My first day off the plane and it was a downpour. Thankfully, my skate shoes were triple stitched on a single seem so they kept the water out quite nicely. I booked at Alessandro Hostel, which was about 2 blocks from the Termini train station. This was a luxury I decided to grant myself after getting marooned by my driver in Greece who didn’t want to travel through the austerity protest. Either way, I memorized my maps, as usual, and was prepared for the worst. This time around it was weather.
Didn’t bother me too much. My feet were staying dry, so my biggest concern was figuring out how I was going to use my camera in this monsoon of a rainstorm we were having. I threw Saturday to the way side and left my camera in a locker. Decided getting my bearings and finding my favorite panino spot was far more important. There is a Turkish spot outside of Termini that I highly recommend. 3 Euro durums, or paninos, gyros, what ever you want to call them. Basically flat bread with meat, veg, and french-fries inside, and the Turkish spot had the cheapest, biggest, and the best tasting ones. Needless to say, I visited their shop everyday. They knew me by name by the end of the week.
By Monday the weather cleared up and the rest of the week would be nice, but Easter Sunday was cold and wet. In Rome, the first Sunday of every month all the sights are free. I highly suggest planning your trips around this fact if you are trying to save a little cash. I decided to get out with my camera and take advantage of the situation. I ended up buying an umbrella off of a street vendor to help keep the camera dry. Here’s a little tip for bartering in Rome. First, find out what they want. Second, offer them half of what they stated. Third, walk away when they say no. They will follow you offering you lower prices. Fourth, pull out the money you want to spend and show it to them. If this doesn’t work just keep walking away, rinse, and repeat. I rarely met a street vendor that would pass up any offer.
So I had my umbrella and a plan, and it just so happened that I ran into a fellow traveller on the same mission. A nice fellow from India named Jagat. He asked me for directions, and once we realized we were on the same quest, it was only proper to join forces for the rest of the day. We set our sights on the infamous Colosseum. Despite the rain, the line was still tremendously long, and it took about 20 minutes to get inside. I image the line would have easily been an hour on a nice day. Still, I wouldn’t suggest paying for the “skip the line” tours that the street vendors are selling.
Walking up on the Colosseum is pretty awe-inspiring. It’s one of those iconic buildings that I’ve read about in books and seen in movies. Been fantasizing about the Colosseum ever sense I was a child, and finally, I was standing in front of it. It wasn’t hard to imagine what it must have felt like gathering for one of the many contests that were held here.
The inside, however, was a bit disappointing. Here’s why. Now the history of the Colosseum is amazing, and being able to see the inner workings of the structure and how it functioned was great. However, the Vatican removed the really impressive features. So any bronze statues including the Colossus were all melted down for the bronze. The marble was all removed. They used it when building the Vatican. So there are no marble seats or thrones. But even still, it was nice to walk through and imagine myself as a citizen of Ancient Rome.
Despite the weather, I enjoyed checking this off my bucket list. I returned later in the week to shoot some fair weather photos, but didn’t bother taking another tour of the interior. It really is a magnificent piece of architecture, especially when you consider the history. The amount of blood and wine that must have been spilt in the very place I was standing. Truly a must see for anyone visiting Roma!
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