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Rome in a Day – Day 65
Sunday 4th October 2009 – Rome
I only had a day in which to see everything in Rome that I wanted to see. it would be a tall order to manage it all, but just how much did I get to see..
I’m sharing a room with a group of misfits in Rome, apart from the Italian guy, who was a cool bloke, and last night was a bad night, with snoring, coughing, and loud farting coming from each of them.
One guy looks rough, maybe even homeless, like he had scraped together enough money to have a night in a hostel rather than on the streets. I couldn’t blame him, and if this was the case then I feel sorry for him, but he looked unclean. When I had showered, and re-entered the room, I was almost ill with the smell. It was an awful concoction of various smells, and I acted quickly to be out of the room before too much time had passed, conscious of the fact that I might pass out. I was out the door and on my way to breakfast in no time.
I was also a little annoyed with the fresh bites I had on my left foot this morning. There are a lot of mosquitoes about so maybe it was one of them, defiant against the bug cream I applied in quantity on my skin, especially on my feet! Or maybe it was a stray bed bug, travelling with me on my voyage in my backpack, emerging only for a meal each night, then stowing away again into the depths of my backpack. I think I should put myself into quarantine when I get home.
Breakfast is not included here so I had to pay a little extra. Maybe it is something special, I thought to myself. I walked into the restaurant area, to the corner where they serve the breakfast, and to my horror, there was barely anything there. We were only entitled to two stale pieces of bread, a sachet of jam and butter, and a coffee. Wow, worth every penny! It was pretty tasteless, and nearly broke my teeth, but it was something to fill a hole in my belly, I suppose. I was regretting having already paid for tomorrow here as well. Perhaps I’ll skip their breakfast and buy something else from the restaurant area instead.
I purchased a WI-FI card from reception, and got information on the bus I needed to take today, and set off for some pictures of the nearby Stadio Olimpico. A policeman kindly let me nearer to the ground to take some pictures – as they were in the process of cordoning off areas around the ground – which I was very grateful for. They were already getting ready for the days match against Napoli. Other police units began to appear around the ground and along the main road as I waited for the bus.
The bus arrived and it was packed to the rafters. As soon as I got on, the driver pulled away. I was stuck right in front of the front door, and couldn’t get to the driver to pay for a ticket, so I just stood quietly. You do get the ticket controllers on board sometimes, but I guess this time of day is just too busy, and counter productive, so I got away with a free ride to the Vatican City, woohoo!
I studied the map for a clue to where I actually was, then noticed the big wall behind me to the Vatican City, so I had a pretty good idea. I wanted to go through the city museum, but today it was closed. As I walked out into the vast open area, into the main grounds, I realised why it was closed. There was a service currently in progress, and it was being screened in the centre of the sight, many thousands of people gathering around to view the live pictures on the screens provided. Indeed it was heaving with tourists all round the city today. I don’t know if being a Saturday was a factor for this or not.
Content with what I had seen, I moved on to Castel Sant Angelo. From here to Palazzo di Glustizia, and past the little market that was in full swing, with a brass band serenading us as we wandered through. Over the bridge I went next, and to Ara Pacis and Mausoleo Augusto, then up to Piazza del Popolo.
There was a lot of walking involved today, and the sun was unforgiving. I was caked in sun cream, and re-applied throughout the day, but still reddened around my face. I walked further to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, then down to the cluster of historical buildings, where police were pouncing on anybody sitting anywhere but on the seats provided. As soon as a cheek was placed on a step, a wall, or on the floor, the whistles came out and the hands started gesturing animatedly at the guilty person to stand up again. People did look bemused, and it made me laugh to myself.
After this was the site of Arco di Tito, and Palatine Hill, with many ruins to observe, before making my way to the Colosseum. Last time we were here on a college trip, the place was closed, so today I took the opportunity to go inside and look around. It wasn’t cheap, but I wanted to see it while I was here.
It was actually better than I thought inside, with lots to see. Some artefacts were on display from the era, as well as pictures, art work, and bone fragments from bears, wolves, and horses etc. It was all interesting to see. A lot of walking was involved again before the tour was completed, and I was soon on my way to the penultimate attraction, Santa Maria Maggiore. Last of all was Piazza della Repubblica and then to the train station for some food. I took the bus back to the hostel, stopping a little sooner this time to be slightly nearer to the hostel, therefore not as far to walk. I had learnt my lesson from the previous day 🙂
The litter strewn across every pavement was immediately obvious as fans strolled away from the football ground to begin their journey home after the game. I wondered what the score was as people didn’t look overly happy. Police were still present in numbers, but most of the fans were already far away from the stadium by now. Along the road were parked cars, with their side panels beaten in and windows smashed, but there wasn’t a great deal else vandalised as far as I could see. I wish I had been here earlier to get a glimpse of the atmosphere, but it will wait until another day, and another match.
Back in the hostel I used my WI-FI card and was partly looking at the laptop screen while focusing a bit more attention on the American girl who had just arrived. She was incredibly rude towards the guy behind the reception of the hostel who was doing his best to help. She was tutting and throwing her weight around, getting annoyed when the guy didn’t understand her strong accent, to which she just repeated more audibly. I felt sorry for the guy who did his best to stay calm.
I looked on the net to see the football score, 2-1 to Roma, so they did win. Next was the usual writing of my diary, then up to the room to be attacked by a mosquito again. On went the cream, and away went the mozzie, (this time at least). Outside the sound of road sweepers could be heard for a good few hours. It would take a while to clean all the mess up. It wasn’t long before I decided to go to bed, so I did.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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