Day 29: Roma

The ride to Rome took about 4 hours by regular train, but was for the most part relaxing and comfortable. I’m definitely feeling burned out and I’m finding myself savoring these longer train rides. Not all however have AC which can be a bit unpleasant with it as hot as it is in Italy right now. Its been in the low to mid 30s C with high humidity.

Arriving in Rome I set about to find a place to sleep… this turned out to take more over and hour and be quite difficult. There are literally no hotels even 1 star that cost less than 50 euros a night. I ended up settling on a hostel that offered a room with 4 neighbors for 28 euros. I don’t like hostels but this is the best I could do within my budget. I left my stuff in the room, and my laptop with the front desk because I really need to be careful about that.

I then went out to town, but first, lunch. By this time it had been maybe 24 hours or more since I had last eaten. I picked out the cheapest place around Pizza Fantasy haha… 3.50 euros for a pizza. There was a Finnish couple having lunch at the same place, and the husband started up a conversation and I had a nice time chatting for a bit after I finished eating.

I then set out for the main sights: Fontana di Trevi, The Pantheon, Plaza Campidoglio, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. I decided it would be better to skip the Holy See on a Sunday, and would see it tomorrow.

If Pisa was a gift shop, Florence was a tourist trap, then Rome is the Disney Land of taking tourist’s money. Thats not to say Rome isn’t an amazing city, at least 2 days, probably 3 are needed minimum. Its like every corner you turn there is something of interest. However even a simple fountain will be crammed full of tourists. Everything is geared towards tourism, even restaurants have a tourist menu most places(that seems to me more like a deterrent than an advertisement). Everything is expensive too as you might expect. The heat is also very suppressing, it makes walking everywhere a bit of a drag, and the public transport system is as bad as it is in America. Thats not to same the Romans don’t try, its just that every time they try to dig a tunnel they run into ruins they need to excavate.

The Trevi fountain was very beautiful, and was definitely worth a look, but its not a place you stay for long. You have a nice look, then move on.

The Pantheon, my next stop, was very impressive as well, the way the dome was built so large back all those years ago. There is a whole in the center and light streams though, hitting the dust on the way down which looks really nice. This is the best surviving piece of ancient Rome, and many kings are buried there.

I then moved on to see the Argentina ruins where Caesar was stabbed to death apparently. I always thought it was in the Forum, but maybe that was just the Shakespeare version I’m thinking of?

Moving on I stopped at the Forums ruins and this turned out to be one of the more interesting stops. Apparently after the fall of Rome the Forum went into disuse, and due to many floods and land slides thanks to the Tiber River the Forum was filled in with silt. After a while the Romans even forgot what was originally there. I guess thats understandable, the tour guide I overheard said that Rome dropped from a population of 1 million to 20 thousand. In fact a church had been built on top of an old ruin, and remains there today, though the archaeologists have dug down maybe 30-40 feet to uncover more and more ruins, so the door to the old church, still there, stands well over your head as you walk by, a reminder of how filled in the area once was. Before it was excavated, the area was being used as a pasture.

The Colosseum leaving the forums rises up above everything else. It is truly massive, a true accomplishment of its time. I wish I could have seen it at its height. Now however a large portion of it is missing, torn down for building material. After walking around it, I decided I didn’t want to spend 10 euros to go inside since I could see most of it through the big gaping hole where a large part of the Colosseum wall is missing.

After the Colosseum I was spent, and headed back slowly to my hostel room planning on a nap. I bought some gelato along the way, this time Tiramisu. I also had Kiwi flavor today which was really great, one of my favorites so far.

Arriving back at my hostel I first checked my email and booked a hotel in Naples for tomorrow before heading up to my room where I found one of my roommates for the night, a woman about my age named Alecia, from Canada. After a few minutes there two roommates also arrived, both were from Argentina though they didn’t know each other named Matias and Julian. I was invited along for dinner and drinks, and thought it might be fun so I went. What I didn’t know is that they planned to stay for the Copa America semi final game between Brazil and Argentina. By 11:30 I was tired, and since I couldn’t afford 6 euros a beer I hadn’t been drinking, so things were getting boring. I decided to go back and sleep.

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