Our first visitor was Jo.
Now it would seem sense that when you have visitors, one should scout out the ground and arrange for as many guided tours as possible.
In Jo’s case, this was always going to be a problem as she is a classical historian who has been known to attend informal Latin reading groups as a “leisure” activity.
However, we set off to sus out the ancient sites with great enthusiasm only to find that, even with an audio guide, they made no sense whatever. Eventually we leaned that the Roman habit of recycling their land over and over again meant that it was entirely possible to be standing on the site of three or four temples/palaces, none of which have more than a few stones as evidence and they are stacked one on top of another.
The Roman Forum and The Palentine Hill
We resorted to taking photos fairly indescriminately in the hope that we would work it all out later. We did manage to piece most of it together and for those with a fascination for these ancient things the pictures, all correctly labeled as far as we know, are here – all 113 of them!
A tip for those who follow us: Go first to the Visitor Centre on the Via dei Fori Imperiali where you will find the only map of ancient Rome that we ever found that made any sense. Sadly it is a display that you can’t take with you so we took a photo of it…
Flushed with this success, we followed this up with a trip to the Palentine Hill. Again a bunch of piccies here, this time 228 of them!
It was about this point that I began to wonder what a blog is for. Well, it is good to be able to tell everybody where we have been and what we have doing there. But, to be honest, I think the real reason is to make a record of our travels because we will forget it all very soon. So, sorry folks, this is about our needs rather than your entertainment!
Viterbo and a Bath!
Jo has an old friend who lives near Rome at Viterbo, so she went off to spend a few days with Matilde and we went to visit for a day. The highlights were a very nice lunch at a local restaurant where Patrick not only ate Corgette flowers on a pasta base, but enjoyed them. The other was a trip to the baths:
These are ancient spa baths where the water comes from a (very) hot spring and is fed in at one end of the bath. The result is that the closer you get to the input end, the hotter the temperature. Only suicidal lobsters and, momentarily, the macismo kids go anywhere near it. The rest of us float lazily somewhere in the tropical region – only gemtly moving to warmer or cooler as the mood takes us. Strangely, one can stay in the bath for some hours without going wrinkly (or, at least not more so than when we entered).
VIP #2 (and a Phototracker)
While Jo was staying with Matilde in Viterbo, daughter Claire came to stay with us for a few days.
It is interesting that when we had a house, we never really had a spare room at anytime. When the kids were at home, all rooms were needed for them. Then they grew up and left home but, somehow there were always other purposes that “spare rooms” could be put to… Now that we don’t have a house, we suddenly have spare rooms wherever we are because most campsites have “bungalows” to let. Not a phenomenon that we expected when setting out on this lifestyle. This is possibly the first time Claire has ever come to stay with us as an independent adult!
Certainly, this was the occassion of my first trip on a tourist sightseeing bus. Certainly it served the purpose of getting around Rome in fairly ordered and effortless manner but would not be a habit for me. It seemed quite strange to see things passing by without the opportunity to go and poke my nose in to the nooks and crannies and taking photos was difficult from the top of the open bus. They just don’t adjust so you can get the shot you want!
Actually, this trip was the first outing for my new toy which Claire had brought out from the UK for me – a GPS photo tracker. This little box just sits in a pocket while you take your photos. When you get home, some clever software matches the date/time stamp on the photos with the date/time/GPS coordinates captured by the device and then writes the precise location into the EXIF of each photograph. This allows for the photgraphs to be overlaid on a map such as Google Earth. Not only does this aid in the identification of the subject matter in the phots but enables us to create a file which can be sent to anyone who wants to know where you have been and what you saw. An example of that trip is called Bust Trip of Rome and is here but, beware, it is 9Mb big. A full set of 59 photos taken on the bus is here.
We kept our visit to the Colesseum for Claire’s visit. While it is undoubtably impressive and the feeling of actually being at such a significant place in the world cannot be described, the visit was a little dissappointing as so little of the important underneath is accessible to the public.
How it is that the tourist authorities think that it is feasible to visit the Colesseum and the Forii using a 2-day ticket for all of it is beyond me. Each seems to merit a least 2 days with a rest day between them all!
Somehow, I have failed to make a gallery of the Colesseum. Possibly because there are so many photos of the place and we failed to find any aspect which is not already so familiar.
We were sad to leave Rome but we really could not have coped with much more sightseeing and the weather was getting colder. Time to go South…