A Travellerspoint blog

Explorers we be!

Land ho!

sunny 77 °F

May 18th, 2012

It's a voyage we seek, across the sea, to explore the isles off the Italian coast. 

Day 8 of our honeymoon adventure, and today Nicole has booked us seats on the Tritone to take us out into the Mediterranean Sea and to the Isle of Capri. Our hostel campground has its own beach that will service as our port of departure. It is not a sandy beach but rather, a rock out cropping.  The beach is about a quarter the size of a football field, relatively flat with fissures and cracks, and is about 8 feet above the surface of the water. I noticed that there was not a proper dock or place for a boat to pull up to, so I was curious how we would be collected. On the shore with us were two German couples in their early 60s and a young Australian couple. The boat came into view around an outcropping of the shore. It's a medium sized craft, which I'm sure could hold about 40 people. The boat backed into shore and dropped a gangplank of its stern to the rock. The crew rushed over the plank, secured the boat and hastily motioned us to board. Hastily because the boat was rocking and it seemed difficult to maintain a solid crossing for long.  The plank had railings and was made of some light and sturdy metal for those that might picture us walking across a board :). I was pretty excited because there were only 8 of us on the boat, with tons of room to stretch out.  The captain, a small, early 50s Italian man, with a sailor's swagger, came back to talk with us.  He lifted his shades and with a very suave delivery stated, "Ciao." The English equivalent in the way he said it would have been similar to ,"Hey baby." haha, he had us cracked up. We pulled into another port very soon after and I realized that of course they would fill the boat for tours. A massive group of older German tourists boarded and stole away any chance for leisure seating. For the boat ride out,the captain continually would sit down next to some lady, very close mind you, and proceed to be the smoothest operator with his cool, "Ciao." I never found him to be awkward or creepy.  Just suave and funny. 

Soon we were approaching Capri. It's a large island that holds two different towns. The town of Capri and Ana Capri. The boat took us around the coast line on our way to the back side of the island and the smaller of two marinas that serve as entry to the town of Capri.  Our destination was the marina piccolo. The coastal view is simply spectacular! The island is much like the mainland coast with a zig zag jagged form. As we made our way closer and closer to landing, a feeling began creep into my being.  I do not now if it is because I am currently reading the Count of Monte Cristo or not, but I can't help but feel like an explorer or pirate circling an island for port. It's as if I was immediately transported to some childhood fantasy of being aboard pirate ship and traveling the seas. The scenery was so exotic, the water so beautiful, that the feeling couldn't help but make me giddy. We landed in the identical fashion as we had been picked up. After a rushed disembarkment, the boat pulled away with a promise to return in five hours time. We were immediately stunned at the small cove beach we had landed on.  The water with its brilliant blue, and pebble beach, and rocky formations make you feel as if you just landed on a real life treasure map. We kicked our shoes off and waded in the sea, followed by a little sun bathing.  It was so awesome because the rest of the group had already gone to town, and left us the beach nearly to ourselves. We just soaked it all in!

Soon we thought we had better begin the hike to town. See, the marina is at sea level, but the town is up, up, up many stairs to where the island is flatter. The hike itself wouldn't have been so bad, except we kept catching drafts of sewage. This is not pleasant when you are already sucking wind. Another discomfort was that we hadn't time for breakfast, nor had we packed any water. It was becoming common for us to just find a grocery store when we needed something. However, the hike was at least half a mile up stairs and the weather was nice and hot. Upon reaching town our first priority was something to eat and drink! Nicole bought an iced coffee, of which she enjoyed so thoroughly that she told me so about every 10 steps. We searched for a grocery store in vain for half an hour. By this time we had found a hiking trail that led along the edge of the island.  Though we were thirsty, and I was at a stage 9 hunger danger, we took the trail not knowing how long it was or where it ended. I'm so glad we took it.  The views down the mountain to the water and small islands around were magnificent. We hiked along for an hour soaking it all up.  The trail was continually down hill, so it was easy and pleasant.  It was also gradually downhill. You can imagine, when we reached the ascent, we were shocked to see it was up, and then up, and then up.  There was nothing gradual about it.  Just stairs as far as I could see. At stage 10 hunger danger, and Sahara desert thirst, we were tired and getting grumpy. Up and around a corner, more stairs. Another corner, more stairs. Finally, we reached level ground all sweaty and disheveled. (Cue angelic music) There before us, in all it's glory, was a grocery store! We had a much appreciated picnic with chocolate milk, water, coke, bread, cheese and a meat that tasted like jerky. Ah, so much better. After, we really did not do much else except find our way back to the marina, while window shopping along the way.  We had some time at the marina before the boat came, so we just sat looking at the water.  I was sitting with my arms behind me to prop myself up.  All of the sudden I felt something on my hand and jerked it away.  There behind me was a lizard of some kind.  Nicole and I sat and watched him crawl right up to us and then right into Nicole's open bag! He was our little buddy for about 10 minutes. The boat came and took us away. On the way around the rest of the island,we passed under an arch of rock that is said to bring luck if you kiss while you pass through it.  Heck yes we kissed. 

Back on the mainland, Nicole took a nap and I journaled before we went into Sorrento for our last dinner. I would describe the cannelloni and the calzone we ate, but they pale in comparison to the Bruschetteria's prowess in flavor. We were so exhausted from the day's sun, hiking, and exploration, that we walked home straight after dinner, packed for the morning, and went to bed.

Posted by hangtime41 10:18 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

These roads are twisty, yup.

Amalfi coast exploration-ah

sunny 70 °F

May 17th, 2012

Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast is Nicole's portion of the trip. She chose the spot and is in charge of the things we do during the day. Today she wants me up at 8am and I am not happy about it! I was so obstinate that Nicole had to come rip the sheets off my happy warm body. It was fun throwing a fit since I'm usually the morning person and she, well, she is not. Today we are going along the coast to Positano and then Amalfi. We caught a bus down the "dangerous" road to the train station. From here we got in line for the next bus to Positano. We met a couple from Florida, originally from Seattle, who had met each other while living in Germany. I would say neither were much over 60. While we were waiting for the bus they were able to explain the mystery of the yellow lemon zing juice that we had sampled in Rome. It is called Limoncello. Apparently since lemons are to this part of Italy as oranges are to Florida, this drink is made with lemons, sugar and vodka. Yes I said it, vodka. Oh the bus is here. All aboard!

The road to Positano is positively scary. The road, barely 2 buses wide, runs along the cliff like coast line of south western Italy. The road winds and snakes mere inches from the cliff edge. In those big bus windows, you can't even see the 3 foot high guard wall and it looks like you are hanging out over the edge to the rocky ocean below. The road is so windy that I can only remember one portion that would be considered a straight away. The bus dropped us off on top of the town and drove away. When I say on top of the town, I literally mean that we could see the whole town below us, built on the snake like road that wound its way down to the city center. Time for walking yet again! Halfway down I could already tell that I didn't want to be here long. The scenery is majestic and exquisite, but the shopping and food are astronomically high. A sweat shirt in Rome for 15 euro costs 55 here. Also there are no flat areas, no true town center. Everything is based on the road and no where else. The reason for this is that this town is built upon the cliff face. There really is no other way for it to be built. Why anyone would build in a such a difficult place to begin with escapes me. It was also very windy and cold here. We had a little breakfast, walked around a bit,then caught the internal town bus back up to the top of the hill. From here we caught the bus to Amalfi.  There was some foreign lady on the bus sitting in front of us that was taking pictures every two seconds. When I say every two seconds I really mean every two seconds, for the entire bus ride. "oh look a plant, click. Oh look, the water, click. Oh look, we're going through a dark tunnel and I can't see anything, click." You may think I'm exaggerating, but her camera was clicking so often and repetitively that it put me right to sleep, windy road and all.  

Amalfi is much more agreeable. The streets are flatter and there are plenty more places to look and shop. We saw the church and stopped for a healthy lunch. Gelato. The most expensive gelato yet! But hey, it was lunch after all.  We meandered through the market and found a little tiny bottle of Limoncello in a glass container shaped like a cello. So of course we bought one. And then we saw Mellencello and Creamcello. So we bought those too! This was the extent of our visit to Amalfi. We needed to catch the bus back, and went to wait for it. Another American couple who had just arrived, told us the ferry was faster and had a great view of the coast.  Nicole begged me to get ferry tickets, so of course we did, even though they were expensive and we had already paid for the bus. It was well worth it. The Italian coast is a stunning mixture of bare faced crags and cliff ravines covered in lush foliage. It juts out sharply and the recedes, in and out. it would be like a zig zag, but highly irregular and varying sizes of zigs and zags. We even commented that a few parts looked similar to Hawaii. And the water, oh the water. It's turquoise and deep pure blue depending on the depths. It's mesmerizing.  Coming towards Sorrento from the water, I hadn't realized how far up the cliffs the town sat. In the cliffs are carved arches and stairways, probably from ages past. I would say that the ferry trip was worth it if only to have this view of our little town. We disembarked and made the climb to the town piazza. Today was a day of massive money spending, so we decided to shop at the local market for a picnic dinner at our cabin. Though it was still light out, and there is always more to see, we were exhausted from the day and stayed at the campground the remainder of the evening. 

Posted by hangtime41 10:40 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

On to Sorrento!

We will be back Roma.

sunny 73 °F

May 16th, 2012

It is the morning of another day of travel. Our plan today is to catch a train to Naples and then take a ferry to Sorrento. I'm not too excited about waking up even though it is only 8:30. I'm pretty sure the walls here are made of paper or else people were purposely trying to yell through our window the whole night. Last night we were treated to a good old fashioned lover's quarrel that lasted at least a half hour, at 3 in the morning. Nicole claims she slept through the whole thing. Lucky her. At 9:30, our temporary landlady, Katarina, showed up to start cleaning the room. We were not quite ready so she left to the market to pass some time. We packed it all up and then went to find Katarina to say arrivederci and thank her for the apartment. The weather today is fantastic. 9:30 and at least 70 and sunny. A nice little surprise for us as we walked the mile to the train station. We stumbled upon an excavation site in progress, right in the middle of nowhere! The weather worn brickwork of the Romans runs all through Rome in the form of walls and ruins of walls. It would be difficult not to see a portion of it at least every city block. These men were uncovering a white limestone arch connecting two sections of the ancient barriers. The arch had numerous inscriptions on it. I imagined it to be a gate to a main thoroughfare to the heart of Rome! We found our train without a fuss and began our southerly trek. The only exciting thing about the train ride was a married couple, Germans, with their shoes off and feet up on the seats. The train stopped and we found ourselves in the trashy city known as Naples with a decision to make. 

To take the train or to take the ferry? The train offers a speedier and cheaper trip, though much less full of sites. The ferry, more expensive, would command a view of the coast. We of course chose the ferry. Yes mom, I know you're shocked I chose the more expensive route, but my wifey really wanted to. We walked out of the train station and immediately realized we could not get out of Naples soon enough. The feeling in the city is dirt. I'm not sure that "dirt" is technically a feeling, but I'm sticking with it. The buildings are both filthy and covered with graffiti. It's as if someone sneezed on everything and then tried to wipe it away with dirty hands.  You can see mounds of trash in almost every direction, literally, right along the street. El yucko.  Not the visage of Italy we were going for. The bus took us to a nearby airport where we switched buses. We did not know we would have to switch buses, because the Internet directions we were following did not tell us. When you are there in a city you do not know or like, little hiccups like this put you on edge. We were now double watchful for our next stop. At one point we jumped up to get off and the bus driver promptly shut the door on us before we could. I think he took pity on us poor tourists and was doing what he could to get us where we needed to go. The  bus took us to the right spot at the pier where we jumped off. Another hiccup was to be met here. When we asked for tickets to Sorrento, we were told that the water was too rough and ferries were not leaving for Sorrento anymore that day. Great, more time in the Dirt Land. We went back up to the bus stop which was inconveniently right on some road construction. Three lanes were merging to about one and a half. This caused our bus to arrive very slowly. It would not have been a problem in the states, but people over here are selfish drivers. Everyone is jockeying for position while trying to avoid getting squished like bugs by the buses. Speaking of bugs, the gnats, aka people on motorcycles, are winding their way through the cars, along the curb, and in some cases up on the sidewalk! Put those skills together with jam packed traffic in your mind and let the chaos begin. Finally we made it back to the train station, found our train, and made it to Sorrento. 

After only walking for 50 feet or so, we realized the pace life here is much slower, and we are ready for that. Quaint and clean, Sorrento lies on the western coast of Italy. If Rome feels ancient and awe inspiring, Sorrento feels like a cultural haven of relaxation and beauty. Our hostel is 2 miles from the train station. Since we are professional walkers, we began the march. The road winds along the coast up and up to the campground hostel.  (*Disclaimer* Michelle is not allowed to read the next several dangerous sentences.) The road up has a sidewalk for half our walk, and no sidewalk for the other half. This might seem okay except the road is literally the width of two buses. There is nowhere to escape on the right side of the road or the left as each side is either a drop off to certain death or a wall of rock 20 feet high respectively. Also, the road is extremely windy (wine-dee) which makes it difficult to see around each bend. So here we are, walking along and just hoping that the Italians are paying attention around every curve. We had a few hair raising moments, especially when a bus went by, but the drivers are used to people on foot and we made it just fine. (I told you not to read that Michelle. You can stop wringing your hands, we are safe :) ) The hostel itself is spread over 20 or 30 acres of forested land on a mountain directly on the coast. Our cabin, called pegasus, overlooks the Mediterranean Ocean and has a breathtaking view of Sorrento.  We will be sure to show pictures. By this time it was about 5 o'clock so we were ready to drop our things off and eat! Down the hill we went. Sorrento is so quaint. We stopped at nearly every little shop along the way. From the main street we found a side street teeming with life and commerce. Of course there were several restaurants along this main road, but one thing I've learned, if you are traveling in Italy, do not bother with the popular restaurants. Go in search of a mom and pop place, something off the well beaten path.  We found an awesome little place down an ally and sat to eat. I ordered my meal in Italian, which I believe truly impressed Nicole. I ordered gnocchi verdi and a pizza gigino. Gnocchi is a potato based, pasta like meal. I would describe the texture as like cheese, in the shape of too big jellybeans. It is a filling and amazing dish.  We split it and then split the pizza. Nicole looked like a super model the whole night and I couldn't help but randomly kiss her, my wife, on our honeymoon, eating authentic food in Italy! The rest of the night was passed with super fun shopping along the shops and street vendors. Nicole found an awesome scarf for only 3 euro. Something I forgot to mention was that the prices for the same items in Rome were much less here in Sorrento. We strolled along the Italian street lamp lit alleyways and picturesque streets (eating our most massive, most delicious, and most indulgent amount of gelato yet) until we were ready to head "home".  

P.S. as I was reading this over, I turned to Nicole and told her "I don't even like READING about Naples. That's how much I don't like it." She looked back at me with her serious face and said, "I'm SO glad we don't have to back there" :)

Posted by hangtime41 10:38 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

What day is it?

We're in Rome! Boo ya.

sunny 74 °F

May 15th, 2012

Wake up at 3. Sleep in. Wake up at 3. Sleep in. I think my internal clock is officially broken. Thankfully today was a sleep in day. We plan to walk around Rome today to see what we can see. We ran to a coffee shop for a cappuccino for Nicole, then next door to a pizzeria for a potato and herb slice of pizza with complimentary Internet use. After, we ran into Conad, a grocery store, to pick up a few supplies for the day. Shopping at the grocery store always makes me happy because it means we are saving money on the day. Casey and I travelled much cheaper than Nicole and I do. Nicole has rich tastes :) actually the truth is, I can hardly control myself not getting her everything she can possibly want. Anyway, we were able to buy enough groceries and drinks to make a nice little lunch that we could pack around with us. After our lunch was ready to go, so were we!

For this trip, I bought Nicole a pedometer. Today is the first day we remembered to use it.  More on that later. Our plan is to head to the coliseum and then see where the streets take us, maybe do some shopping for the folks back home. The weather is warmer today than it was yesterday, so I made sure to wear sunscreen, as my face is getting a lot of sun. We hooked around the coliseum, which by the way is still AWESOME, made our way around Constantine's arch (built by emperor Constantine after he won a battle of which he was severely outmanned.  He had a vision that if he showed the cross and supported Christianity that he would win the war. He won, and lifted the law against Christianity) and then stopped by a vendor that I knew had good prices on shirts. I bought a shirt for myself and we decided to head towards the Piazza del Poppolo. As we were walking, enjoying each others company, we, on a whim, decided to take a side road that veered towards the Forum. The Forum was the ancient place of commerce and law making in the beginning of Rome. So glad we made this choice! We came upon the backside viewing of the Forum. Sprawled below us were the ruins scattered over a massive area. It is unfathomable to imagine the roofs that would have been supported by all the pillars. Nicole was completely astounded that such an ancient people could build these monolithic structures out of stone! From here, we climbed some stairs that led us to a square pull of ancient statues and a fountain. This square led us to a museum and to a height that gave a majestic view stretching from the coliseum and up the road nearly a mile. Tip to traveling. We almost did not take this side road.  If you have a whim to go somewhere, do it, every time. We would have missed out on some of our most favorite sites. 

By this time it was a good idea to get off our feet and eat a little something. Just a few little sandwiches that we had made. Properly sated, we again resumed our course towards the Piazza. Since we were on a quest to find gifts for people, we stopped at many shops and street vendors. A half mile up the road we found an entire street full of vendors.  They sell everything here. From color paintings of the coliseum, to pictures of Marylin Monroe. We browsed and found some great gifts for Nicole's family. Sorry Ashley and Michelle, that's all the info you get :). This side street led us straight to the Fountain Di Trevi. I could never get tired of seeing it.  It's such a light and happy feeling, mixed with awe. From here we got back on the main path and headed again for the Piazza. Not long after we came upon a smaller piazza with an obelisk. It must have been the patron obelisk for making out, cuz there were people unashamedly making out like there was no tomorrow in several spots. I took pictures, hahah. I told Nicole we should make out like that but she said no. For some reason, when I think of Rome, I only think of the coliseum, the palantine hill, and the fountain. But Rome is so much more.  There is history to be found around every turn, in every part of the city. For example, as were walking we came upon an old building that said bascilica on it.  So we headed in. It was the most ornate, old church I've ever seen.  If I didn't know better I would have thought we were stumbling in on the Sistine chapel! The ceiling was covered in old art. Marble columns rose in every direction.  Statues, paintings, arches in every line of site. I literally had to close my mouth, with conscious effort, three times. It was easily more elaborate than all the Louvre in Paris. Wow! That is only the beginning! On our walk we found 2 more churches just like it, with different layouts and types of decor. Absolutely amazing! To give you a reference of distance, by this time the pedometer showed that we had walked 8 miles. Our feet were definitely getting achy. We made it to the Piazza del Poppolo and sat on a fountain with lions shooting water out their mouths. A little Indian guy trying to sell roses to everyone and their dog walked up and put roses in Nicole's hand before she knew what happened.  From here he began to tell us it was gift in the happiest and most polite manner (reenactments upon request). He complimented Nicole about 20 times. All the while I knew it would come to a point where he would ask for money.  Nicole tried to hand him the flowers several times but he would not take them, all the while happily babbling compliments. Well, I'm stubborn and knew he wanted money, but would not give him anything.  His hand went up, literally 3 inches from my nose and he said, money for the flowers. I said, nope and Nicole finally was able to make him take the flowers.  His demeanor went from happy to sinister. It was quite a frightening switch.  These Indian guys are just about every fifty paces no matter where you are in Rome.  Would you like a flower sir? Would you like a scarf sir? Would you like a splat ball that squishes on the wall sir? Very annoying little men.

Being very footsore, we decided it was time to head towards our new most favorite restaurant in the world.  The Bruschetteria, the same restaurant from last night. Along the way we found my second favorite fountain in Rome.  I do not know what it was called, but it was marble carving of a sunken boat with water spilling off the bow and out the sides. "What a cool statue! No! Go away little man" As we made our closer to the restaurant we got more and more excited! I can't explain to you how amazing this place is. First, the staff is all Italian, very nice guys, that all happen to be at least tri lingual, from what I was able to gather. With these skills, the restaurant is inviting to several cultures. Then, in combination with excellent service and fabulous fare, you will become a returning patron for life! For our meal they brought out a white wine apertif. This was followed by bruschetta and our main dish. I had fettuccine alfredo, and Nicole tried another type of pizza. Salami something or other. Again, sooooo good! We decided to sit around for a while and they brought us out a complimentary dessert drink. We had no idea what it was. It was in a miniature wine glass. The color was as if someone had blended a lemon. There were small ice cubes in it denoting it must always be served chilled. So, of course we took a sip. ZINNNG!! It hits your tongue cold and sweet like sugary lemon juice. As it rolls back in your mouth the tartness will shock you and then somehow it ends warm and tingly in the back of your throat. The texture is like cold syrup.  Not exactly as thick but not thin like wine or water.  If we were rich, I would ship some home, but alas, we cannot. Thoroughly satisfied, we walked all the way back to the apartment for our last night. Final count on the pedometer, 15 miles walked!

Posted by hangtime41 10:33 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

May the 14th


sunny 76 °F

May 14th, 2012

Three days ago we woke up at 3:00am West Coast time.  Today, we are walking up 8 hours ahead of West Coast time at 3:30am local time. Sound horribly confusing? Yeah, my body is saying the same. But it is worth it because today is Italy day! We will be landing in Rome around 9:30am. David was up to take us, and I was already sad as we walked to the car. It really has been such a pleasure to be with these people in such a quaint and relaxing place.  David dropped us off with a fond farewell and we made our way through the airport to our flight.  As we were getting close to Rome, Nicole looked out the windows and said she could definitely tell we were over Italy. You can see the coast in the distance, vineyards everywhere, and orange rooftops. It does have a different feel to it.  When we landed we went straight to catch a shuttle to the area of Rome where our apartment is. I've said this before, but it warrants saying again. Drivers in Rome are crazy.  You know how we pretty much stay in the lines, stop for pedestrians and obey speed limits? Yeah, the lines here or like guidelines or suggestions.  If you are a pedestrian they won't hit you, but will go inches behind or before you. And they must go through brakes like Casey goes through ice cream with how fast they stop and start.  Our shuttle dropped us off of Rome Termini (it's the train station and major bus stop) and we walked the remaining 15 minutes to our apartment.  Katarina, the lady we are renting from texted me and told me she won't be able to meet us for an hour and half.  So Nicole and I decided to walk around and get used to the area, maybe find something to eat or a grocery store. As we poke our head in various places, the language barrier smacks you right in the face. We are staying in a very local part of Rome. I have not seen anyone that even remotely resembles a tourist other than us. I find all those same fears that I had before in France of trying to speak the language. No matter how much I practiced before hand, or how many words or phrases learned, it is still hard to find the guts to actually use the language. It is a very strange thing that is hard to describe without actually the reader having actually experienced it themselves. It's a profound isolation to be around so many people and feel like you can't communicate. We finally stopped for some pizza and the lady new some English. I took advantage of that by asking her how to introduce yourself or what to say when you enter a shop. She seemed happy to help. 

Katarina met us at the apartment just after we got there. She is probably in her mid 30s, very good English and extremely nice.  Se greeted us with a slide and a handshake and took us up. You see, unlike the last trip I took where Casey and I pretty much stayed ion hostels, Nicole and I are renting an apartment in the aforementioned (yes, I just used aforementioned) local part of town.  So all around the square we are in are shuttered Italian windows with laundry hanging out to dry! The apartment is awesome! It looks more like someone's home than a rental place. We have our none large bedroom, a bathroom with toilet, sink, shower and washer, and a full kitchen! We will show you pictures. Katarina wished is a good trip and we decided to take a nap. Yes I know we are in Rome, but the nap was vital,  it helped us enjoy a very very fun rest of the day. 

About 4pm we left our new home and walked toward the center of Rome. We are only 25 minutes walk to the Coliseum. Before we made it there, I took Nicole in for some gelato. Do you know how much a cat likes catnip? That's how much Nicole likes gelato! She got some chocolate fudge browny nut thing that brought cries of delight with each spoonful. But that isn't even the best part.  Let me paint the picture for you.  The weather is mid 70s with a hot italian sun. We are walking down the middle of Rome, eating gelato, on our Honeymoon, and up looms the coliseum. Massive in between the building in the area! Does it get any better? Nicole couldn't choose between pictures, gelato, or holding my hand. We walked all the way around the huge monument to the entrance. Here we were met by a tour company that offered us the last tour of the day.  We were all for it! We met some people from San Francisco just before the tour started. This tour was 100% better than the last tour I took. Our roman guide, Isabella, had a fire and passion for the history of this city. She made our tour so amazing and so full of info, and I am grateful we got her. Some things I learned.  The Coliseum is a nickname and the real name is the Flavian Amphitheather, built by the ruling Flavian family. Most of the damage caused to the coliseum was not by the earthquakes, but rather by people over the centuries stripped it of its marble and iron. Did you know that the coliseum had a skin of marble? The whole thing! And that the iron pins used to the hold blocks together were taken out in several places. This place used to be the ritz, literally. What we see now is such a paltry  vision of the splendor.  Construction was started 72 A.D. and finished in 80A.D.  Only 8 years! There is a ton more to tell!

After the tour we went on the Palestine hill weigh a Canadian tour guide. He wasn't very good in my opinion. Then we walked up toward the Fountain di Trevi. I'd never been in the daylight and it was really really cool. Nicole wants to take about a million pictures of us. The Indian (from India) guys were there offering to take our picture, but little do they know, that I know, as soon as they take the picture, they won't give our camera back until we pay five euro. I didn't want to go to jail for smashing a little man. We ran into the family from San Francisco again here and we each took each others picture.  It was nice go see someone we "knew". By this time we were starving and walked up to a little hole in the wall Italian run restaurant. Oh. My. Goodness. Was that food ever the best thing I've ever had. Italian bruschetta, pesto and chicken! The food here is so much lighter, with much more flavor. It is the best!  We then went for another million pictures in the dark to the Fountain di Trevi and decided to make our way home.

In the metro station we met a D.C. born, now Italian resident who helped us get the right direction. When we disembarked, we had to up the escalators to get back to ground level. However, instead of going up the up escalator, I thought it would be fun to run up the down escalator. However, this escalator just happens to be 3 times longer than most. I made it up just fine and Nicole followed me.  She, however made it to just about the top and then got really tired. She was practically running in place. "Stephen! I can't make it!" pant pant huff puff! She was running out of steam, slower and slower. And then, I'm pretty sure fear kicked in for her as she realized she might not make it.  With many a shriek and puff she finally made it up! She was panting like she'd just escaped the jaws of death. I tried my hardest not to laugh, but sometimes I'm a bad husband. :) it was sure a memory!

Posted by hangtime41 13:02 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

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