History and sunshine
Roma! Finally we get to spend the day exploring Rome. I love this city and I love the palpable history. Stand anywhere near the Coliseum and you can't help but feel it. We were able to park quickly again! We wanted to take a guided tour of the Coliseum so we searched for one on the streets. Guided tours are about double the price but you get to bypass the lines and also you get a tour of the Palentine Hill. Our guide was 100% Italiano. Such a greatah accentah. He was able to fill me in on all the info about Rome and the Coliseum that I have been salivating for. As we enter the arch where the royalty would have entered, I can't help but gape at the enormity and solid feeling of the structure. Its so easy to lose yourself daydreaming about what it would have been like. The Romans were ingenious about buildings but cruel and nasty about gladiators. Four hundred thousand people died in the arenas all together around Rome. Side note: the name Gladiator comes from the name of the Roman short sword called the gladius.
Our guide for the Palentine Hill was a British student who really knew his stuff. The Coliseum is really cool, but the history goes back even further on the hill. This hill overlooks the Coliseum and it is huge. The size of the palace staggered me. Just one room in the place was 5 acres! Indoor lakes and indoor race tracks. Out of control. Rooms guilded completely in gold. The Romans were really rich. We then went down the other side of the hill and into the Forum. The Forum was the site of commerce in ancient Rome. I couldn't help but picture myself in a toga and sandals, wondering if the birds I was hearing were the same for them. Fun fact: the hill is the foundation and beginning of Rome. Also in the Forum there are two pillars made from Egyptian red marble. EACH is valued at 120 million Euro. Rome is AWESOME!
We wanted to go to the Vatican City and take pictures of the crucifixion statue sequence but could not find a place to park. So instead we left for the Cinque Terre. We drove up and around windy and steep mountain hill climbs only to find that there was no place to stay and no parking. We went back to the nearest town, La Spezia, and went all over the city looking for a place to stay. No luck. So we ended up sleeping at a truck stop in Gideon's car. Well, they slept. Between Gideon's snoring and Casey's coughing I had a great night counting to 10,000.