Monday, April 28, 2008

Italy, part 6

The only trouble, well the main trouble, with night trains is the fact that you check out of your hotel in the morning and have no homebase until the next day. I'm a big fan of naps, but even nap-phobic Ryan remarked that he forgot how often one returns to a hotel for this or that.

Even so, we started off the day at the Colosseum, followed by the Palatine, and the Forum. Even with an audio tour peppered with "Julius Caesar stood here" it doesn't seem quite real. The forum is a fascinating junk yard of marble debris-- I can see why Rome's elevation is now so high. We walked back to The Pantheon and marvelled at the perfect, mathematically improbable dome. Then we ate a huge amount of gelato (its so much cheaper in Italy than the UK! Ben and Jerry's is like 4 quid for a half pint!)

We wanted to get maximum value out of our Rome Passes so we tubed to the Nazionale Rome Museo and looked at more old statues. They're impressive and whatnot, but I'm a kind of over marble statues. I dragged Ryan away and we walked the Via del Corso (Rome's hip strip) and ate pizza at Campo dei Fiori. There was a great little band playing in the piazza, but as we approached there was a very out of place old lady with smeared makeup warbling along to "Summertime." The band came around to the cafe tables to ask for money, and this lady, apparently drunk, followed suit. When the cafe patrons refused her, she stood before us and sort of moaned out an awful sounding song until someone paid her.

After dinner we walked along the neglected Tiber river and wound up near Trastevere, the old Jewish district. The kosher fast food reminded me of our home in Gateshead, and we lingered a bit before heading to our final night train.

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