We arrive to Rome and depart the bus to do a short walk to a supplied dinner, my favourite, pizza. However after eating nothing but pizza & paninis, my body was not happy with my oil : vegetable ratio. So opting to be, for the first time in my life, healthy I only ate the bread and tomatoes. I did try a very small slice of pizza just to know what it was like and it was ok. A lot of people on the tour are unimpressed with the supplied dinners, the optional extra ones are quite nice or different but it seems that the free meals have a lot to be desired. It isn’t so much the food is terrible, but we don’t want to waste one of our few meals in a country on sub-par food.
The original plan was to then do the walking tour and finally to the hotel, but because this is a new hotel (opened March this year) and not being able to find it, the plan was changed to hotel first then tour. So when we arrived at the hotel (which was nice but still not what I’m use to) SP and I decided to have a half an hour nap. I set an alarm on my iPad and promptly went to sleep. I awake to see getting ready to leave, confused as the alarm hasn’t gone off, I roll over and see that we have actually slept for one hour thirty. The alarm was set for the wrong day and we had missed the walking tour!
Trying to take advantage of the situation, we decided to sleep and catch up on the much needed rest. Problem was Colin was coughing his lungs up and it is very difficult to sleep under those conditions. Every 15 minutes of light snoring, he would start uncontrollably coughing until he need to throw up, going into the bathroom and doing so. Not only was all this commotion distracting enough, he would also turn the lights on in the bathroom, and once in the entire apartment. I eventually got to sleep after 11, but the tour returned after midnight so I still got a bit more sleep by missing it.
The next day is what they call a ‘free day’, meaning you can do whatever you feel like. The buffet breakfast was the best we have had so far, having both bacon and eggs. In the morning was an optional extra ‘Imperial Tour’ which was a tour of the Colosseum and the surrounded areas. Having always thought the Romans were awesome, I signed up for the tour. I learnt a lot about Rome stuff and took some great pictures. Before long, the tour was over and it was up to us to decide what we wanted to do.
Now it’s important to note that the couple of days we are in Rome are the hottest days off the year, approaching 40 degrees. So hopping from shady tree to shady building, we navigated to an Italian restaurant for what we hopped was an authentic meal. The meal was nice but not great, but what we did get was genuine Italian service. That meant spending ages sitting around doing nothing until someone took our order (we were the only people there), watching our smoothies sit on the counter for five minutes while the hostess runs down the street to buy straws but at the end being all given a free shot of Italian alcohol (and I got two as someone didn’t want theirs).
The one sight I really did want to see was the bone church, a crypt/prayer room made out of human bones. Having missed the crypts in France, I really wanted to see if it was eerie as I had imagined. We made our way there by metro and found the very unassuming building of the ‘cappuccino’ monks, in striking contrast from all the other church and chapels in Rome. We get inside, the girls having to use their purchased sarongs to cover themselves up. The first part is artefacts and exhibits about the history of this old order, but the group was keen to see bones.
When we got to the tombs, it was a very jarring sight to behold. It has been described at a aesthetically pleasing joke about death and resurrection. Whats annoying is it is so difficult to explain yet photos weren’t allowed so I can’t show it either. Essentially there were 4 or 5 ‘rooms’ that had full skeletons in poses depicting certain things and then the rest of the room decorated in patterns and symbols made entirely of human remains. For instance there was a about 30 human jaws in a line with knuckle bones in the centre. The thing is every inch of the rooms was covered with bones, the amount of work to do it, the imagine required and the patience to find bones that are all the same size (these were harvested from mass graves) is extraordinary. Whats even more unusual was the creator had designed a nook and position for his remains to be placed in for when he passed.
After that disturbing sight, it was back on the metro then public bus back to the hotel to escape the heat of the day. When we returned to the hotel, SP slept whilst I caught up on blogging, emails and other real life things. at 5:30pm, it was time to head back out into the heart of Rome to see it at night and to get dinner. We went to the three fountains via taxi (we were too lazy to get public transport and was only 5 Euro each. We walked around for a bit before settling on somewhere authentic to eat. Before we ordered, Grace realised it was a franchise (though American’s call them chains) so we managed to only order a drink and bread so we would not fill up and have a second chance at a great italian meal.
Afterwards, we found a much better place that makes the pasta from scratch. I got spaghetti and meatballs which was delectable. My ‘look like a drug dealer’ reputation was proven once again, in a story that is unfit for a public forum such as this. Finally we went and saw the Trevie fountain at night then grabbed gelato. I got two flavours, hazelnut meringue & blackberry which was both super calorific. We then grabbed a taxi and went back to the hotel for a nightcap at the bar and then to bed.