Tag Archives: roman forum

Off to Rome & the Mediterranean! (2011 Trip)

On Thursday, August 25th we left early in the morning from LAX.  We took a Delta flight to Atlanta, but when we arrived it took us a while to get off the plane. Ended up having to haul ass from terminal T all the way to terminal E. Had just enough time to get to our gate and fit in a bathroom break. We were some of the last to get in and a woman had sat in our seats hoping to sit next to her hot boyfriend and swap seats with one of us. Sorry lady. We paid the extra to have Economy Plus and sit together for the next 10 hours.

Flying to Rome – Aug 25, 2011

It ended up being a great flight but very hard to fall asleep. So at 8:30am when we got to Fiumicino, we were still kinda exhausted. Customs was non existent and the guy humored us when he stamped our passport. We easily found the route to the Leonardo Express train that takes us into Rome. Got our tickets and ran to one of the cars very far down the track as it was already loading when we got there. Me and my four bags managed to get in the train but it was hard. I hate all those bags.

The train into Rome was surprisingly fast and before we knew it we were at Roma Termini, the main train station in Rome. After we got out of the train, I guided us incorrectly out the station towards the south side of the train station. Oops. It was fucking hot and humid and we ended up walking all the way around the station’s west end to get to the north side where fortunately our hotel was nearby, the Best Western Hotel Royal Santina. Luckily we were able to check in at around 10:30 and we got in, showered and changed clothes and headed off to our first destination, the Colosseum. We ended up walking to Termini as I knew that we could get our Roma Passes there at a tabacchi shop. Sure enough, that was easy.

August 26, 2011 – Welcome to Roma!

Arrival in Rome and Walking to Colosseum

We then schlepped down the streets of Rome from the hotel to the Colosseum, and it was fucking hot. Hot. I took us on a left a bit too early up some steps and to a bridge over the road we should have been on. So as we could see the Colosseum, we couldn’t get to it. Finally found some stairs down where we could cross the street to it.  As we were looking around the outside of the Colosseum for the entrance, one of those enterprising folks who sell tours caught us and asked if we wanted a tour. I was initially hesitant but the price didn’t suck.. So we got a guided tour of the Colosseum with not that great of a guide. Whatever it was still cool although it was ungodly hot.

Touring the Colosseum

After the 45 minute tour was over we had some time to walk around ourselves so we did and I took plenty of pictures. After 20 minutes of freedom we then met up for the second part which was a guided tour of the Forum and the Palatine Hill. We got a great female tour guide who was much more compelling. Very good tour of the Palatine Hill area and lots of great history stories, including the she-wolf/prostitute who raised the abandoned Remus and Romulus. The ruins of the palace are quite derelict but you can imagine what they must have looked like in their prime. Also got some invaluable advice during this tour applicable for the rest of the tour: you can freely drink the water coming out from the many fountains in Rome. Thank god as it was hot and water is not cheap in this world. So if you have a bottle you can constantly fill it up for free. Sweet.

The Forum and Palatine Hill

After the tour we wandered through the Forum a bit until we veered north out of the Forum area and found a place to eat a block or so from there, not the best but we were hungry. We then walked back to the hotel, uphill and in the heat, and when we got back, we passed t promptly for our first siesta. Ugh. Many hours later, we got up for dinner, which we dressed a little up for. It was around the hotel area and it was great, plus there were very hot waiters. We ate a lot but it was good. After that we went back to our hotel and passed out.

First night in Rome

2011 Mediterranean Trip Pics Index

Day 3 in Rome (2011 Trip)

August 28, 2011 – Our Last Day in Roma!

So on our last day we were able to take a little bit of time before heading out so we did just that. After a breakfast at our hotel’s swanky breakfast area with the coffee machine that Larry loved, we went to the metro station at Termini to head towards where Castel sant Angelo is. When we got down to where the platform was, it was mobbed with people though, which was not altogether surprising but still frustrating as it was late Sunday morning. We were glad that we weren’t headed to the Vatican as the last Sunday of the month, it’s free. Of course, that means everybody goes there. So there we are at the subway and the mob of people at the two entryways isn’t moving at all. We also see that you really can’t get out as both escalators were heading down and the staircase was blocked off. There was a blocked off path to the other direction of the platform and it was probably an attempt to keep the traffic flow of pedestrians from interfering with each other. Well, people were now passing through that barrier to just get out of the mob. It was fortunate though as it turned out we were able to walk down the opposite platform to an entryway back to our platform where of course it was completely clear. At that moment the train showed up and were able to walk right in and be in a completely non crowded car. We figure it must have been a tour group or something clogging the entryway but frustrating nonetheless.

We took the subway to the same stop we went to yesterday for the Vatican, but this time, when we got off, along with seemingly all of Rome, instead of following the masses to the Vatican we veered east and away from the crowd. It was almost magical as the streets were pretty much deserted at that point. Larry and I both felt that that area seemed a lot like the Upper West or East Side. I also remembered that the hotel I stayed in ten years ago was in that neighborhood, but I can’t remember exactly where.

We walked down to the castle, the amazing circular fortress that used to be where the pope could go for defenses. It’s also a challenging level for Ezio in Assassin’s Creed! It was fun to get to see the inside for myself finally and the real thing looked a lot like the video game interpretation. Crazy. Great views of St Peters from the upper balconies too. You can see the pictures.

Castel sant Angelo


It was warm that day too, but probably not as bad as it was our first day. We walked from the castle along the river to where the Hall of Justice was, then turned inland to retrace some of our steps, in the daylight, of the nighttime walking tour we took yesterday. So we got back to the Piazza Navona in the day, which was a bit more uncomfortable in the heat of the day and not nearly as dramatic as it was during the night. We then headed to the Pantheon again, as when we got there the night before the inside was already closed. The Pantheon is always dramatic but going inside is insane. It’s beautiful and huge. I took some cool pictures of the dramatic beam of light coming from the top hole. After resting there on the pews for a spell, we then headed to find somewhere for lunch. After a few misfires when places we wanted to go were closed, we found a place where we sat outside and had a pizza each and some Peronis. Good times.

Day Walk to the Pantheon

Our satisfying lunch was followed by more walking as we headed past Giolottis again but we did not partake in the gelato this time. We thought at first we would walk to Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps again, but as we headed there I happened to look down the street and notice that huge white building with the immense staircase and giant statue in front of it. I can’t remember what it was but I did remember from last time that right behind it is the Campidoglia which is right at the western end of the ancient Roman ruins. We had taken off about halfway through the Forum our first day so this would let us see the rest of it and also give me a chance to see the ruins from the spot I saw them the first time ten years ago. After walking there and also climbing up the large staircase behind, it was really hot so we rested again. Saw some hot guys. But that is easy in Rome. So many hot guys. After some time though, we continued walking on, checking out the sights but not getting back in the Forum as you had to pay again and our Roma pass was used up. We got back to the street and walked back to the Colosseum and it’s Metro stop, which we took back to Termini.

Campidoglia and the Forum

At the train station we figured out what tickets we needed to buy to get to the cruise port. Then we headed back to the hotel, where Larry took a siesta and I played a ton of Game Dev Story on my iPad while also looking at our pics. When Larry got up, neither of us really wanted to go back to Trastevere at that point although that’s what we had initially planned. Something closer sounded better so we found Babbos about a few blocks away and had a fantastic dinner nearby. Headed back to the room and got ready for the next phase of the journey, which was to head to the port for our cruise ship fun!

2011 Mediterranean Trip Pics Index