I am on the last leg of my Eurotrip, another 3 days in Rome and that is the end of the 2-week journey. This, however, has not curbed my enthusiasm to travel more and do more in the remaining days of the Eurotrip.
The whole family had to wake up early (again), I think that during our time in Venice, we have been waking up early for almost every day. Venice is a small place and it gets crowded with tourists really fast, so in order to get some really nice shots, as the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. Nevertheless, it was all worthwhile.
We had an early train to catch — the 613am train to Rome from Venice
Our stay at the Antiche Fugue was planned to perfection, we didn’t have to walk far with our luggage, the hotel is situated right in front of the Venezia Santa Lucia train station. The ‘real’ Venice can be seen in the mornings, as the barges and boats with wares pass by the train station. Venetians can be seen with their ingenious contraption that allows them to cross the bridges with heavy goods almost effortlessly, things that we never expect.
We had to catch the early train (613am) to Rome.
“What?” was the response from QS, who as noted in family history, wasn’t one of the early risers when I told her the departure time the night before.
Maybe it was the timing or maybe it was the usual, Rome Termini was anything but organized. Everyone was going in every direction available. They were no lifts available, only elevators, and even so, some were not working. The mad rush and tangle of bodies did not come as a shock to us, it was pretty much the same back home but after 12 days of organized bliss, this was an eye-opener to say the least.
There were also long queues for the tickets, fellow travelers like us, had to queue up with our luggage on tow, blocking the way for those who were rushing to board their trains. The corridors were darkly lit, no wonder there were some comments on how unsafe the area could be at night.
We had to catch the Metro to our AirBnb apartment on Via dei Ciancaleoni, just off Via Cavour, somewhere near the Cavour Metro station.
I have only one comment to make on the tourist map of Rome — it should have been a topographical map. Rome is not built on flat lands, and although what seemed to be near on the map, could actually be an uphill climb with some stairs added on. That was what happened to us with our luggage as we searched for the apartment.
Rome should have been drawn as a topographical map
“Well, at least we know we won’t have such trouble when we go back. Since it’s all downhill,” quipped the wife, as she huffed and puffed.
“Ha Ha,” came the sarcastic laugh.
Like all tourists or some would call themselves, travelers, the main attraction in Rome is the Colosseum. This attraction was within walking distance from our apartment, which gave us plenty of time to unwind and unpack before walking to it.
“Oh my god, look at the queue!” said my Mum.
“This is like the Eiffel Tower, only hotter,” said Dad.
Yes, the weather was really treating us well after the cold start to our Eurotrip in Paris, the sun is now shining down hard on us, and it is just 10 o’clock in the morning.
Get your tickets at the Palatine entrance before walking back and bypass the queue at the Colosseum
Tip: If you haven’t book your tickets for the Colosseum early on, try to get them at the Palatine entrance which is behind the Arch of Constantine. Get the tickets, and instead of entering the Palatine, retrace your steps and bypass the long queue at the Colosseum and head straight for direct entrance. Even so, there could be a queue, but at least, it is for security purposes.
Tip: Try not to take photos of the ‘fake’ gladiators outside the Colosseum unless you really wanted to. Beware of pickpockets too.
“The Colosseum requires a lot of imagination in order to enjoy the experience, since some of it is no longer there,” I said.
“Surprisingly, there used to be a canvas covering the stadium back in those days, ” I continued, only to find out, much to my chagrin, that my family have left me and went about taking photos. A tour guide’s life is hard.
Start by walking counterclockwise and you will come to a place with a cross, this was rumoured to be the place where the Emperor sat and watch the processions but I think no one could be sure of it.
“Hail Caesar!” said GC jokingly.
This was Mortal Kombat of the ancient times, where about 40-50,000 spectators thronged the Colosseum to see man against man, man against beast and sometimes beast against beast. Everyone screaming and baying for blood. It was all gore and only one can survive. Stand at one of the edges and picture yourself with an ancient hot dog (probably a piece of horse meat in between some hard dry bread), shouting till your voice was hoarse at the fight below. What an entertainment!
The Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum costs €12 per person, it is a combo ticket.
“I wonder who was in charge of the cleaning afterwards? With all the blood and spilled guts,” asked Mum, probably from too much of watching The Walking Dead.
Walking around the Colosseum is basically giving you the same thing just a different view, so try to climb up the stairs to see it from another angle. Further up is a bookstore and some temporary exhibits. Even if you don’t have anything to buy, try to get yourself a children’s book which shows the real Colosseum without the tumble and crumble.
We took one quick look around before descending the stairs, the combo ticket for the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum costs €12 per person. Don’t worry, it lasts for 2 days, for those of you who aren’t up for walking, but it only allows one entry to each place.
Before we took in the Palatine Hill, we came face to face with the Arch of Constantine. All Christians should take note of this particular structure, for without this particular individual by the name of Constantine, Christianity would not have been as popular as it was today.
(to be continued)