There has to be something wrong with the weather app on my phone. It tells me it is 83 degrees, but it feels blistering hot. I’ve got my Indiana Jones explorer hat on trying to keep the sun off my face, I only wear that under extreme sun. I shake the phone. I try another weather app. All the same – 83 degrees. They’re obviously broken, ’cause it’s equator hot where I’m at.
I’m waiting in line for my ticket to the Colosseum and Forum. You can buy them online but have to print them out, you can’t use your smart phones for these – which is pretty dumb. The line is reasonable, but it doesn’t seem to move at all. It gives the tour guides plenty of time to come up and ask me if I want to skip the line. I assure them, I do not.
Plus, there are some new scammers I haven’t seen before. A bunch of Africans walking around trying to start up conversations with you.
“I like your shoes.”
“Where you from?”
“America number one. I’m from Kenya.”
I know it’s a scam, I’m just waiting to see how it plays itself out. After some more banter, he offers a gift from his country to me. Which I don’t take, because once you have it in your hands they want money and don’t want to take it back. I watched a couple of other people fall for it.
Here is one of the guys who was bothering me, he moved on to a new couple when he figured I was on to him. They are relentless, it doesn’t matter if you are taking photos, selfies, or talking to your friends, these guys go for it.
Fed up with the line and being harassed as I waited, I decide to walk down to Trajan’s Column and see some of the other sights Rome has to offer.
The first thing I come across is the poor mans view of the Roman Forum. You can see it from the street without buying a ticket, not even close to the same experience – but free.
Across the street I spy what looks like a statue of Julius Caesar and I head over to investigate. Full disclosure – all statues of guys dressed in Roman armor with little bowl haircuts look like Caesar to me. In this case I was spot on, as I was now standing in front of the ruins of the Forum of Julius Caesar.
In this blog I’ve probably overused the adjectives astounded, amazed, blown away, or something similar. But that is the way I feel when looking at ruins like this, set among the thriving city of today. You can just wander in from the sidewalk to something that was built in 46 B.C. – that’s awesome. (I’ve invested in a thesaurus, new adjectives coming soon.)
I walk on a little further and encounter one of those flag waving tour groups. They take up the entire sidewalk and do not yield. Have I mentioned I hate these tour groups? I didn’t mind them till I got to Rome. They are terrible here.
I continue on to the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the first King of a unified Italy.
The monument is home to Italy’s own Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Another reminder there have been a lot of soldiers around the world that have never been identified or made it home to their family and loved ones.
It sits on Piazza Venezia, where I expected to see the HQ of the Tempe based pizza chain, but no luck. They must be keeping a low profile with all their success in Arizona.
From here it is about a 10+ minute walk to the Trevi Fountain or the Pantheon. But I’m miserable. I’m hot, sweaty, and sure there is heat rash in parts unknown. I decide to head back to the hotel to cool down.
Walking home turned into a 20+ minute walk vs. heading to the tourist attractions. I seemed to be in no-mans-land as far as far as the metro goes and I’m not an adept at buses. So I walk. And walk. Finally making it back to the Smooth Hotel.
I’m spent. I don’t just mean for the day, I’ve been pushing through that since I hit Europe. I’ve been on the road for a month at this point and it’s taken it’s toll on me. My legs, knees, ankles, and lower back are constantly sore from walking 10’s of miles everyday. They need some down time. I’m going to try and take it easy again.
Next post I really do make it to the Colloseum and the Roman Form. As a bonus, I plan on complaining further about the horrible food I’ve experienced here in Rome. Stay tuned.