Sunday, May 01, 2011

When in Rome Part Two

We had no problem getting up on Monday morning as the other people staying in our room decided that 6am was a good time to start loudly getting ready for their day. We did manage to get breakfast put on by the hostel at the bar down stairs. It was a really good spread and included espresso. After breakfast we walked to the Colosseum which was a bit of a distance but after the previous day it felt like it was just down the street. We went looking for the entrance and started walking anticlockwise around it, which turned out to be the wrong way. After about 15 minutes we found the entrance although I was slightly concerned and thought we might have to stop for bread and water at some stage. The one good thing about the annoying girls waking us up so early was that we were early enough to avoid most of the crowds. Once we got in we noticed that the suggested travel route is to take you once around each level but as Amber and I tried to get away from some particularly annoying American tourists we decided on our own route and so walked around the whole thing 3 or 4 times.

The following photo is a model to show how the stage area operated back in the day, the stage actually had 2 floors built underneath it and that is what you can see in the photos. The floors underneath the stage were used to house the slaves, the animals and the mechanics of the the lifts. The stage was built with trapdoors where, during the performance certain things would pop up and the contestant would have to deal with them before moving on. Certain things included, animals, other fighters or obstacles. If you can imagine how pissed off a lion would be getting stuck in one of the lifts then hoisted, probably not very gently, to the stage, then set loose on a guy who maybe was lucky enough to have a sword, then you can get that the fighter would have been very lucky to survive the performance. Many bones of animals have been excavated from the site including Panthers and Griffons. Which do exist. They are a family of Vulture, apparently. Amber and I were thinking of a different kind a Griffon and for a while thought the guy who wrote the fact board at the Colosseum was a bit soft in the head, but Griffons do exists, Google told me so.

This is taken at the ground floor

In the very background you can see that there is a stage over part of the ruins. This is a new structure and was done so that plays could be performed here. Also scarily enough we discovered that that really famous pope guy would visit the Colosseum on Good Friday as part of the Easter Celebrations, as a custom Mass is performed here every year.

There is also major Restoration going on in with the main structure of the Colosseum. There is a prophecy that goes:

This was said by the Venerable Bede in the 8th century A.D and now they hope to have the restoration complete by the end of the Third Millennium.

Right next to the Colosseum is the Arc di Constantini, which I kept referring to as the Arc di Triomphe, mainly because it looks like they totally ripped it off from France... See?

Our next stop was the Palatino. Which, funnily enough is located on Palatine Hill. This is thought to be one of the original places people settled in Rome and therefore is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It also had some really good viewpoints of other parts of the city. It is huge and we could have spent an entire day here but after awhile all the ruiny bits start to look the same and there were a lot of kids on a field trip visitng at the same time as us, so after awhile we had to escape or be locked up for committing touristicide (the act of killing or maiming tourists that misbehave in ways that give all tourists a bad name).

This is Rome's version of One Tree Hill

This is a photo of the Colosseum from Palatine Hill

This is taken from a lookout point

On the way to our next stop we saw a man making amazing flowers and animals out of vegetables; carrots, beetroot and parsnips. We were pretty impressed so we took some photos.

Our next stop was a mammoth white building that had very impressive statues on the roof, Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II. Amber had read somewhere that she thought we could get on the roof as it had a good view of Rome. There were a lot of guards around the place and Amber and I thought it might be some kind of political building, but after a bit of looking around we figured out it is a monument to honor the first king of Unified Italy and then in 1921 there was a tomb added to the building and the unknown solider was buried there. As such, big men with even bigger automatic guns flank the monument and unlike those who stand guard outside Buckingham Place, tourists can not approach them and get their photo taken, there is another man with a gun who stands at the bottom of the stairs to prevent this from happening. Amber and I, coming from NZ, generally give anybody who is armed a wide birth anyway, so we were not even thinking about approaching the ARMED guards, but we did overhear an American women saying that she was going to go up there so she could get her picture taken with them.

This next one is of the King the monument is dedicated to

These were taken of the statues on the roof. I was pretty keen to try to climb onto the horses and pretend to ride them but Amber reminded me about all the guards and then mentioned that we would start an 'International Incident'. Something that we joke about a lot, like when you see one of those golf carts unattended at the airport and you just want to take it for a ride, but because it is in an airport you know you won't just get arrested and told off, you will get a full body-cavity search and tortured until you tell them the location of the terrorist cell you belong to. So anyway I did not get ride a horsey :( Shame it would have made for a killer photo!

Anyway next we went and found some shops and some lunch where another lovely Italian man sorta tried to pick me up (interjection from Amber - no sorta about it, again with the phone number and the meeting him after work!). And then we went for a walk (surprise, surprise) to this place that looked pretty impressive on the map and we thought we should go and see what it was. It turned out to be another really big building with some guards. Outside though was another water feature and as people were climbing on this one and not getting told off, we decided that when in Rome....

And that brings us to the end of the second day. Coming up next, The Shambles visit the Vatican.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and still it gets older