Sunday, July 17, 2011

What a Trip: Rome if You Want To - Part 2

Back in action for another installment of our Egypt/Italy trip recap. This time, let's focus on a few days in Rome. . .I already wrote about our arrival and visiting the Vatican here and of course our FlorenceCairo and Luxor adventures in the days preceding our move to Italy.

After our Vatican day, we took the train to an area of Rome that held an American Express office - we had a set of travelers' cheques that were burning holes in our pockets because apparantly no one in the world takes them anymore (read more about the ordeal here). Needless to say, the office was closed and would be closed the following day (Sunday) which meant it wasn't worth going back at all with a departure date of Tuesday morning. Ahh well, as luck would have it, the office route took us right past a few gems of tourist must-sees.

The Spanish Steps - we ended up back at this area several times over the next few days and our penchant for long roundabout walks. Typically the steps were teaming with people draped all over them, but we got a rare glimpse of the steps themselves early one morning:
Bob had only a few things on his "architecture must-see's." One of those places was the Roman Catholic church, San Carlo alla Quattro Fontane (San Carlo at the Four Fountains) - a baroque masterpiece by Borrominni. True to its name, there are four fountains with statues on each corner of the street intersection.
Suddenly, and almost without warning, you turn a corner and find yourself at Trevi Fountain! We also kept heading back to this neck of the woods, yearning to see it both during the day and after sunset all lit up. Its scale is incredible - the people watching more so. We definitely sat here for at least an hour taking it all in.
We took a cue from every other person and threw a coin over our shoulder. Will wishes be granted? Only time will tell.
Moving on to the Pantheon - the temple to the ancient gods of Rome.
I loved how the light source once inside all stems from one skylight called the oculus (outside of the entry door of course).
My daily lunch pretty much always consisted of a coke and pizza. Hey, you can't go wrong! I stuck with more familiar ingredients like mushroom while Bob tried his hand at potato slices one day and apples and gorgonzola the next.
Mo' plazas, mo' fountains: here we have the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza Navona. Love the colorful buildings in the background.
Monday morning and our plans brought us to the Colosseum - not only planned in the intinerary but also pre-bought tickets. Color us excited to find out that our credit card was refunded because of Italy Culture Week and city sights being free! I can't believe that one actually worked out!

Unlike the Vatican where we had an audio guide and Egypt where we had a private guide, we went sans assistance for our Colosseum trip. Yes, we may have missed a few bits of trivia, but it made for a relaxing morning just taking in the sights.
If the outside is not awe-inspiring enough, seeing how much is still intact inside is amazing!
Soon enough though, it was time to say goodbye to Rome and back to reality. Not before a farewell dinner that included my favorite meal of the trip and the reason I have been ordering pasta bolognese at just about every restaurant that offers it since being back! Mmm...tortellini!
Well, it was an unforgettable trip - 12 days away from home experiencing a whole lot of new. As much as we will be focusing on home purchase, decorating and renovation in the next year or so we can't forget to set aside a budget for the next big trip - South America needs to be crossed off that continent list. . . hmmm. . .

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