Friday, August 24, 2012

Rome {The Colosseum}

... did I mention that we also went to Rome while the family was here? I've been wanting to post about Rome for weeks... part of the reason I've been putting of blogging about Rome is... well, where do I even begin? It's huge. There is so much to see. Truly, we could have spent weeks there, wandering through ancient ruins and admiring old, old artifacts. We really saw all that we possibly could in 2 days. My main regret is not entering the Roman ruins (next to the Colosseum) which closed right as we tried to get in... and not making it to the mathematically-perfect Pantheon. {Cringe.} Don't get me wrong... we saw A LOT. But I guess there'll always be something that you miss on trips like this. Cole and I will be back to Rome, so my regret isn't really for us - as much as it's for Mom, Dad and Hannah. Although I don't think they were upset. They would have been happy with a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe - just taking in the sites! :)

Rome was HOT! If you can avoid it, I'd recommend avoiding a visit during August... but the heat didn't slow us down too much. Eva did really well while we were in Rome. We kept her out of the sun as much as possible.. Poor baby was pretty exhausted after all the traveling. It took her a few days to adjust when we got home. She was cranky!

During my youngest sister, Hannah's senior year of high school, Mom and Dad hosted a foreign exchange student from Norway. Fortunately, Tonja was able to visit during their stay! We were really excited to reunite with her! Tonja joined us in Como and traveled to Rome with us, as well. It had been two years since we had seen each other! :) Isn't it fun to reconnect with old friends?!

Hannah, Mom & Tonja in front of the Colosseum! :) Darn my camera and those light flecks... must get a lens hood! 
Once again, we took the train to Milan and on to Rome, arriving around 2 p.m. We checked into our hotel and headed straight to the Colosseum! We were armed with our Rick Steve's audio tours and so thankful we took the time to download those files! Seriously. Best travel tip, ever. They are completely free and save you from dealing with a tour guide whom you can barely understand! You'll see in the pictures - we're tethered together with headphones since we shared iPods during each tour. Rick can be a little cheesy at times, but overall they're informative without getting into every little detail.

That's the Roman forum in the background... and the Colosseum to the right. 
Side note... I just read that renovations will begin on the Colosseum in December. They're going to clean the surface (yucky from all the smog) and will have scaffolding covering large areas of the arena in several phases. SO THANKFUL there was no scaffolding up yet! :) That's one way to ruin a good photo...
Seeing the Colosseum in person was kind of surreal. One of those, "hard to believe I'm actually here" moments! It definitely made you stop and think... and think! We walked around the outside just taking it all in before entering for our tour (the fee to enter was 12 per person).

Right where you enter, there is a cross looking over the arena - a symbol of the suffering by Christian martyrs who have gone before us. Another one of those, "stop and reflect" moments... 

The Colosseum interior. The maze below was actual passageways beneath a surface where the games took place.
It would have been covered with boards and a layer of sand.

I almost forgot... we walked back by the Colosseum at night. What a site! :) It was worth the extra ache in our feet to see this: