Micro states of Europe travel blog

The floor area of the Colosseum

The imperial forum from the Palatine Hill

Any coins for the Trevi Fountain?

The Spanish Steps

Probably a decent sleep, finally rising by 0545. Tended to the computer to get yesterday's brief day up on the new blog site. The pix seem quite small but it will have to do for this trip.

After ablutions, the wait until 0730 brekkie, each of us dealing with stuff. Will wear shorts today for the Colosseum and Forum tours and switch to long pants for the Vatican tour manana. I haven't got knee length shorts with me and would still feel that is a bit disrespectful in any event.

Not much sense of the group yet. Stan from Chicago may be a bit bombastic. He's done some 15 Adventures-Abroad ["A-B"] tours, the two sisters Judy and 'larger than Judy' have done about a dozen. Both have traveled with Peter before. He is more of a facilitator than a guide as we will have local guide here, there and everywhere it seems. The group is by and large older with a family of four from Plano, Texas involving two sisters plus daughters for one of them. Madame Raccoon had apparently fallen in the night in Norway recently. She's a bit yappy but harmless. Big Bess is going to be a slow walker. The constraints of a group tour will be felt soon enough with its all too leisurely pace.

The blog site will take getting used to with its oddities. You can't, for example, have in a draft the name of the city where you are staying. Why not? Grrr.

Down for 0730 brekkie. It was a very decent spread of breads, fruit, cold cuts and hot items. The coffee machines leave a bit to be desired. My first attempt at a capuccino morphed into an espresso; the second, lukewarm. I kidded Lou that he even took his 'nuclear codes' bag with him getting brekkie items.

Met our local guide at 0830 but delayed 15M for the microphones to arrive. Our guide is an earnest fellow but evidently loves to talk about Roman history. He would probably be fun to have a beer with [or maybe he's more the Aperol Spritz type].

We walked to the Colosseum which was not that far away. One of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World is actually named after a colossal statue of Nero that the madman placed in the area. Another 15M waiting for some problem with the group ticket we were associated with. Not a good start, A-B!

You can't but enjoy the Colosseum, even if you just saw it seven months ago. The crowds were large but the microphones were an ideal solution. Big Bess, Yappy Stan and another took [the Raccoon?] took the elevator up. It's the first full day of the tour and already age is showing. Peter described the tour yesterday as 'the amazing race' re its pace. God, will they ever slow things down. I think I got better pix today which is a bonus.

Over to the Palatine Hill for an overview of the ancient imperial Forum. The heat of the day was evident but something to grin and bear it. Lots of sit downs by the usual suspects, Yappy Stan wanting to know where he could buy water [it is available from many springs but the best water in Italy is not good enough for him], the Raccoon always on the lookout for a loo.

We stopped for lunch in the Jewish Quarter, a new sector for me. Lou and I managed to quickly escape the group, grabbing a bite at Ba'Ghetto. We both just had the endive and anchovies salad with a beer [plus bread and water]. Big Bess was back last and late. Not surprised, you say?

Over to the Piazza Navona for a nice square with two fountains, one depicting four rivers from four continents. Obelisks reign supreme in many of the squares but when you have Egypt as a province of the Roman Empire you take what you needed.

An ice cream break at St Crispin's was next. The ginger and cinnamon was divine, helping one forget the heat and the crowds.

I even think I got better shots of the Pantheon the second time around. Since it is a basilica, muscle shirts and the like were a no no, security providing some respect for Agrippa's great structure [though what is here today was rebuilt by Hadrian].

Meandered to the Trevi Fountain. It was very busy but you could readily wiggle your way toward the viewing areas. The blue sky will help oodles with the pix.

People drifted away for various reasons, 7 or 8 of us going with Sergio and Paul to the Spanish Steps at the end of the tour. When the guides said they were returning to the hotel, everyone else left; pansies. Stayed to take some pix of--and then climb--the Spanish Steps. The map readily showed the way home, stopping for a small water so I would have a water bottle to fill manana at a fountain [unlike Yappy Stan].

Lou was back in the room with 4 cans of beer of which I ably assisted in helping him get rid of two of them before a much needed shower. Some computer time filled the day until 1830 meeting re the tour. Pretty much what was expected. It is only the third time this tour is being run, the first by Peter. The Raccoon was carping about having to tote her bag to the train station. It is a 10M walk but undoubtedly sizing up the group Peter said 15M.

Off to La Matricinia for dinner. It was a bit more high end dining than last night. Several appetizer platters to start [mozzarella, prosciutto ham, fried zucchini (or aubergine if you please) and fried sardines]. Opted for the scallops with asparagus for a lighter repast. The mandarin sorbet was not as nice as last night's colder effort.

Back to the room for some news, blogging and thinking about the morning after brekkie. Party animal status nearly there with a 2230 or so bed.

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