Martha and I woke quite early and we snuck out of the hotel room, leaving sleeping teenagers sleep, while we went just down the street a bit to take pictures of Castelo San Angelo.
Featured in the movie The Da Vinci Code, it's the castle where one of the popes, when under attack, was smuggled through a secret passage in the Vatican wall to this castle.
We started headed back to the hotel via a different route, and found ourselves enjoying a couple of Expressos and a pastry at a small cafe we saw full of locals. It was quite nice.
Suitably fortified, we found the following as we crossed the Tiber river once more:
Anyways, we got there before 9am and of course, they weren't open yet. Sigh. So, we went to the Termini Metro Station where Rome's main train station is also located and found an open TIM store there. Got our 5GB data only sims for 24 Euros per phone, not too bad I guess.
The sales guy told us it would take 2-3 hours to activate, ah Italy. So off we went to the Colosseum metro stop to end up waiting in the heat (though we did find a nice shade tree) for about an hour before the tour was scheduled to start. Why not look around while we waited you ask? It was hot and humid, especially when out of the shade!
Hot sun, huge crowds, high humidity, what's not to like?
Oh, turns out, the Colosseum was built on what used to be marsh land and a lake!
We were bummed but whatcha going to do right? So, off we went into the oppressive heat. The poor tour guide, he was full of great information but I think he figured out pretty early on that the Chang boys weren't that much into history, and the fact we didn't get to do the underground Colosseum tour obviated his chances for a tip after the 4 hour tour.
Still, he soldiered on, and so did the 10 of us in the tour group. So much information about the area, so much walking, so many people to wade through in the process. Add in hot humid conditions and the interest level steadily dropped as the hours went by. Still, the rich history of the place....not something to be missed.
down there but not this time!
of this massive structure
the rest was destroyed by earthquakes and centuries of folks taking the
building blocks away for other purposes.
The war booty of which helped fund the construction of the colossuem
Can you tell Patrick's no longer interested in even pretending to listen?
on the home of one of Rome's Emperors, I forget which right now.
what used to be a huge administrative building and living quarters
for the Roman emperor. Apparently, the building covered about a third
of the land that was originally where the tribe of Rome originated!
All of us were pretty much exhausted and we slowly made our way back to the Colosseum Metro station where we were in time for rush hour. We were packed like sardines in the train back to the Termini station but the train with the six stops for our "home" station wasn't too badly crowded.
Once we got out of the Metro, we located the TIM store that had been closed that morning and I told the young lady at the desk that the sims weren't working! She checked the records, looked around a bit then gave me "the look". "Sir" she said, "you have to reboot the phone for it to work with the new sim and get Internet access". I told her that her colleagues at the other TIM store had failed to mention that, she was not impressed.
Still, she got all four of our phones working so we were all satisfied and on our way to dinner. We found this little trattoria and decided we needed some wine to help our sore feet. We ate outside as I've determined that even though a restaurant may claim to be air-conditioned, it really isn't after a long day of walking around in the heat.
Martha and I had the Spaghetti Carbonara, yummy
Patrick loved the Pizza Diavola, basically spicy pepperoni!
Miles liked the Borgo Nuovo pizza, ham, sausage, hotdog I think.
Miles LOVED the Tiramisu dessert....always ordered a second one!
above and below, I had the boys take a sip out of my expresso
cup, both claimed to like the taste. It'll hopefully translate
to wide awake boys for tomorrow's early tour of the Sistine Chapel.
On the way home, I spied this "basic" scooter, nothing fancy but definitely workmanlike!
Token Moto Content
Got myself a blister on the right foot, but no big deal I think. Lots learned today, Roman history-wise and also about Italian cell/data providers, and finally about how crowded things can be at times.