A less strenuous walking day (although still 15000 steps!) as we explored the Colosseum, Forum, Trajan’s forum and museum and Jewish Quarter which are all very close to where we’re staying.
We’d slept soundly for 10 hours and then stopped for a coffee and pastry on our way to meet our guide at the Colosseum metro entrance. Slight confusion/delay meeting but delighted to see there were only 4 of us on the tour and our very nice guide did a great job of taking us through and explaining everything. I got fascinated by the different kinds of marbles and bricks (never knew marble was burned to produce quicklime to make concrete) and we found exploring the tunnels and passages under the stage (extra) really atmospheric - our imaginations were working overtime. Knowing we were walking on the same herringbone patterned brick floors that all those slaves and gladiators walked on was a bit mind blowing! There was a proposal (accepted!) on the stage between two older Americans on a different tour, but we loved being just in our little group.
We spent three hours there (and could have had longer in the forum!) then emerged to think it all over with some pizza taglio (ie squares cut for several different ones to get a bit of all the flavours). They were delicious…and if only there hadn’t been some very loud US college students opining ( mistakenly!) about all sorts including whether Scotland is really a country (sigh!) it would have been completely perfect.
From there we walked to the museum of Trajan’s market which turned out to be much bigger than we thought. Lots of little rooms with carefully preserved and displayed amphorae, gilded parts of statues and inscriptions (extra) as well as the outdoor area where you could wander amongst the old columns and shops and road with its huge smooth slab-like cobbles. Much quieter than the Forum and once again amazing to be climbing the same stairs as those people from so long ago, and wandering through their everyday world. We needed gelato and a sit down, before heading over to the Jewish Quarter, now in drizzle after what’s been a largely warm and often sunny day. We popped into a few churches en route to see the artworks and huge interiors, and crossed a bridge built in 62BCE to Isola Tiber. Another church with stunning modern stained glass and a large hospital…both somehow looking very strange in this setting.
We decided to have an early supper in the Jewish quarter to get out of the rain and although the restaurants were basically empty we chose one and I had delicious Cacio e Pepe pasta with fried artichokes on top and A had a lovely fresh salad with mozzarella, apples, tomatoes, onion and lambs lettuce. Lovely!
We’d seen there was a concert on in a nearby church and we went in to see it…two singers doing a bit of a greatest hits of sacred music (so, several Ave Maria’s by different composers amongst the Bach and Handel. Lovely, and the perfect 45 minute length! We didn’t have too far to walk home and stopped in the handy Bar Kong just near our flat. We had a couple of lovely cocktails and they brought crisps, olives and a couple of gyozas too to help with the drinking! Very tasty…and only slightly annoyed to be cheek by jowl with a British man who was demanding and a bit insulting to the lovely bartenders. Sigh! It’s at moments like those you really don’t want to appear to be a Brit!
Home and watched some YouTube videos about where we’ve visited today and our plans for tomorrow. I’m wide awake of course, having not thought it was even worth asking if they stocked decaf in the cafe this morning!
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