely sure. It didn’t actually say “Pantheon” on the front, but it was too impressive to be much else. It is an actual church, so they’re rules of decorum to maintain a respectful atmosphere. There were too many tourists there for this to work. It wasn’t just loud Americans making the noise. The whole international community contributed. The GPS led us on a wild goose chase to find the post office, but we got the goose anyway (stamps). Tobacco shops sell stamps – weird but true. McDonald’s came to the rescue with €1 milk shakes on a hot day. We then walked to the Trevi Fountain. Fountain brings up images of a big bird bath in my mind. This thing was closer to a water park. I expected a dolphin to leap of the water. Lara through a coin backward into the pool, meaning she’ll return to Rome. We saw more people dressed up as Roman soldiers. They make a friendly offer to take your picture with them and then demand €5. A lot of people want to “help” you in Rome and then charge you for their love. I’ve taken to saying Nein, Danke, because everyone knows the Germans don’t mince words or violence when traveling the continent.

Nun and monk count is up to 14+. We might stop counting at the Vatican, where they might count lay people.

Right now (9:30 Tuesday), we are listening the sounds of the neighborhood. No air conditioning means open windows. Tall building in apartment rows means proximity. So you hear what’s happening around you. It’s nice but very different from what I am used to.


  1. "I’ve taken to saying Nein, Danke, because everyone knows the Germans don’t mince words or violence when traveling the continent."
    Brilliant, Daniel. Brilliant.

  2. p.s. My security word that I had to type in to post that comment was "rimpoo". Just thought you'd like that. Sounds like a word Lara and I would try to convince people was real during a Scrabble game.

  3. Here in France, the pay bathrooms are the ones you want. The free ones are disgusting. ;-)

    Looks like you guys are having a great time! Too bad our paths won't cross while you're over here...