Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Scavenger Hunt from Hell

Finishing off the map – that was the plan for today. The map had sixty seven places of interest marked with cartoon buildings, popping out of the flat grid of streets, and half marked green parks. It became my mission to see them all. Though most of them were covered over the past two days – some near the outskirts were skipped over. Today that would be corrected, and the final destinations would come within my grasp.

Once more with the Australian - who due to reading his copy of Lonely Planet was able to act as quite the tour guide – I headed off. For the first time, under the warm sun, and a blue sky. We made our way to the Colosseum to snap a few pictures that would look all the nicer for not having a field of greyish white clouds as their background. The Colosseum was a lot more impressive today. Who can feel anything but love when the sun is warm, and the sky is blue overhead?

From there we headed to Isola. This was an island the map made out to be a fantastic wonderland of delight. It had a church, and a pharmacy. Thanks map. Way to go.

Crossing over the river was important though, as it put us within reach of Villa Sciarra, and Porta Portese. Neither all that impressive, but they were on the map, so they needed to be seen. The Villa was located in a park far away from the tourist centre, though. It had walls on one side with loopholes built into it, which made me wonder just how old that formation was.

I noticed that a fence had been snipped through at the very edge. If someone went to the trouble of breaking the fence, there must have been something good back there. So pushing past one, and walking over another, I found myself on the edge of a steep drop onto the roadway below. But – looking out over the city, all the way to the mountains, for the first time with blue in the back, it was worth the precarious footing. And also the climb up to that point. Because, of course, this park was at the top of another hill.

Across the bridge led to another lot of buildings, all in a row, near the Arce di Dolabella. With those four cleaned off the list, it was back to the Colosseum. By this point, the sun was in the right position overhead to allow for the perfect shot. Well, the shot that would have been perfect, if only the Italian family of seven would have gotten up off their chain-fence and left the frame! As it stands, I have a fantastic shot of the. The type that they might have used for the cover of their family vacation binder, or Christmas card, or something. It was a great shot – that's all I'm saying.

The Colosseum is home to one of the few metro stops in Rome, and as such, I hopped on and zipped over to Piaza del Popolo. There was an Egyptian obelisk here. If there's one thing you must remember about Rome, it's that there are obelisks everywhere – and if you don't see one for more than thirty six hours, you're doing it wrong.

After that it was a brief walk down to ausoleo Augusto, and Ara Paica – and then... that was it! All of the various monuments crossed off the list! I may not know why I saw them, or what they were – but I saw them! And heck, I even took pictures of a few!

So that's that, Rome is cleared! New high score! I saw the city, and I wandered off the map, and I did everything I felt the need to do. Fantastic. More pizza and pasta was eaten in celebration.

Phew. Glad that's over with – now tomorrow it's on to Florence, to start this train wreck all over again.

By the way, I've been thinking. If you ever feel like visiting one of the cities I've gone to, and you're wondering how long you need to spend there – take my estimate, and double it. Triple it to be sure – because I don't think most people put in ten hour days of walking followed by seven hour days of walking. But what do I know? Maybe we're all mad here.

Things About Rome that didn't make the posts:
The movie Bruno just came out here on the 23rd. There are lots of posters and ads for it. It – just came out – it must be on DVD by now back home.

There are two vampires who live in my hostel room. They're gone in the morning (before eight) and the don't get back until well after sleep, around four thirty. Why this qualifies them as vampires, I can't quite recall. But they are.

The guy one bunk over won't share his Oreos.

There was another protest today, but I missed most of it, so it's not worth mentioning. Something to do with free Tibet. All I saw where twenty or so stragglers, and about forty police officers.

The adult beverages are no good warm.

My room is on the third floor. Seventy two steps up, and seventy two steps down – every time.

A girl in the room lost her passport on a pub crawl last night. Who takes their passport on a pub crawl?

Who knew that Michaelangelo's David was the same David who fought Goliath?

Tonight at Midnight is Daylight Savings. I gain an extra hour. I just know this is going to screw everything up for the next day or so. And, I never would have known if I didn't overhear people talking in the office.

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