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Shaken but not stirred

Thursday 27th October

I sat the alarm to 7.30am this morning without telling Lucy, she wasn’t impressed. My reasoning was that since the info point on site opened at 8am we could be at the front of the queue and get sightseeing as soon as possible. Try and explain to me why we didn’t get the train until 10.30!

We have bought a three day pass for €38.50 each. It allows us free travel on all trains, trams and buses in Rome and free entry (without queuing (very, very important when you see the queues)) to two main attractions and reduced entry to the rest. After one days use I have to say it was worth it, we’d forgotten that it is half term and the streets were filled with ankle biters from every nation.

After a short walk to the train station and a bumpily bump ride on a train built by the Romans we arrived in the right place.

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We got off the train at Flaminio and this is the first sight that meets us. We are disorientated, not sure which way to hold the map up or where to go next. The traffic is zooming past in all directions and even though it’s like being in London and we both managed to commute there we are out of practice and it takes a while to become used to it all.

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After a little discussion (full blown row where Lucy thinks she can read a map and everyone else knows that she can’t) we set off in the correct direction.

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Across Piazza del Popolo…

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And into the first church we get to. Just some old church we found out of the over 900 that are in Rome. Standing at the main door we can see another four churches, they can’t al be like this.

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Or can they? We’re not here for the churches today, that’s tomorrows treat (or not). You have been warned.

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A column dedicated to Marcus Aurelius (or someone else, if you’ve been to Rome you will know far more than me, I’m only going by what the boss says).

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Around the column is a long story about the conquests and exploits of Marcus Aurelius .

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And another column for Trajans (and I know that this one is Trajans – anything else I tell you might be bullshit but I watched the mini film on this one).

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Can you see what it is yet?

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Between Trajus’ column and the Coliseum there are lots of roman buildings all built, used or knocked down by someone you have heard of before. Problem is you learnt it all 40 years ago whilst it was still fresh in the minds of your history teachers, nowadays it all just merges into one.

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Looking back towards Trajus’ column.

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And we’re getting close to the Coliseum. I’ve seen photos of this place before but never really got an idea of the scale of it, very large, very high and very interesting. You’ll notice that the sky is a bit cloudy here, 11am, it rained all night but we have been assured that things will improve.

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Inside you can nearly get an idea of the scale of the place.

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Originally there would have been tiers of seats just like being at Wembley.

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And our first selfie. No one warned me that getting a normal 6’4” person in a selfie with a dwarf was not going to be easy. Lucy had to jump up four or five times before we got the shot we wanted.

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Triumphal arches are everywhere.

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Can you see the weather improving. I had to take my jumper off in the end, it was getting so warm.

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We had booked a guided tour to the Domus Romans as recommended by our campsite guide which was very good but very photo unfriendly. We were taken on a tour of a roman villa with lots of light effects which wouldn’t have been photogenic at all. The most disconcerting part was walking on glass floors so that you could see the floors and mosaics without damaging them. Anyway, it was next to Trajans’ column and we watched a short film on the story depicted in the carvings.

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Between Trajans’ column and the coliseum is the Forum and Palatine which were included in our free pass (and we skipped the queues). It’s a large area with lots of temples, columns and triumphal arches dedicated to a god or war hero.

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This was a rather nicely carved piece of stone, the edges were still sharp.

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And this is where it fell down from, probably due to an earthquake.

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Another view of the temple devoted to Saturn or Jupiter (maybe). 

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Another big building. I am absolutely knackered, I haven’t got time to read all the blue – it’s in Rome, if you want to know more – google.

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On the way to the train station I managed to get another photo of the coliseum once the sun had moved round and lit up the stonework.

We’ve got back to the van and it’s boiling hot inside, I only had enough change for the washing machine yesterday so we had to hang all the washing up and turn the heating on.

Then I have had to do some top secret work for the Government, you didn’t realise that I do some work for the government did you? VAT return, once every three months and since we’ve got free wifi now’s the time to do it. I do hope that they spend this £134 wisely. Two blogs and it’s no surprise that I ask Lucy to cook dinner tonight and a very good job she made as well. Stir fry beef with pan choi – it actually looked better than the picture.

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