Friday 16th July
Our plan for our first morning back in Rome was to get up early and have a walk around the key sights before the crowds emerged. We didn’t wake up until 8am though. So, instead, we had a lazy morning, went down for breakfast and did some shopping before heading to the Colosseum to pick up our Ancient Rome walking tour (3pm for 3 hrs).
It was very hot. We were informed later that the temperature today had reached 43 degrees. We had done this tour a couple of times before and were concerned it may be a bit repetitive. We were pleasantly surprised though as there were two, new large areas of the forum that had only been opened to the public in the last few months. One was a completely intact Roman Basilica dating back over 2000 years and it was truly amazing. Basilicas, back then, were simply used for official or judicial functions. It was only when Constantine legalized Christianity that they were converted to places of worship. We passed and archeological dig site that we had seen in operation when we last here 3 yrs ago. It didn’t look like on e scrap of progress had been made. We had a photo of Tom standing there from back then so, we took another shot go along with it. Hopefully, Tom may be able to keep tabs on this dig over the coming years.
We had met a nice young Sydney couple, Nadia and Dean, who were on their honeymoon and also staying in our hotel. We bumped in to them at the end of our tour and we shared a taxi back to the hotel followed by a drink at the bar. We commented how the Italians don’t seem as friendly as they had been on previous trips. I thought it might be due to them thinking that we were American and cursing us for the GFC. Dean, who is Italian, said he noticed as much as well and that they had received the same treatment yet and he was speaking to them in fluent Italian! So, I’m at a loss to explain the marked difference in their current outlook.
Although the heat had sapped our appetite, we still managed to fit in a pizza meal and gelato before settling in for a relatively early night.
Saturday 17th July
Mark and I were awake and out early to enjoy our last morning in Rome. Tom was exhausted so we let him have a sleep in. It was already very warm at 7am but it was still nice to be able to get around without the crowds and traffic and to actually experience the relative ‘quiet’ of the city.
We were checking out later in the day but had to move to a smaller room until then. This was a fairly painless process and we then set off for the Vatican to pick up our 11am Vatican tour. The guide was ok and we had only 10 in our group which was an advantage as it made it much easier to hear his commentary.
It was far too hot to walk back from the Vatican so we jumped in a taxi and headed back to the Pantheon for one last look. From the Pantheon we drifted back towards the hotel and had our last pizza meal along the way. We spent the last couple of hours keeping cool in the hotel lobby and reading. It was simply too hot to attempt any more sight seeing although we did have the time. We have finally realised that although this time of the year is the best to travel with Tom it is just too hot. The heat drains you of energy and makes getting around too difficult.