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Monday, March 7, 2011

The Colosseum and Ancient Rome

Today was the day that we were finally going to do the thing I was most excited to do, THE COLOSSEUM!!!  However, that was about the only thing planned for that day, so we had no real rush that morning, and we hadn't gotten to sleep in for a while, so we did and it was GREAT!  After having another breakfast of croissants and oj at the B&B, we got out things together and went to the Palentine Hill, one of Rome's 7 hills and the one where the ancient city stands.  It was filled with ruins just as famous as Pompeii.  We walked along the grounds for a while, this time deciding against the audio guide.  However, I have no idea what the significance of a lot of the things we saw are...but I know they were old...ancient even.

After the hill we walked to a wonderful park that had a great panaramic view of Ancient Rome:

That park led to the Roman Forum and the temple of Jupiter (Zues).  This was another great place to have lunch, so we sat down one more time with our sandwiches.  Braden then brought up an interesting point about people who come to these places and take all these pictures and don't even know their significance or why they are important to visit.  Unaware of anything except that people should go there when in Rome...I thought that was a really good point and an interesting one to ponder.

 Temple of Jupiter

Roman Forum

The more that Braden and I have been travelling in Europe, the more we are convinced that everyone knows enough English for simple transactions...and we wonder at whether or not people really NEED to learn a second language if they are blessed with the luck of being a native English speaker...except maybe Spanish (esp for those in the south...or Austin, MN according to Steven).

Anywho, we left the Roman Forum and continued on to THE COLOSSEUM!!  We got to skip the line because we bought the combo tickets at Palatine Hill, so that was a GREAT tip from the guide book.  When we got inside my camera was almost dead and I was really sad and didn't know how the battery could be so low already.  It wasn't until today (3 days later) looking through my pictures while waiting for a train in Siena, that I noticed I had taken a roughly 20 minute video of our walk from the Roman Forum to the colosseum in my pocket.  FAIL.  Haha, it's fine though.  I got the pictures I needed.

After leaving the colosseum, we headed to Circus Maximus, where the chariot races were held, there wasn't much left and I didn't want to waste the battery on my camera, so I didn't take any pictures.  There are probably some of Braden's I can steal for this post though...

Then we went to the church that hold the Mouth of Truth...you put your hand in its mouth and if it bites your fingers off, you're a liar.  For these pictures, I have to steal Braden's because there was a line and we only used the one camera.

When we got inside, though, we saw a major surprise!  The bones of St. Valentine!!!  We had been wondering where those were for a very long time.  I immediately lit my mom a candle and shot up a prayer for her love life :).

From the church we walked aimlessly around the town toward the Piazza Navona because Braden was in desperate need of a mug that he is collecting from every city.  He, of course, was helpless in this aspect and I had to find everything for him.  I was sad that my camera was on its way out but I managed to see the fountains of Piazza Navona again and we even walked past the Pantheon one last time.  We found him a mug, at the same shop I got my shot glass, and we decided to head home.

Before we could get to the station, though, Braden decided we needed to do the gigantic Il Vittoriano or something like that.  It is huge, white, and has a million or so stairs to the top of it.  I was not a fan of the stairs.  We did it though, and it had some good views of the city.

The trick to it was, that to get to the VERY top, you needed to take an elevator, and that cost like 7 euro, which was ridiculously not worth it.  We have started saying this thing: If St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican is free, then I do not need to pay to see this.  It is a very good way to measure how important spending money can be, and I think that saying will save us some major Euro!

From there, we got onto the bus home and that night played a rousing game of Monopoly...that I actually lost.  We played to the point that I actually had everything mortgaged and could not pay Braden back.  Congrats to him, I'm a much better loser than he is :).

That was our last night in Rome.  It was fun and I am so glad we did it.  Our next adventure was my return to Florence :)

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