Monday, 4 March 2019

Hilton Garden Inn (Rome, Italy)

Woke this morning with the usual aches but after being up for awhile was feeling better. Though I was up at 5:00 a.m. Couldn’t sleep. But did get some extra sleep after breakfast.

Today I joined a tour this afternoon the I booked last night with a guide to show us around the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Was able to get more experience using Rome’s public transportation today. Think I’m getting the hang of it.

Before boarding the tram for my trip to the Colosseum, I dropped off my sweater at a local dry cleaners. I had spilled Turkish coffee on it when I was on my tour in Beirut. The woman behind the counter couldn’t speak a word of English. Somehow I managed, with her help, to convey that I need the sweater back no later than tomorrow afternoon. Hope they can get the coffee out.

After our group got organized we walked towards the Colosseum, went through security, then entered the structure. It is very large, still mostly intact, and workers are still making improvements. I was getting a little uncomfortable when the guide talked about the different events that took place there. It seems that killing and fighting were the main attractions.

On the tour a met a family from Sweden, a couple from San Diego, a family from Connecticut and a couple from Monterrey, Mexico. Our guide was originally from Hungary but has been living in Rome for seven years and speaks fluent English and Italian. It was a very culturally diverse group and everyone was friendly and interesting.

While in the Colosseum our guide showed us a visual display on the evolution of the Roman Forum, our next stop on the tour. It was a helpful introduction on what we were about to see. Though a lot to take in because the visual display covered many years and numerous changes in Roman leadership.

Since most of the buildings from the Roman Forum and surrounding area don’t really exist anymore, since the materials used to construct these buildings were re-purposed for other buildings, like those in Vatican City. But we could see how these buildings were arranged and learned the history of several of them. By this time my head was full of new information.

After walking around different parts of the Forum we headed further up to the ruins on Palatine Hill. It became part of the Roman imperial buildings when Augustus started to build his palaces on this spot. Later, gardens were built on the hill and the viewpoint of the surrounding area attracts many visitors. Took a number of pictures of the historical part of Rome from here.

After three hours I was about done in. The tour actually lasted almost four hours, if including the orientation. I caught the bus for the ride home from a point not too far away.

My favorite takeout place was open today and I ordered a ham and cheese pizza. I had a McDonald’s cheeseburger just before the tour started, but now it was after 5:00 and I was hungry again. Great that I found a nearby (non- McDonald’s) place for dinner.

I was able to take a good nap after I ate half of the pizza. Then woke up and worked on my blog and will post pictures to Instagram later. Last night I arranged for the tour today and my tour tomorrow of Vatican City. This will leave Wednesday open to visit anything again, or some place new, before I leave on Thursday.

I’m looking for a good night’s sleep tonight. (And my Hilton breakfast tomorrow.)

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