Today was my first day out and about on my own. I’m glad that I’ve had a few days to get used to the place. I was pretty nervous about it before leaving, and quite terrified a couple of times, like in the middle of the night on the plane and at the end of the second day when I was exhausted. But this morning it was all very easy. And I’m more and more in love with Rome each day I’m here.
The first adventure was the peak-hour metro ride. I knew where to go and how to buy my ticket from Monday, and on the platform I spotted an English-speaking tour group to hang around near for extra security. I couldn’t get into the first two trains, but for the third I was right up the front, and shoved my way in like a local. We were packed in like sardines. I couldn’t reach a handhold, but was held up between my fellow sardines quite safely. Nearly everyone got out at the Vatican station (the name of which I can’t remember). I’d forgotten that wednesday is “seeing the Pope” day.
I was headed to Castel sant Angelo, near the Vatican. It was really cool. It wasn’t a one-way, follow the rest, don’t step out of line cattle chute like the others have kinda been. I went over the whole place, and really enjoyed it.
Then I walked along to Palazzo di Giustizia, and over the river and down to Piazza Navona. The buildings around this area are a bit different from near the hostel, and it’s definitely a fancier area. From there I followed the signs through some really picturesque alleyways to the Pantheon.
The Pantheon has to be the most impressive and awe-inspiring of the things I’ve seen so far. I spent about five minutes just standing outside and staring. Inside is really cool too. I took lots of photos, and some video. Steve’s got friday afternoon free and is going to get me to take him to the best bits, and I think the Pantheon is definitely at the top of that list. I can’t put into words how awesome it is, at least not with my internet time ticking down as I try to think.
After that I followed the signs again, heading for the Trevi Fountain, but lost the trail when I got to via del Corso. So I decided to head south and follow my original plan instead. At the end of via del Corso is Piazza Venezia and the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s a huge monument, cunningly built on a hill so that you can’t tell from the Corso side that there is a hill. These Italians really know how to build monuments, hey… From the top you can see the Colosseum and the ruins of the Forum which lie between the two. I was getting tired and hungry by this point, so I decided to head home, past the Colosseum, which is pretty much on the way.
I got a bit lost on the way (it all looked so easy from the top of the hill!), but sorted myself out without any trouble. Luckily I had my RAC Rome map in my bag, because somewhere along the way I’d lost the hostel one that I’d had in my back pocket. By the time I got there I was really fading, and rather than walk up the hill to the hostel I decided to take the Metro. Line B seems to be the poor cousin of Line A – the Line A trains aren’t grafittied all over, and have TVs. I suppose that’s coz Line A has the Vatican, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain on it, and Line B has only Colosseo!
Then I walked back to the hostel from Termini, and watched the tail end of Ace Ventura, which someone had on the TV. Tomorrow’s plan is something like: Palatine Hill, the Forum and some Catacombs, maybe followed by the Steve’s conference’s nod to culture, a trip to an art gallery.