Friday, April 22, 2011

We will see you there...

Fabio, "I can not believe it's not butter!"
Our final full day in Rome and it was imperative to see the Colosseum, Palatine and The Forum.  We paid the extra for a guided tour from a short haired Fabio look alike, who I think fancied himself to be a bit of a modern day gladiator.

A few facts you may not know about the Colosseum;
  • It has about 80 entrances and can accommodate 50,000 spectators, so it is pretty big.
  • Construction of this huge edifice started in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80.
  • In 847, the southern side of the Colosseum collapsed because of a devastating earthquake.
  • The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as animal hunts, mock sea battles, re-enactments of famous battles, executions and dramas.
  • During the inaugural games of the Colosseum in 80 AD held by Titus, some 9,000 wild animals were slaughtered, this was obviously well before animal liberation.
  • It is estimated that the games played in the Colosseum for hundreds of years have taken the lives of about 500,000 people and over a million wild animals.
  • Based on historical evidences, it shows that 200 bullock carts were used to transport marble to the construction site.
  • Receiving millions of visitors every year, the Colosseum is the most famous tourist attraction of Rome.
  • Elton John, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney and Ray Charles were some of the few famous singers that performed at the Colosseum. 

We followed our tour of the colosseum with a tour of Palatine and the Forum.  It is astounding that some of these ruins still exist, and my children seemed to enjoy jumping on the big rocks and fallen marble. It was a day filled with history lessons, and a lot of walking. 

Picking flowers at Palatine

Climbing ruins at Palatine

Exploring the Forum
 Still not feeling 100%, I took a pregnancy test, and had a sigh of relief that there will not be a little Roman baby.  But no sigh of relief as I am awake all night running to the bathroom and rinsing off dirty clothes.  I get up in the morning feeling like I am recovering from Woodstock.  Noises were amplified, lights magnified, and even the smell of coffee makes my stomach turn and my sphinxter play peek-a-boo.  We decide to alter our plans by heading directly to our hotel in Perugia, so I can rest, and the tour group can continue onto Assisi for the remainder of the day.

We pack our suitcases, pay our bill, and ensure that something is broken minutes before the hotel manager comes to inspect the room.  In this particular case, our princess has self-selected a very nice glass coffee table.  The smashed glass is cleaned, invoice for replacement table paid, and we are on our way.

Car convoys are always amusing.  Particularly when both cars have a GPS that obviously attended different navigation schools, both drivers like to 'trust their sense of direction', and both passengers like to panic.  We had the lead but took a few wrong turns, and managed to loose my parents in the process.  We pulled into a service station and attempted to calmly talk them through the GPS menu to check the address and turn up the volume.  I must admit I was a little concerned to hear their estimated time of arrival had leaped from 2 hours to 3 hours, and then to 5 hours, (all in a manner of 2 minutes), "Oh lordy it is going to be a long day!"  There are now four people yelling in my parents car; my mother, my father, me on the phone and Lois their GPS advisor, (who is now stuck on the highest volume possible).  I think my mother had had quite enough and left me with a simple "We will see you there", before hanging up the phone.  I could hear doubt in her voice and did not know if it was because she did not think they would make it to Perugia, or if she was ready to ditch the tour group.

The drive ended up like a treasure hunt as we slowly passed all the clues my parents had left us.  The 44km until next service station sign, the 2 toll stations, and even the farm tractor they were passing at one stage; as it turns out my parents were actually infront of us, not behind us, (until they detoured onto the dirt road leading to a random farm house).  Happy ending for all as we checked into the Perugian hotel safely, and my mother arrived saying it was a beautiful drive with no dramas.  (I think the Tuscan hills stole her stress on the drive.)

Still feeling ill, I spoil myself with a bath and a sleep, and I send my parents, hubby and angels to Assisi, one of the most religious places in the world, on Good Friday....
Stairs in Assisi that I did not have to climb with a pram!

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