Tales of a wandering lesbian

Rome, day 2, part 1

I took approximately 1000 pictures in the day and a half I spent in Rome.  I’m not a very good photographer, and I tend to use pictures as a note-taking method, but that’s a lot of pictures.  It had something to do with the amount of things I packed into a short amount of time.  I wouldn’t want to see a lot of cities the way I saw Rome, but bustling from location to location seemed to work for me in the eternal city.

I started the morning with breakfast in the hotel.  I got an amazing deal on the room by clicking the “Rick Steves” button on the hotel’s website, which took me to a separate rate listing.  Crazy.  Anyway, the room came with breakfast, which was served in the room basically across the hall from where I was sleeping.  This was nice for a couple of reasons:  1. I was able to have cappuccino in my room, 2. I couldn’t oversleep.  The guests weren’t especially noisy, but the eternally overwhelmed staff person seemed completely unaware that she was, in fact, working in a hotel, which is a service industry, and not serving vagabonds who had taken over her home.  That meant she was not so careful with regards to noise level while setting up for breakfast.

The breakfast was totally adequate and included more of the yogurt and cereal I had come to love in Venice. As well as crusty rolls and individual servings of nutella.  These looked like a perfect snack to me, so they ended up in my bag for later.  I have found that snacks are critical to my happiness while sightseeing.  So I drank my coffee, consulted my guidebook and made a plan for the day.

Cappu and map

And the day was an absolutely glorious one.  The rain had cleared to leave perfectly blue skies.  As I walked to my first destination – to Colosseum – I passed many of the things I’d seen the night before.  I’m telling you, seeing Rome at different times of the day is like seeing different cities.

I passed obelisks and ancient markets, and big columns.

Sunny Obelisk Ancient market Big Columns

And I walked up and down a bunch of hills.  Rome has hills, have you heard?

And then I was at the Colesseum.


It’s big, the Colesseum.  See the little people?  Big.  Being so big, it has really great views of other ruins.

View of Ruins from Colosseum Arch of Constantine from Colosseum Ruins through Colosseum archway

The middle of the structure, where the actual gladiatorial battles were waged was interesting, but kind of scrambled.  They’ve reconstructed part of the floor so you can see where the animals would appear to eat the competitors, so that’s helpful.  Personally, I found the seating areas much more interesting.  Some of the roofing is still intact, but there are portions that look like they’ve melted, leaving really striking images.

Melted rooves

I wandered around, feeling a little lost.  What was this place?  Was it a prison?  Was it an arena?  Was it a holy place?  It pretty much encapsulated the contradictions of Rome itself.  Even Greenpeace was having a demonstration on site.

Colosseum bars Arena Colosseum cross

I felt like time stood still while I was inside the Colosseum.  Well, it stood still for everything except my stomach.  When I left, I was hungry, so I reached into my bag for a little snack as I walked to the Forum.  The roll and nutella were perfect.  I’d need my strength for this next bit.  I was looking forward to the Forum, but wasn’t really sure if I’d be able to appreciate it without understanding a lot of the ruins.  Still, I was willing to give it a shot.  I mean, it’s the birthplace of democracy, or something like that.

Okay, there’s a lot going on at the Forum, so I’m going to hit the highlights for me.  They may or may not be in your guidebook next time you’re in Rome.  The thing I liked best was this little path.

Forum pathway

It was in front of Constantine’s basilica.  It was peaceful.  I sat there and listened to the birds for quite a while, even though I was on a tight schedule and needed to get moving.  I just wanted to stay there for as long as I could.  Everyone else was taking another route around this area, so I sat in relative quiet, soaking up the Forum (which can be a bit overwhelming).

I also liked the basilica.

Constantine's basillica

The ceiling of the arches was really interesting to me.  I didn’t take a good picture of the entire structure, but I took about 20 of the ceilings.  I sat up here for a while on a hunk of old column that didn’t seem to be needed anymore.

I saw the Senate, and the place where they housed all the lawyers – who were recognized as a needed part of any society – and the rostrum.

Senate Lawyers' building Kristin rostrum

I wanted to climb up on the rostrum and give a speech, but I had a lot planned for the afternoon, so I decided I’d rather not go to jail, or spend my day explaining that the rostrum is intended for speech-making – so I just took a pic in front of it.

Oh yes, and the vestal virgins.  I saw their place too.

Temple of the vestal virgins

I saw a lot of other things, too: churches and columns and bricks and marble.  Saw the place where Julius Caesar was cremated.  Saw the arch that Raphael painted in the Vatican.  The one where he has Aristotle walking through the arch with someone else I can’t remember right now.  Yeah, that arch is in the Forum as well.  It’s named after Severus Snape, I believe.

Severus arch

And then I walked up the hill to where Remus and Romulus were raised by the she wolf.  You know, before founding Rome.  It was one of the strangest and most peaceful places I’ve been.  From here I pondered mythology, looked out over the Circus Maximus (which used to be a chariot race-course), and decided I’d better get a move on if I was going to see the Pantheon and the Vatican that afternoon.  It was also time to eat again.  I was hungry from seeing so much before noon.  So I set off, back to the Pantheon and my favorite pizza place.

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