Kathryn and Ken's European Vacation
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Day 38: Rome, Italy
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Day 36: Venice, Italy
Day 37: Venice, Italy
Day 38: Rome, Italy
Day 39: Rome, Italy
Day 40: Rome, Italy
Day 41: Rome Italy
Day 42: Florence, Italy
Day 43: Tirrenia (Pisa), Italy



Hotel Contilia


Mostly sunny with a high of 24░C


Day 38: Thursday, October 12, 2006     Rome, Italy

A Lovely Train Ride

We got up at 7:30 am and had another continental breakfast served in our room.  We then caught the vaporetto to the train station, arriving about 9:00 am.  Having learned our lesson, we stayed close to the exit with our luggage this time.  The train didn't leave until 10:32 am so we had time to look around and take a few last minute photos of Venice.  Ken really enjoyed the train ride as he hadn't been on a train since 1965.  The train went from Venice (Venezia) through Bologna and Florence (Firenze) and then to Rome.  The scenery was beautiful but we both ended up napping most of the way.

Train Map

We arrived in Rome around 3:00 pm.  We had been warned by several people, including our travel agent, about the gypsy pickpockets in Rome so we were very paranoid.  Our hotel was only a couple of blocks from the train station but we didn't know exactly where it was.  We each had two large suitcases and a carry-on and the thought of dragging them through the streets of Rome while fending off pickpockets was not very appealing.  Kathryn had booked all the hotels in her name so she took her carry-on and one bag and went searching for the hotel while I remained at the train station with the rest of the luggage.  After awhile she returned and we took the remaining luggage to the hotel.  The Hotel Contilia was a very nice hotel but our rooms were in an annex building.  We had to go to a courtyard behind the hotel and enter a tiny elevator (only room for one of us and a couple of bags).  We were on the second floor.  Other floors were used by other hotels in the vicinity.  This idea of an annex is the only way that hotels can grow in old, packed cities like Rome.
Kathryn's sister had given us her copy of a walking guide to Rome.  This had four separate tours and was invaluable to us.  As it was already late afternoon, we decided to do the one closest to our hotel.  The guide gives the following advice for crossing the road in Rome:
"Cross only at zebra stripes.  You can wait and cross with a Roman or play Roman Chicken.  The game goes this way: if you look at a driver, he will run you over, but if you don't look, he'll stop - maybe!"

Rome is a city built on 7 hills so that went lots of work for Kenny's knees over the next four days.  We first walked to one of Rome's four great basilica's, St. Maria Maggiore.  From there we headed north to Piazza Republica which consisted of a large fountain with 4 lanes of traffic traveling in a circle around it.  We got our first chance to play Roman Chicken.  We saw the church of St. Maria degli Angeli which was designed by Michelangelo and built inside the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian.  A little further along we came to the Acqua Felice Fountain with Moses in the centre.  Heading west we came to the Corner of the Four Fountains.  Each corner consisted of a building with a fountain in the circle-topped alcove.  The statue inside each alcove was different.

One of the Corner of Four Fountains

Continuing further west we came to Piazza Quirinal.  Here on the highest of the seven hills is the palace and official residence of the President of the Republic.  Just as we entered the square they had the changing of the guard and I was able to quickly snap a photo.

We then made our way down the hill toward Trevi Fountain and stopped for ice cream at the bottom.  Kathryn loves gelato (Italian ice cream) and she ate scores of them while we were in Italy.  They were all extremely good except for this one that we had in the high tourist area of Trevi.  If you are ever in

Changing of the Guard at the Presidential Palace

Rome, you must see the absolutely gorgeous Trevi Fountain.  At the bottom of the street, backed by the fašade of the Palazzo Poli, looms the most stunning of the fountains of Rome: the central figure, the Ocean (by Pietro Bracci) is shown dominating sea horses guided by Tritons, while in the niches on either side are the figures of Abundance (on the left) and Health (on the right), both by Filippo della Valle.  Bernini had initially been commissioned by

Trevi Fountain

Urban VIII to construct a monumental fountain, but the project had been abandoned after the Popes' death. It was Nicola Salvi, almost a century later, who was to build this ensemble on the site of one of Rome's earliest fountains designed to receive the water of the Aqua Virgo. The bliss of returning to the Eternal City is guaranteed to all foreigners who, with their back turned, throw a coin over their shoulder into the fountain.  Trevi Fountain was featured in the movies La Dolce Vita and Three Coins in a Fountain.

After taking several photos in the fading daylight, we headed north along Via Del Corso and then east on Via Condetti, a street filled with every ultra expensive clothing and jewelry store before ending up at the Spanish Steps as night began to fall.  We had walked a long way this afternoon and we now had a long walk home.  We were tired when we arrived at the hotel so we ordered spicy chicken and potatoes from a takeout place next to our hotel.  We took the food up to our room, ate it and crawled into bed.

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Day 39

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