Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

All Roads Lead to Roma…part one…

A chilly but beautiful morning greeted us as we packed the bike up…today we are heading across the centre of the ‘Boot’ to Rome, a place we have longed to visit for many years.

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We tried to avoid the major roads as much as possible, the journey took us through some spectacular country side, littered with stunning old villages, corn fields glowing in the sun light…

We rode past so many derelict old buildings in need if some love and attention, we would love to get our hands on one to do up, what a dream, riding past you couldn’t help wonder who had lived in these old places and what their lives were like back then in the old days of ‘hard’ farming.

We knew we were getting closer to Roma as the roads we much busier the GPS said we were just about to approach the campsite, but as it was set a little bit off the road and we shot past it…so a U turn was needed and back onto the familiar roads we had just ridden on…
A few minutes later we pulled into Camping Village Roma, Via Aurelia, 831, 00165 Rome.

We booked in, found a campsite and set up our tent, home for the next five days,the campsite was half the price of the Venice campsite we stayed in and this one had better facilities, it was next to a bus stop that takes you into the city, a large supermarket across the road where we could grab some bottles of wine and supplies and it had great wifi we could use…

With the tent all set up we were now in need if a refreshing swim in the camp pool that wasn’t an extra fee (take note Venice) the water was freezing…the chickens we are we only stayed in for a short while…

After a quick shower in a pop music filled wash rooms, we decided to get take a walk around the campsite, and low and behold Kath and Brad were a few pitches up from us (we met them at the campsite in Venice where they gave us their spare bus passes) after a catch up we headed across the road to get some supplies for dinner…

we spent the evening relaxing at the campsite drinking wine while having dinner, discussing what we wanted to see in Rome…

I woke up during the night (about 2am) to our noisy neighbours three children running around our bike and talking loudly, i ignored this for about an hour then tiredness got the better of me, so i poked my head out of the tent and politely told the kids to ‘SHUT UP’…they didn’t!!! and their parents didn’t seem to care either…

The following morning we strolled towards the campsite tourist booking office to see what deals would suit us….we decided on a 3 day bus pass that will take you into the centre of Roma, with an ‘on off’ open tour bus pass.
The bus stop was right outside the campsite and the buses run about every ten minutes.

Once off the bus we walked the short distance towards the Vatican…
we were approached by many ‘touts’ trying to sell us guided tours to various places around the city, declining as we like to do our own ‘thing’.

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We were passing the vatican museum and decided it would be a must see … Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century and the Sistine Chapel with its high ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze della Segnatura decorated by Raphael…

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we were mesmerised by the sheer beauty of all the paintings and sculptures as we strolled through these magnificent rooms..

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Wishing we had brought a pair of binoculars to view the ceilings more clearly, it was impressive every one walking around was quiet and gazing in awe of their surroundings.

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The gardens were fantastic…

The carriage hall held spectacular coaches that paraded the pontiffs around and had the most amazing art work on them…

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The Pope Mobile..

The guard on duty had a long morning as we caught him napping lol.

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The spiral staircase that takes you to the exit was amazing…

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It was designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, the steps on the staircase are really wide. The stairs are actually two separate helixes, one leading up and the other leading down, that twist together in a double helix formation, so you never actually meet the people coming the opposite direction..unless of course someone going your way changes their mind…

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Cool fresh water was readily available everywhere, which was good as it was so hot…

Next on the huge list for today was the Vatican, so we strolled around the huge Vatican walls,the streets were packed with tourist, until we came to this speculator forecourt area and there it was St. Peter’s Basilica…

Wow, what an impressive building, the forecourt was packed with empty chairs and barriers ready for a sermon from the pope we presume…

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These statues made an imposing sight, staring down from above to the worshipers below…

The queue to get into St. Peter’s Basilica was really long, but thankfully it was moving fast, as it was a hot day and there was no shade…

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So armed with bottled water we made our way into the ever growing queue…20 minutes or so later we went through security and then onto the steps approaching St Peter’s Basilica,
Clive was okay to enter the St. Peters, but i was refused as i had a short sleeved shirt on…Grrrr…which was annoying as some woman entering had backless dresses on and were allowed in, some woman even took their cardigans or shawls off once they got past the ‘No bending Rules’ guard…

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But he didn’t seem to care when i pointed that out to him, Clive said i should have made a run for it, but i had visions of being wrestled on to the floor by the guards…lol

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Clive went in to see if it was worth me coming back tomorrow properly attired, while i waited by the steps monitoring all females that were let in with less short sleeves than mine!
Clive came out to say that St Peter’s Basilica was one of the most impressive places he had been in, making me feel rather jealous…boo hoo for me!

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Next on the list was the Coliseum, even though we had a ‘hop on hop off’ bus ticket we decided to walk, there’s so much history to see here it really is out of this world…

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Shop window with fiat car in Italian colours…

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Admiring this fantastic old city and stopping at the-‘hard not to miss Victor Emmanuel II Monument also known as ‘The Wedding cake’ or ‘The Giant Type writer’ which is located in Piazza Venezia, the monument is a stunning white building with statues perceiving us, after a few photos we walked up the snow white marble steps and inside past the guards that guard the eternal flame to where Italy’s unknown soldier lies from World war 1…

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we knew instantly that our allotted time of five nights was never going to be enough to see this wonderful city…but we needed to cram in as much as we could, but most importantly enjoy it…

We then moved on to to Santa Maria d’Aracocoeli Church is sited on Capitoline Hill, in my opinion its not much to look at from the outside but WOW once inside it was amazing…This is a 12th century basilica, the chandeliers were simply stunning, the paintings are something else…it was defiantly worth the hike up the 125 steps…

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So once down the 125 steps we head off again in search of drinking water, purchasing frozen bottled water from some street vendors…

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we head off towards the Coliseum passing buskers and many street stalls selling all the ‘Gladiator’ gear that one would need to fight a tiger…

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You can’t miss the Coliseum as it stands 48 metres high and is a for boding site…

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once inside the Coliseum, we went to the ticket box to purchase our entry tickets, its hard to believe that this building has stood for two thousand years..
The Colosseum could accommodate some 55,000 spectators who entered the building through no less than 80 entrances…this place is a must see..

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I felt myself being transported back to the days of violent gladiator games, the thousands of men and animals fought for their lives in the sandy arena, the persecution of the Christians, all in the name of sport.

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Scratched on one of the holding pen walls…

The restoration work here will take a life time, as its crumbling away…defiantly an on going project…

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The arena floor is long gone, revealing the lion, bear and christian pens below…

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By the time we had walked around the Coliseum we were starting to fade fast, it was hot and a sit down was in order to soak it all in,

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It was well after four and we hadn’t had anything to eat since early morning!

Once we had left the Coliseum we decided it was time to use our ‘Hop on Hop off’ ticket…but could we find the bus stop for ‘our’ bus stop-not a chance we walked for what seemed like miles trying to find it….eventually we found what sort of looked like ‘our’ bus stop sign which was at Palaitine Hill near Circus Maximus…

The former Chariot Racing stadium which is now just a long grassy field with a long stretch of gravel for where the Chariots raced in front of 300,00 screaming people, i would imagine that this had some spectacular grand buildings once, but nothing much has survived 😦

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The origins of the Circus Maximus go back to the 6th century and the last chariot race at the Circus Maximus was held in AD 549…truly amazing…

A bus appeared and thankfully it was the correct bus and the last one of the day, with our weary legs we climbed to the top of the bus, listened to the history commentary while it took us back to the Vatican…

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Lots of people queuing up for the tour buses…

Hungry and thirsty we found a busy cafe and ordered a sandwich each…
The worst sandwich we had ever eaten…cardboard comes to mind (not that we’ve eaten any, but i reckon thats what it would taste like!) at least the can of lemonade was good lol…that cafe was one to avoid next time as it was expensive, not much change out of 30 Euros…

The sun was now starting to set, shops had closed, just about all the street sellers had packed up and gone, very odd for a big busy city!

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We now had the next task of finding the bus stop, so we could catch the bus back to our campsite…that proved another nightmare we pounded the pavements looking for whatever number we were meant to catch…just not our day for buses…finally after asking a local and doing some funny sign language we found the right bus stop…thank goodness for that.

Back at camp for a shower and an early night…as we have an early start in the morning..back for some more sight seeing…
Hope the next door tent kids will be quiet tonight… Tomorrow another day exploring some more of Rome and all the fantastic history…

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