Cindy and Joe only had one day, at the front of the cruise to see the city, and since one of our Rome days was spent dealing with the transportation strike in Italy, there were certainly sites we had yet,to see; such as the Colosseum.
Knowing that my tank was running on fumes, my sweet friends suggested a cab from the hotel to the Colosseum, in lieu of the train. We also looked on the Colosseum's website to see whether or not there was a handicap entrance, as I knew I was not up for a long wait in line, in the sun; I figured if there was not, then I would just find a shady spot, it and wait and people watch.
Luckily there was a handicap line and entrance, so I decided to pick up my boot straps and head out to Rome; ONE more time! lol The cab ride in was quite pleasant, allowing us to view the lay of the land between Fiumicino and Rome, and to see other ruins and old buildings all along the way.
Once we got to the Colosseum, which was quite impressive from the outside, Cindy took it upon herself to find out just how we could enter the ruins through the handicap line, without waiting in the big, long line that surround the amphitheater. She went straight up to one of the "worker-bees" and they told us to come through there, to a special window to purchase tickets, and then over to an elevator, and into the Colosseum.
Not only did she eliminate the line, and the climb, she received complimentary tickets for me, AND for Joe, as a companion. I know that most places in Europe offer free access to handicapped people and a companion, but I feel funny using the services, and have just paid my way, everywhere, but in Versailles, where they insisted on comping our tickets, although they were included in a pass that we had previously paid for. (LONG STORY!LOL)
It is funny how I don't necessarily consider myself "handicapped", but if any one was to watch me literally hobble to my room, at the end of a short day, they may think otherwise, and seeing how my legs reacted to the heat and over-exertion, and the dizziness and fatigue I get from standing in long lines, especially in the sun, I have to remind myself to take the small gestures when offered, as these small things may allow me to add one more thing on my sightseeing plate. I thank God for the adrenaline that gets me through the day, but I certainly pay for my over-exuberance, every night!
Anyway, we arrived at the top of the Colosseum, walked out and looked into the expanse of the amphitheater; it was massive in size and very impressive in style, architecture and full of history. I was shocked at how much of the theater remained and at the workmanship that must have gone into building such a place out of sand, concrete and rocks. Seeing all of the different openings, hallways, tombs and cage-like areas caused my imaginative juices to start flowing, and inspired me to learn more about this remarkable structure, once I got home.
Joe and I did not venture far into the the Colosseum, yet we enjoyed everything that we did see, from where we sat and waited for Joe and Cindy to peruse around, and take photos to show us, what we had missed; which was plenty! They were able to view many pieces of discovered architecture and statues, that had been recovered from the site. Interestingly enough, many of the stones and rocks had been removed from the Colosseum, to build other structures, in other parts of Rome.
Right outside of the Colosseum was a HUGE archway; the Arch of Constantine, which had so many different facets of artwork, that I could not take enough photos. It of course reminded me of the Acr de Triumph, in Paris and the Marble Arch, in London. The relics that surround the cities in Europe never get old to my eyes!
Since we did little standing, or walking in the Colosseum, we decided to brave, and extend our "tour", and headed to the Metro, which was just across the street, and head to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. The day was not too hot, and I had my cool cloth, so I was up for the challenge.
One of the best parts of that day were the guys singing and playing reggae music in the street, just outside the Metro stop, on our way to the Spanish steps; Joe M. couldn't help but bust a few moves, while I couldn't stop swaying to the sounds of joy; music always brightens my day and quickens my step and I will never tire of all of the street musicians, on the streets in Europe. I always had change in my bag for them!
Once we got to the "Spanish Steps", I looked up them, took the obligatory photos and continued to wonder what the big deal was! lol I guess the fact that they are travertine and connected the French city area, to the lower lying Spanish area, was a big deal at the time; if I was a little more on my game, I would have run up those steps, to the church at the top, but instead, I enjoyed the buildings, fountains and statues down below; one that was hard to miss was the Column of the Immaculate Conception; the sculptures were exquisite.
After walking around that area for awhile, we decided to head over to the Trevi Fountain, which we had previously seen, but our friends had not. After seeing it the first time, I had read a little about it; I believe that I would have enjoyed it more, before the last restoration; completed in 2015. I knew it looked to perfect, to clean, to commercial; to be old, authentic and true. I like the cracks, the deterioration, the discoloration and the history and authenticity, of what something has become, as opposed to what modern procedures can produce. I understand preserving and restoring, but this seemed as though it was just "too" cleany and shiny!
While Cindy and Joe were photo-opping, Joe and I were Gelato shopping! We found a great little shop that not only had Gelato, but cannolies, as well. We took two to go, and ate them later that night in the hotel, and I can honestly say that they were the best cannolies I have ever, ever eaten!
Of course, the gelato was eaten immediately, and was nice and refreshing, but it did remind us that we were actually hungry, and ready to eat; we opted for a little pizzeria and had two delicious pizzas, a few beers and some pretty darn good air-conditioning; just enough to re-energize us enough, to find our way back to the hotel.
We easily found a cab willing to take us back out to our hotel for only 45 euros, a little more than the train would have cost the four of us, with a pit stop at a liquor store for beer. He took us the scenic way out of the city and told us about all of the things we were seeing as we passed by.
By the time we got to the hotel and checked in, I was DONE! I took a bath and put on my jammies ad crawled in bed. I did not even have the energy to go to dinner with our friends, so in keeping the tradition going, Joe , Joe and Cindy had dinner without me, just like the first night of our "together" vacation. My heart wanted to be there in the biggest way, as I knew it was our last night together, and that we wouldn't see them in the morning, but my body just said NO! And I did not have the energy to argue!
After dinner they came up to say good-bye, and it was bittersweet watching them leave; we had enjoyed a trip that Cindy and I had envisioned for over 35 years, and I was sad to seem them leave.
They were headed to Paris for a few days and we were headed to London for a week and I was happy to scratch Rome off of my bucket list.
Arrevederci, dear friends........until next time; buon viaggio! (safe journey)