Finally after months of planning and anticipation we packed our bags and set out for Tullamarine Airport, the weather in Castlemaine had been cold and wet for a couple of weeks before our departure, however on the day of departure it was very pleasant, a bit of a disappointment, I had hoped for rain, I don't know why, I would have the warmth of Italy's summer to look forward to.
Our trip got off to a slow start what with the interminable boredom of preflight check in and waiting to board, there was a two hour delay prior to take off, apparently the cargo bay doors would not lock, ho hum. Once in the air we settled in for the fourteen hour flight to Dubai, we spent our time reading and watching movies.
We had a two hour stop over in Dubai before the next leg ( six hours) of the flight to Rome, we where dying for a decent coffee and found a cafe that served a passably good cappucino, then boarded the plane once more. Guess what different plane same problem, the cargo bay doors would not lock, Umm this was becoming a habit, only an hours delay this time, once again we spent the flight reading and watching movies, this time in a sleep deprived haze.
Seven hours later escorted by our driver we walked out of Flumicino airport and took our first breath of fresh Italian air, the driver loaded our bags, the drive to our Hotel would take about a half hour, at first you travel through nondescript suburbs of multi storey apartments and industrial areas, then as you approach Rome proper, like spectres peeking out from corners and lane ways, the history starts to appear, little by little until before you know it you are engulfed. fragments of ancient walls, buildings, fountains, churches and piazza's are every where, I was overwhelmed by the beauty and the history of Rome, sure it is a little shabby but hey, who wouldn't be after two thousand years, the shabby chic of the place lends it an enduring charm.
We were staying at the Hotel Selene, on Via Viminalie, if you are coming to Rome I would highly recommend this Hotel both for it's friendly staff and the fabulous location. we checked in, showered and put on some fresh clothes headed out on our Roman discovery.
We had heard the horror stories of the queue's to get into the Colosseum, now I can vouch for the truth of those stories after buying the tickets for our tour we waited as the guide led us toward the entrance, what was at first a massive crowd, turned into a crush as we neared the entrance, I was worried for the children in the crowd, what a nightmare, once inside it is hard to believe that this place was built 2000 years ago, the technology is similar to what would be used in it's construction today, the only down side is us the tourist, the mayhem continued inside with thousands of tourist and hundreds of tour groups all trying to get to the same features and to take the same photos, however all this considered, I would not have missed it for the world.
Below are some pic's from the Colosseum and the forum as well as our walk around the Palantine hill.