We arrived in Rome at about 10 a.m. local time after a full day/night on the plane, which means it was time to explore Rome jet lagged. Yeah.
After maniacally searching for our driver from the airport, we were dropped off in front of our hotel in the heart of Rome.
We set out for the Fontana di Trevi and, though the water was drained, were still impressed by the white sculptures.
From there it was lunch near our cafe at a bar, and we shared a pizza with mozzarella and basil and a pasta dish with cheese and pepper. The pasta was of course homemade tasting and the pizza crust was wonderful, though it had too much tomato sauce for me. Guess I’m not Roman.
After our afternoon shower and rest (honestly a highlight of the day in our freshly made beds), we went down Via del Corso to buy our tickets to the Colosseum and Forum. The street feels like Times Square with its black cement, hoards of people and intense heat (but not as modern nor lit-up).
Naturally along the way, I stopped for gelato. Pistachio and lemon! Refreshing in the sweltering heat – it was 92 degrees when we landed and the sun beats down on everyone.
Italian gelato is pretty dang good. I like the kind served at UCLA too which is very creamy and this was a little bit icier (and some dribbled on my camera). But it’s essential eating.
Walking down we passed by Piazza Venezia, which was so huge for something just sitting in the middle of the street. I feel like an ant in Rome. A tired, jet lagged ant.
The Roman Forum was really interesting – much more so in person than pictures I’ve seen. I feel like Caesar is almost a fictional character from all the literature, but seeing the remains of the grand columns made it feel real and I could picture the old city that started the world.
I walked up (many stairs) to my first panoramic view of Rome, overlooking the Forum after we weaved through a garden. Amazing! We could even see colorful houses in the distance.
And of course our ticket also was supposed to admit us to the Colosseum but by the time we got out of the Forum we were told the Colosseum had just closed, which was such a drag! Must return.
We dredged ourselves back to the hotel in the hot sweat crowds shopping down Via del Corso. Cheap paninis for dinner and a looong night’s rest at 9:30 p.m.
Though it may seem like a simple enough day, it was good to get a taste of the heat and the architecture before Saturday’s first full day. It’s hot, but I’m so excited to be in this city and country. I heard someone say “Mamma Mia!” already, and there are so many Italian people all over speaking, even Italian tourists. I don’t know how to behave… should I attempt Italian or just speak English? I hate to bother locals; I’m here to appreciate their food and see historic cites that are 2,000 years old.
The culture is so different from Paris – loud, bustling, stressful. Maybe it’s because we’re trying to pack so much in. Maybe it’s because we’re so jet lagged. Maybe it’s the heat.