First Day… Rome…

Well, the flight got in perfectly fine… on time, no problem with luggage, in fact, no problems at all… Other than no sleep on the plane, and starting to feel it already when we got there… But it was a good flight, and I’m just happy when there are no problems…

When we got off the plane, we had a driver run right up and offer us a drive to Rome… Thankfully, it actually proved to be one of the best things that could have happened, since we had a driver that gave us a ride that I will never forget… Down the highway from the airport weaving in an out of traffic at 150 kph, which I think is around 90-95mph… all while texting and making calls… But then the fun hit when we hit Rome traffic… apparently, there are no real traffic laws in Rome… going down train tracks passing trains, passing a half dozen cars going down the wrong side of the street, cutting off whoever and whenever it suits, and going down side “streets” that are barely wide enough for walking, all to get there as fast as possible… (fixed rate from the airport… makes for someone who wants to get you there asap… But we finally arrived safe, only wished I had taken some video…

We got to the hotel around 11:30 (which would be 5:30 back home… still no sleep…) and only had to wait for a half hour or so to get checked into the room… Hotel was supposedly a 4.5 star hotel, and it lived up to the rating… beautiful room, and the staff was wonderful… We got cleaned up and then headed out to see what we could before our dinner reservations at 6:45…

First on the agenda was the Colosseum… It was a little over a mile walk, but it wasn’t too warm out and it was a nice walk through the city… navigation was a bit interesting, since I didn’t have data service other than roaming at an absurd AT&T rate, so we went old school and used a map… which is interesting in Rome since the roads aren’t really named very well or often… But we finally saw it in the distance, and got there just fine…

Once we were there, we immediately were acousted by dozens of “tour guides”, all promising to get us in in a few minutes instead of the long line that would have been around an hour… so after talking with a few of them, we decided to pay the extra 25 Euros to get in as quickly as we could… still took about a half hour to get in, but it was faster… But once inside, we decided to ditch the tour guide and just look around by ourselves, since we had a lot to try to see…

The Colosseum is amazing… finally after so many years wanting to see it, it was nice to cross it off my bucket list and get to see it up close… After we walked around for a bit, we decided to walk to the Pantheon… got lost a few times on the way, and finally gave up and caught a cab to get us there… (Side note…. Nice thing about cabs in Rome… they are much cheaper than in the US… never had a ride more than 10 Euros, and some of them were fairly long… I think that they only charge by the km, not by time…) We decided to get something to eat before going into the Pantheon, and found a little pizzeria close by that had the best pizza I had ever eaten… maybe it was just that we were really hungry, but it was amazing… and with a glass of wine, really made the rest of the day go much better… Then we walked through the Pantheon, which like the Colosseum, is amazing to see, and to think about how old it is an how long it has been there…

Then we caught another cab (kinda tired of walking by now…) to see what the line would look like at the Vatican to get into St. Peter’s Basicilla… Funny thing about the driver… when I told him where we wanted to go, I said the Vatican… he didn’t speak -any- english, but when Brandy said Vaticana, he understood perfectly fine… must have been the “ah” at the end… Anyway, we got there and the line was at least an hour or so long, and apparently it takes a half hour just to walk through the Vatican museum, and it was already around 3, we just decide to see Vatican square, which is what I wanted to really see… Took some pictures and then caught another cab to go to Treb fountain.. It was definitely the most beautiful structure that we saw the whole day… After a few pictures, we decided that it wasn’t too far to walk back to the hotel, so we walked back (getting turned around a few times, which seemed normal by now…) and got to the hotel around 4:30… which left enough time to take a power nap before getting cleaned up for dinner…

The restaurant was only a few blocks away, so we left and got there a bit early, and waited for our Cooper friends to get there… It was an amazing dinner, classic Italian style… Plates and plates of appetizers, Proschuttio, vegetables, bread, Mozzarella, and plenty of wonderful wine… then 3 types of pasta, which were all wonderful… and finally, roast veal that was amazing… We were all pretty tired by then, and it was around 8 or so, so we said goodnight and walked back to the hotel… Only took a few minutes to fall asleep… long day and after more than 24 hours of no sleep, it felt great to finally rest…