Our third and final day was both exciting and frustrating. I really wanted to see the Temple of Aesculapius in the Borghese Gardens so we started out with a long walk to the gardens from our hotel. I wouldn't have cared about the walk had we not finally made it up to the Temple to see that they drained all of the water. Ugh.
|Just not the same when you have to cut out the non-existent lake.|
Rick Steves tells you that a bus is better than the train to Siena, but what he doesn't tell you is that no one in the entire city of Rome knows where to buy said tickets. The whole 3 days we were there we tried to buy them, until finally we opted for the train out of desperation.
And because more shenanigans were in the cards for us that day, next up was a rogue cabbie who kept telling us the Ancient Rome sites were "very close" and wouldn't take us there. So we got out of the cab and walked. Let me tell you, it was a long haul. We were both livid.
Thankfully we managed to make it to the Colosseum in time for our Underground and Third Ring tour. It was an additional 9 Euro per person on top of your entrance fee, but we had the Roma pass so we only paid for the tour itself. We were so happy we made advance reservations because even during the slow season, the Colosseum line was a beast.
The tour was fantastic and totally lifted our moods. I was geeking out over everything, snapping like 100 photos in the Colosseum itself. Steve used the panoramic function on his trusty iPhone and got some amazing photos as well.
We got to see areas that are off limits to general visitors, including underneath the Colosseum floor where the animals were kept. We also went on the reconstructed floor of the arena and up to the third level of seating. There used to be 5 levels, but this is the highest you can go these days.
FYI ladies... do not, under any circumstance, use the women's restroom in the Colosseum. Steve said every woman who left it came out looking like they had been violated. I assure you, it is that terrible.
|That big white building in the background is the Victor Emmanuel Monument.|
After the Colosseum, we walked around Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. We were pretty tired by that point so we were glad we didn't do a tour there. It was still so beautiful though and I'm glad we didn't miss out on it.
Finally, we made it to the Victor Emmanuel building and rode the "Elevator to the Sky" to see Rome from the rooftop. It was a gorgeous view, and since I'm scared of heights (but only when combined with steps), the elevator was okay with me. I just closed my eyes. I know, weird.
|View of the Forum from the Victor Emmanuel rooftop|
|Loved the streets of Rome... each was completely different|
The next morning we cabbed it to Termini Train Station super early since we didn't know what we were doing. Thank God, because we couldn't find our platform. Apparently there are platforms, 1EST and 2EST, hidden way back behind the regular 1-18 platforms at Termini. Once we validated our ticket in the little machine and got on the train, it was easy, even with the transfer.
All in all, we loved seeing the sites in Rome. It was a beautiful city, full of winding streets, cheap but tasty house wine, outdoor cafes, and delicious gelato. On the downside, the bus/train/cab escapade and the annoying street vendors really hampered my opinion of the city itself. I guess I have the same feeling about NYC. By the end of our 3 days in Rome, we were ready to head to the beautiful, peaceful Tuscan countryside and one of our favorite stops on our trip, Siena! Stay tuned!