(the beginnings of a talk)
Archive for » August, 2006 «
So, my wonderful girlfriend comes to the Airport to pick me up, and we start heading home. I’m pretty jetlagged at this point, but I’m keeping up the conversation as best I can.
So, she gets me home, and I go up to the main level of the house. I hear the TV, but my roommate’s car isn’t there, so I go in to investigate… only to find my brother-in-law hanging out. This is a surprise, so I ask him what he’s doing.
He says ‘Hiding’.
After probing a little into this, and getting nowhere, I go up to my room to dump off my luggage. One thing to realize is that my room is pretty much a perpetual disaster area. This isn’t helped by the fact that my roommate, in a mad spate of turbo cleaning has DUMPED EVERYTHING AROUND THE HOUSE IN MY ROOM!!!! THE DAY I LEAVE FOR ROME!!! GAH!
I’m not really happy about this. He apologises later, and everything’s cool, but still. My room was (before I left) far worse than it normally is (and that’s saying something).
So I come up to see a clean floor, and a completely re-arranged room. My sister and brother-in-law have cleaned my room for me while I was gone. As a birthday gift.
Do I have great family or what?
So, after taking off the heavy pack, and handing around my travel gifts to them, I come downstairs to see a different color in my bathroom.
Another story: My bathroom on the main level was horrible. The best description of the wall paper I ever heard is “80′s shower curtain”. But now it’s an orange color (this will send Erin and Angela and Sandra into a fit… they say it’s somewhere between a chartruse and a cinnimon color. Brandon and Josh will understand).
My family (and girlfriend) have sanded off wallpaper, repainted everything, put in a new toilet, new light fixtures, and a new faucet, and even painted the cabinet in my bathroom.
Dang. My family rocks.
Sandy (of Christo’s fame) can’t decide who the bigger chump is… me, for having my family do this, or my family, for being willing to do it.
I say in my defence that I never asked them to do it… it was just a very thoughtful gift.
I’ll post some pictures soon.
Day 12 (Day 11 from Ed arriving) Pictures here.
Cinque Terra is stunning. Before heading up there, I didn’t know if I was going to head to Cinque Terra, Pompeii, Naples (a distant third runner), or some other random place. I am VERY glad I went to Cinque Terra. The land is BEAUTIFUL.
Before Rick Steves put the place on the tourist map, it was a quiet place for Italians to come on vacation. Now, English is almost a second language. The ‘Five Lands” are several costal towns on the west coast of Italy, at the northernmost edge of the coast. The Med is amazing. One friend of mine made the first picture he saw his background image on the spot (now THAT’S gratifying to a photographer).
One thing that rather surprised me was how high the surf was, and how little impact the tides had. The surf had a pretty constant 10-15 foot delta between wave top, and bottom of the waves. And also, the midpoint of those waves didn’t seem to change that much… at least I couldn’t discern a ‘high tide’ from a ‘low tide’.
I ended up staying in Vernazza, which is town #4 (counting from the south). Though I did something that most of the guidebooks disagree with… They uniformally discourage you from going with people selling rooms at the trainstation. Also, there is a certification board for Cinque Terra that puts plaques at all the ‘approved’ hostels. I utilized someone (Franchesco) at the trainstation, who offered me a good deal of 40 Euro per night. I got a room with a bunk bed to my self, and a shared dining room/kitchen area. There was another room with a double bed that he was renting out as well for 70 Euro. This worked out really well for me, at the small (ish) expense of climing up a fair number of steep stairs with a heavy backpack.
I’m not sure I’d completely recommend flaunting everyone else’s advice, but it didn’t burm me this time.
Anyway, After sorting my luggage, I went down to the beach, took a few pictures, and then went up to the small fortress (really nothing more than a watch tower), for some pictures, and relaxing time. I was pretty burned out at this point of traveling, and I needed some downtime. Cinque Terra certainly gave it to me. I went up there, and relaxed, people watched, took some pictures with my camera, and offered to take several pictures of people with their cameras. And that was about it. Unfortunatly, the watch tower closes at 7:00, so I couldn’t take sunset pictures from up there, but there was a storm rolling in, so that promised interesting pictures for tomorrow.
Day 13 (Day 12 after Ed arrived) Pictures here.
Well, if I was impressed by the waves yesterday, today was even more impressive. The storm had really kicked the surf into high gear. There was no one on the beach, but there were a lot of locals who were working pretty fevorishly to get most of the boats out of the water. I sat around and watched them with the grin of a man who sees a LOT of work to do, and who doesn’t have to do any of it.
So, this was the day that I hiked over to Monterosa. This was the hardest leg of the 4 hikes between the towns… there was LOT of up, and a LOT of down to get through. This leg either needs to be the first, or done by itself. I got some good pictures of Vernazza, and of Monterosa (and even one of me) on the trip though. It was market day in Monterosa, and after poking around for a while, I went back to Vernazza (by train) and took a long siesta.
That night, I learned that Anchovies don’t have to taste awful… so long as their fresh (caught that day) and not salt curred, then they are REALLY tasty. They’re one of the things that Cinque Terra is known for (along with lemons, being the birthplace of pesto, great olives, and wine).
Their wine. Wow. I don’t even like wine, but their wine was praised… in POMPEII. Pompeii was burried… in ash… 1934 YEARS ago (in 73 AD). Their Sciecchetra is amazing… it’s kind of a rosie (sp?) desert wine. It’s REALLY good. I got to try both of these specialties this night, and I went back to my bed very satisfied.
Day 14 (Day 13 after Ed arrived) Pictures here.
This was the last day I took pictures… but what pictures there were to be had. I began EARLY in the morning, hiking all the way to Riomaggorie, through the other 3 towns I hadn’t seen yet. The Vernazza -> Corngilla route is longer, but not quite as challenging as the Vernazza-> Monterosa route. It’s still a good hike though. After that, it’s very flat (after climbing down 400 steps that is) to the route to Manarolla, and then through the via Della amora to Riomaggorie. This was a crystal clear day, with beautiful sky, and great water. I took lots of pictures of flowers and more flowers (and more flowers), and other sundry things. There were more trails that I could hike, but I ended up avoiding them, and going back to Vernazza from Riomaggorie, buying a shirt that said ‘I made it’ (through the full hike), and taking a nap.
The reward for this was a STUNNING sunset. There were BEAUTIFUL pictures this night. I was really wishing I had a tripod though… taking pictures with the camera placed down on a convienient rock is… convienient, but rather limiting. But getting something like this makes up for it.
My last pictures were of the moon setting into the Medeteranian Sea.
Day 15 (day 14 since Ed arrived) (No pictures)
Well, I packed up this morning, and went back to Roma. It took a while to get there, but I pulled in around 3:00 in the afternoon, got to my hostel room, dropped luggage, and took the Metro over to San Pietro. I got lucky. I got there at 3:30, chilled out for a bit in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and then went looking for confessions. Well, it turns out that confessions are offered, starting at 4:00 PM. I hit the sacrament, then went back to the blessed sacrament chapel (this is the Tabernacle… I took this picture last time I was in Roma). But I got lucky again, because they were offering Benediction. Then, with the hat trick, I went to Mass, in San Pietro, at 5:00 PM, and it was a vigil mass (whoHOO! I was worried about being forced to go to Mass Sunday night after an 11 hour plane flight…).
After this, I went back to the hostel, made sure I was packed, and went to bed. I already had my train ticket to the airport, and everything else I needed.
(Thank GOD I didn’t have to come back this past Wednesday… with the terror alert cranked to Red, getting through the airport wouldn’t have been much fun.)
Day 9 (Day 8 with Ed) Pictures here.
Rome, the final frontier… these are the voyages of Ed and Jason: Their mission: to explore new sites… to boldly go, where many pickpockets have gone before.
Rome is a beautiful city, full of beautiful people, but you need to keep your wits about you.
After an uneventful train ride back to Rome, Ed and I decided that we wanted to try to see the catacombs. This is cool, but what we didn’t realize was that there are catacombs ALL AROUND ROME. Turns out that for many centuries, no one was allowed to be buried inside of Rome itself (for sanitation reasons). So we ended up going to one set of the catacombs. We hooked up again with Romaround tours (because they did a good job with the Colleseum). So Elane ended up taking us around the Circus Maximus, and telling us the story of this place, then telling us of various Roman burial rites, and then taking us to one set of Catacombs.
After that, we ended up at St. Peter in Chains, where the Horned Moses is housed. Michaelangelo felt that this was the greatest sculpture he had ever done. Though just after he finished it, he found out some news about the project as a whole, and flew into a rage. He actually threw a hammer at the statue and marred it around the knee area.
Day 10 (Day 9 with Ed) Pictures here.
Well, on our second to last day together, Ed and I went on a bit of a meander around Roma. We first came to Santa Maria Maggorie where I found some Japaneese people offering mass… in English. Well, sorta. They offered the liturgical parts in English, but the readings, and the homily were in Japaneese. It was kinda surprising. After this we walked to the Piazza de Republica, where Santa Maria degli Angeli (yes, a second one) is situated. This church looks from the outside to be completely in ruins, but on the inside is rather beautiful. We then meandered around towards il Monumento (from last night, and then to Piazza de Navarra (where a really cool obelisk is, that has no support directly under the center weight of mass).
As a note, Billy Joel was in town, and performing a free concert by the Colleseum. So we were avoiding that area like the plague. I bring this up because around here there were a LOT of cops around Piazza Navarra. We started walking away from there, but we kept running into more and more police.
Anyway, after this time, we walked up towards the Medicci (the Balls! The Balls!) palace, where we found the Church of the Holy Trinity on the Mountain (I think that’s the translation). This church had this AMAZING rendition of the Pieta. We walked further from here to the Piazza de Publico, where I asked ed to pose for this picture.
We determined at this point that NONE of the places we had been to would make good places to get sunset pictures. This wasn’t making us happy… (and I for one was REALLY tired of walking by this point… this becomes germane later). So, we wander over by the Tiber, and then down to Castal San Angelo, which has these awesome angel statues around it.
Though this bridge is just INFESTED with street venders. You can tell this breed of vender by their cardboard holding boards (for sunglasses) or white sacks for handbags. We dodge them as best we can, but all of a sudden, they all start packing up (fast) and walking swiftly to one side of the bridge. About 1 minute later, two Italian police come slowly walking by. After a few minutes, they walk back the other way, and 2 minutes later, the street venders come walking back. This process repeats itself about once every half hour. It’s kinda funny to watch. The police are apparently not really interested in cracking down hard on these venders, but they do want to keep them under control, so they walk by… and probably arrest people on rare occasion (if they don’t run fast enough).
But our day wasn’t over yet. We’re pretty tired at this point… having walked probably 12 miles already. So we start walking towards Leopanto Metro station.
Only to find that it’s closed.
So we walk to the next one. Which is also closed.
THE ENTIRE ROMAN METRO IS CLOSED DOWN BECAUSE OF A STUPID CONCERT!!!!! AAARGH!
So we start walking towards are hotel. We finally spy some buses, and start walking quickly to where they all seem to be heading. We finally (after another mile or two of walking past the first Metro Station) get to a bus stop that will take us back to Termini. This bus is hyper crowded, but we get on, and get to Termini, and back to our hostel, faster than walking. I for one was VERY thankful for this.
Day 11 (Day 10 with Ed) Pictures here.
So, now it’s what you’ve been waiting for. You can’t be Catholic, and go to Roma without seeing the Vatican. Even Rick Steves suggests becoming Catholic for one day. The Sisteen Chapel/Vatican Museum is stunning. Someone once said that even without the chapel itself, the Vatican Museum is one of the top 2 or 3 art houses in all of Europe. The statues? Incredible. The Tapestries? Amazing. Even to the small detail pieces below the main ‘image’ of the tapestry… they were done up in this ‘sepia’ like tone, that had fantastic shadow detail. The art in this place just defies description. After this, we took the short cut to San Pietro.
Which is also stupendous. It was nice to just show it to Ed.
But, one of the highlights of the trip was before us. We grabbed some lunch, and then we went off to the Scavi tour. I had asked about 3 weeks before this to be admitted to this tour. The Vatican only lets 120 people go on it per day… (and it usually helps to have a priest do the asking). But the previous day, I had gotten an email saying that we could come on it. WhoHOO!
But there were some snags. The email clearly says that: “The Visitors are reminded that they are not allowed to bring bulky objects into the excavations (suitcases, backpacks, …).” We don’t have such, so we go inside (it’s really nice to have the Swiss Guards of the Vatican say that ‘Yes, you can come forward into this sealed off place’). So, we go to the office, and they say that ‘no bags are allowed’. They suggest going to the far side of St. Peters Square to check our bags. We RUN over there, only to find that San Pietro is closing down ‘for a meeting’. We run back to the information desk, and ask if we can check our bags there, and they say ‘no, go back where you were.’ We respond that that place is closed, and we’re told it’s not their problem (basically). Eventually after running back and forth for quite a while, we go back, trying to get in the tour at all. We find two tourists who are 1 euro short for their trip, and I offer them 1 euro for several reasons:
- They needed 1 Euro. I had one.
- They were in line ahead of us, and I needed them out of the way.
- If these officials see us being nice to other tourists, maybe they’ll be inclined to make an exception for us.
But it seemed to turn the trick… I wish it was totally altruistic, but it wasn’t (and Ed was a few seconds behind me in offering the Euro… for the same reasons… ). The officials decided to let us on the tour, with our bags (well, my large fanny pack, and Ed’s camera belt). It WAS a tight fit, but we made it through.
But WHY is the Scavi tour sooooo cool? Because the bones of St. Peter are there (and the Necropolis under St. Peters is also pretty interesting).
But no pictures are allowed.
So we get out of the Scavi tour, and notice that the Vatican is locked up pretty tight at this point. We go around to the outer/side door, and see… about 2 THOUSAND German kids. We had seen them ALL OVER ROME for the past few days. What we didn’t know was that B16 was hosting a special meeting for them all in St. Peters Square… which is why St. Peters was closing early ‘for a meeting’. So now we had to fight our way through these HUGE masses of German high school students… so that we could get out the other side of the Vatican to where the metro station is. At least it’s open this time.
So, we head back to the hostel, and start packing, for Ed leaves in the morning. I take this final picture from our hostel room (too bad he’s facing the ‘wrong’ direction).
Ed has arrangements to be picked up by one of the hostel workers at 4:30 AM to get to the airport for his 6:55 AM flight (this was FAR cheaper than a Taxi, and long before the Leonardo di Vinci train starts up), and that’s it for his trip. I get up in the morning, and decide where to go. It ends up being down to Cinque Terra, and Pompeii…
And I chose Cinque Terra, which was a great blessing. But that will be the next post.
Day 6 (Day 5 with Ed) Assisi (pictures here)
(I’m trying to blast these blog entries out as fast as I can so I don’t forget details)
I really love Assisi. A cynic would call it an overglorified religious tourist trap, who’s sole export is St. Francis.
However, as someone who’s been to Lourdes, I know things could be worse. Sure, there are a lot of religious swag shops, but 1) There are some places you can get some really quality items, and 2) The churches in Assisi are amazing, and even without it, the scenery is beautiful.
After getting to Assisi, and surviving a CRAMPED bus ride (with all our luggage) to the top of the town, we find our hostel, and start poking around. We first find the Piazza de Comune (basically, the central piazza in Assisi), and take some pictures of the Temple of Minerva, which became a Catholic Church. We then headed down past Santa Chiara, and headed down to San Domiano. As we headed this way, I told Ed the story of how St. Francis had rejected all of his (and his wealthy father’s) belongings, and left naked from San Rufino, by way of Piazza Comune, and down to San Domiano (the hike we had just finished).
After San Domiano, we headed back up, stopping in a parking lot for some photo opportunities. We putzed around here for a while, then went up to a playground for some more of the same. Afterwards, we went to Santa Chiara, and I regailed Ed with the story of the San Domiano Crucifix, and how it came to Santa Chiara. After that, we just poked around some more, waiting on Sunset. For Sunset, we went down to the Piazza Santa Chiara. This was the best sunset we saw together (though the one in Cinque Terra I saw after Ed left was even better). We got several really good pictures.
Afterwards, we had dinner at this GREAT little hole in the wall place up from Piazza de Comune, and introduced Ed and I to Procicuto e Melon, which is really good.
Day 7 (Day 6 with Ed) Assisi (pictures here)
This was very much a catchup day. We discovered that main town Assisi had no where to do laundry, so we had to hoof it down to near Santa Maria Degli Angeli to get a laundromat. After sorting that out, getting breakfast, dealing with a nice poweroutage at the laundromat, and taking pictures of S. M. d. Angeli, we finally made it back to the hostel. It’s now about 2 in the afternoon, so we decide to make some phone calls, and siesta for a bit, before headding up to Rocca Maggorie to take sunset pictures.
Let’s talk lenses for a second. Ed and I have made some different choices with what to bring/buy for this trip. I’ve got my ‘work horse’ 18-70mm lens, and my new(ish) 12-24mm wide angle lens. Ed has a 28-80mm sigma (with a busted autofocus), his new 17-85mm IS lens (which gives Err99 problems), a 50mm prime lens, his 70-200mm 2.8f (which sits in the bag mostly, because of…), and his 100-400mm IS. The lenses he ends up using mostly are the 28-80, the 50mm, and the 100-400mm… which is huge, but can examine the nose hairs of people thousands of miles away. Whereas I’ve got a similar workhorse lens (18-70mm) for ‘normal’ pictures, and my wide angle. Assisi is where I fall in love with the wide angle for landscape and sunset pictures.
Though I do wish I had brought my long lens (70-300mm)… it would have let me take some other pictures.
Anyway. Enough photo geek talk… let’s hear it for some pictures.
Day 8 (Day 7 with Ed) Assisi (pictures here)
Ed and I sleep in a bit this morning, and then we head to the far end of Assisi (15 minute walk) to San Franchesco (Basilica of St. Francis). Ed and I both need a little quiet, alone time with the Man Upstairs, so this seems like a barely acceptable place to do it… ( ).
After we break free from that, it’s well after lunch, so we start scouting places for tomorrow morning’s sunrise. Unfortunatly, Assisi’s long axis is pretty much due east/west, so it’s hard to find a good place… but we take the stuff over to Rocca Minorie (small fortress) to see what we can get (I’m much less loaded down because my camera is taking this picture). Unfortunatly, Rocca Minorie is closed to the public at this time… because it would have been great. So we decide that we’d head up to Rocca Maggorie for the third time the following morning. We grab dinner, realize there’s some great light left, clime ONCE MORE to the top of Assisi.
Day 9 (Day 8 with Ed) Assisi (pictures here)
Day nine started with sunRISE pictures, then I grabbed mass at San Ruffino (because it was Sunday), and then checking out of the hotel, and heading over to Rome.
Which is where I’ll end this post.
Day 3 in was in Firenze (or Florence as we know it). Pictures are here.
In what was rapidly becoming a theme, I got us lost in Florence as well. This is more excusable than in Rome (where I’d been twice before), but still frustrating. Shortly after we got to Florence, Ed started having camera issues. Turns out the nice, shiny new lens he had bought (and I brought from the US) was having ‘ERR99′ issues… which in Canon parlance is ‘take two aspirin and call me in the morning.’ (otherwise known as ‘generic error’). But as you can tell, Ed get’s slightly frustrated by this.
Florence is beautiful… but it’s much more of a ‘cultural’ destination, than a ‘religious’ or ‘pilgrimage’ destination. We took this first day to just hoof it around Florence. Unfortunately, Florence decided to surprise us. We’re in the Piazza dela Liberta, and the sky opens up, and quite the rain storm begins. Thankfully, there’s a nice arch for us to hide under. We spend an amusing 45 minutes or so dancing with rain drops (wind would blow one way, we’d move to once side of the arch… wind would blow the other way, we’d go towards the other entrance…). After that, we walk down past San Lorenzo. Ed then finds an internet cafe, and starts researching his ERR99 problem, while I poke around elsewhere. I find the Duomo, hang around for a bit, and then go take Ed over to the Duomo. Photography ensues.
After the Duomo, we meander down to what we end up calling the Piazza de Fake David, because the REAL David (statue) stood there for centuries. Though it was just moved a few years ago to a spiffy (20 Euro admittance) museum. This casting of the real David was put in it’s place. There are also a TON of other amazing statues in this Piazza. See the pictures for some other ones.
And after that we found the river, and it was nearly sunset, so more fun pictures came into being… I really like this one of Ed at Sunset, this one of the reflected bridge, and this one of the setting sun.
Day 4 (day 3 with Ed) Pictures are here.
First, we went to a nice museum of sculpture (which didn’t allow cameras). There were some stunning statues in here, but you’ll have to take my word for it. There was one memorable one of Moses placing the serpent on the cross of wood.
After that, we went inside the Duomo. We set up the tripod out of the way, to get some pictures of the dome of the Duomo. We find out later that tripods aren’t allowed, but we weren’t bothered at this point… (probably because we were behind a very large column). After poking around a fair bit, we then go under the Duomo, for the ‘old duomo’ tour (what archeologists are figuring out about the church that was there beforehand). And then we go into the Baptistry for the Duomo, which is ALSO stunning, and has a very impressive dome in a Greek style.
After this, we’re scouting out places to get pictures of sunset. We get to the other side of town to Piazza Sancto Spiritu, and hear thunder. Realizing it’s going to rain, we hustle back to the Duomo, hoping to catch the Coupla tour. Once we get there, an enterprising street merchant (who Ed chatters with in some Asian language) is selling umbrellas, and get’s 5euro from us for the privilege. We get to spend an amusing 30 minutes crowding around the entrance to the Coupola tour, and loaning said umbrella to people who aren’t under the awning along with us.
Finally, we get inside, and start climbing 463 steps to the top of the dome. Here’s the interior of the duomo from the coupla tour. It was hazy and rainy, so I didn’t get many good pictures from up there, but it was a great view, and a good place to relax a bit, before we have to climb down. After this, we go in search of cheap bottled water (always buy from a supermarket, and don’t bother with refrigerated). Though I must say that 6 liters of water is VERY HEAVY… I was happy for Ed’s hands to help carry the weight… I had done something similar in Rome, and it wasn’t pleasant.
After this, we grabbed a lackluster meal (for me… Ed’s was good), and then crashed.
Day 5 (Day 4 with Ed) Siena Pictures here.
We took a day trip to Siena. We took some great pictures here, but it was pretty uneventful. The biggest thing was my frustration in finding an internet Cafe (so I could get Tracy Morkin’s Italian Cell phone number), and then finding a phone place where I could call her (to see if she was in Siena still). Turns out, she had left the night before. D’OH! I was kinda frustrated at this point, but eventually calmed down. We went to the Piazza de Campo, then Santa Maria dela Scala museum (which had a HUGE display of historic walking sticks of all things), and then to the Duomo in Siena (not to be confused with the Duomo in Florence… or the Duomo in Milan…). Then there was the Metropolitan Museum dela Opera (I think), where we got some nice arial views of Siena. We then hustled back to the train station (pausing briefly to see (gasp) people praying in San Dominico (which was a novel sight)), and back to Florence, where we found this amazing osteria near our hotel. Great food was had. After that, we crashed.
Teaser for next time: Assisi.
… Is Carmen Sandiego!
Well, I just created a shiny, new category for travels, which will be closely linked with photography, if I had to guess.
Ed and I went to Italy for 2 weeks (well, I was there 15 days, he was only there for 10, but oh well). It was an amazing trip. I arrived on the morning of Saturday, July 22nd, and promptly went to my hotel to drop my luggage off. After fighting with an elevator (lift) even smaller than this one, I went off to San Pietro to chill for a bit, and try to catch up with Laura Newman who was in Rome for the same day. I was running too late to catch her, but I tried in the two most obvious places:
- The Blessed Sacrament chapel in San Pietro
- The gelato place nearest to San Pietro
But that was to no avail. So I chilled in the Blessed Sacrament chapel for a while, and then went home to crash. There weren’t any pictures of this day, mainly because I’d been to San Pietro several a few times before.
Ed Arrives. I catch up with him at Stacion Termini (Rome’s Central train station), and we go through the same luggage song and dance. This time though, we start heading over to probably my favorite church in Rome, San Giovanni Laterino (St. John Laterine), which is actually Rome’s Cathedral. Here I grabbed Sunday Mass (in Italian no less), while Ed shuffled around taking pictures. I did get a few before this of the statue of St. Francis ‘holding’ up the walls of St. John Laterine.
And then we decided to head towards the Colleseum. But there was a small snag in our plans: I got us lost.
Have I mentioned that Rome was FREAKING HOT? It was around 95-100 F in the sun.
It turns out that there is a huge difference between Via San Geovianni Latrini and Via San Geovanni Latrino, which happen to intersect 2 blocks from Basillica San Laterino. I chose the wrong one, and we get quite lost. Turns out we were walking around the outer walls of what’s now called ‘inner Rome’ or ‘Tourist Rome’, and eventually meander by Circus Maximus, and the temple of Hercules, before we make it to the Colleseum.
But we did see a burned out “Smart” car, so that was something.
We hooked up with this organization called Romaround Tours to jump ahead in the queue to get into the Colleseum, and to get a guide to boot. They were a little expensive, but they did a really good job. Turns out that only one Christian died in the Colleseum… St. Ignatious, the Bishop of Turkey. All the ‘other’ martyred Christians were killed in the Circus Maximus, or the Circus Calligula (where St. Peter was killed).
After this, we broke away from the tour for some extra pictures, meandered to the Roman Forum, and then back to our hotel for dinner, and a well deserved rest.
Here are all of my pictures from what I called Day 1 in Rome.
I’ll blog some more later about this. But as a teaser, we went to Florence next, and Ed has some camera trouble.