Our 2nd full day in Rome was just as fun and hectic as the first but another thing they had in common was the terrible weather! After our breakfast was brought to our room and we were done eating, we headed to the Metro (subway) station to go see the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Right before we got out of the Metro station I told Lilian "I hope the Colosseum won't be hard to find", and we were both caught off guard because it is literally the first and only thing you see when you get out. It is like the size of a professional soccer stadium so it was an incredible and surprising sight.
Once we crossed the street and found our way into the Colosseum we had to wait in line to buy our tickets. Each ticket was like 15EUROS and then we paid an additional 4.50EUROS for the audio-guide because of the great experience we had with them at the Vatican. The system they had in place for distributing the audio-guides was absolutely horrendous and I think a 5 year old could probably organize something more efficiently. The "tour" began on the 2nd level of the arena and once we were inside it was really hard to believe that such a large structure was built so long ago. I wonder if the Roman's would have guessed that these buildings would still be standing after thousands of years! The floor of the Colosseum is no longer there besides a small section that was restored to better depict what it used to be like, so you can see directly down into the tunnels that housed the warriors, wild animals, and machinery. Hearing the stories of the epic battles that took place in the Colosseum made me want to watch the movie Gladiator again. In fact, Francisco, you should watch The Gladiator and Angels and Demons before coming to visit (or better yet, bring them with you so we can watch them together). After we made our way back down to the bottom of the arena and finished the tour it took forever to return the audio-guides due to their terribly inefficient system and then we couldn't figure out how to leave! We weren't the only ones lost so they really need to run the whole place more efficiently! Overall it was amazing to see and be in the Colosseum though.
After the Arena, we crossed the street and headed to the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum is basically the center of the ancient Roman Civilization and you can still see some of the ruins and structures standing. The area is very large and we spent at least a couple of hours walking around the complex and seeing everything. At this point it started to rain but we both fortunately had our umbrellas! It was also funny because while we were walking around I heard someone say my name and I turned around and saw a couple of my friends from Milan who were also in Rome that weekend. I didn't know they were going to be there so it was a huge coincidence and we shared a good laugh.
After we left the Forum we were hungry so we started walking back toward the Vatican and other parts of the city we hadn't been to before. However, after walking for 10 minutes we began to recognize things we saw on our first night when we were searching for things to eat. The historical and touristy parts of Rome are all very concentrated and you can probably walk from the Vatican to the Colosseum in like 45 minutes (on our map that's like across the city), it would probably take longer to walk across St. Cloud, Minnesota. Wanting to see something new we crossed the Tiber River and walked along it all the way back to the Vatican which was really scenic. I could probably spend an entire day walking through an old city and not mind if I don't see any "attractions" because seeing all of the old streets and houses is very peaceful and fun.
After we walked around half of the city I decided to buy a watch to replace the one I am going to return. I decided to buy it with a metal band because it is more versatile and I can wear it with anything. It was a bit more expensive, but I think it was a good investment. Worst case scenario, I can always resell it right?
That afternoon we got back to the room and I took a 2 hour nap before finally meeting Maria and her boyfriend for dinner. Maria was the daughter of our next door neighbors when we lived in Colombia and they moved to Italy when we moved to the US but her parents were always best friends with my parents. I couldn't remember her from when I was little but I definitely remember her parents. When we finally met her she took us to an aperitivo and it was a lot of fun to hear her tell stories about my parents and Grandfather. She remembers my Grandfather really well because he moved into our apartment in Bogotá after we moved to the US. Sharing stories with her was a lot of fun and after we ate they showed us around the city (most of which we had walked already) and it was one of the most fun nights I have had in Italy. When Francisco comes to visit we will definitely need to go to her house so we can see her parents! The last time they saw us we were seven so they'll be super excited to see us again!
Overall, our trip to Rome was incredible and I cannot wait to go back and visit again this semester! The highlight of the trip would definitely be seeing the Sistine Chapel and seeing Maria again. My spring break is coming up so I need to start planning my trips! I am thinking of going to Madrid and Paris so I will keep you updated. This week is super busy for me school-wise so wish me luck with everything!
Cool picture of a candle I took!