Anouk: We have been in Rome for 3 days and seen some amazing sights such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Vatican City and some ruins. We also went to a massive park (called Villa Borghese) and rented a buggy to get around. I thought the Colosseum was best because we could see the tunnels that they walked through, because the ground on top was so old and fragile that it broke off. We were struggling in the piping hot heat because there wasn't much shade and it was hugely crowded with people. AtVilla Borghese I really enjoyed renting a buggy which was a four-seated electric bike. Mum drove and steered, dad and Harley steered the fake wheel and I sat in a front seat that you were meant to put your bags in (it was quite uncomfortable).
Harley: During the time we have been in Rome one of the places that we have been is Villa Borghese Park. In the park we hired a four seater bike to cruise around on. Another place we went was Vatican City which is the smallest country in the world. It is 0.2 square miles and has a population of 770! We went to the Vatican Museum and saw Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling and walls in the Sistine Chapel. It was very big (about 40x13 metres long) and took just over 4 years to paint it! But my favourite site to see was the Colosseum. The Colosseum is about twice the size of the Nimes arena (which we saw in France) and was much busier (heaps of tourists). Some facts are that 400,000 people died there during battles. Also it was built by 60,000 Jewish slaves. They started in 72AD and it took 9 years to build.
Vikki: I think we've been spoilt, getting used to the quieter smaller towns with slightly less tourists and a more relaxed pace of life. Rome is anything but, with tourists every which way you turn, touts and hawkers selling all but the kitchen sink and tourists all heading to the same sites. To be honest Rome hasn't done it for me this time, today visiting the Vatican and seeing the chapel and all the paintings etc was a bit like being a sheep, just following the tourist in front of you from room to room. Many didn't appear to even look at the surroundings, especially up as for much of museum it's the ceilings that are decorated. Made you wonder why they bothered to even go, maybe just to say been there done that. Regardless, I'm glad we made the effort and take it all as part of the memories of the trip.
Tomorrow we head north again to Bologna, known for great food and gelato and we are back to staying in a remote villa in the middle of no-where. Perfecto!
Raj: Yep, if I'm totally honest, I agree with Vikki. My low level of patience has been tested over the past few days with everything that comes with a big European city in the middle of tourist season and heat. I don't think I've heard anyone laugh or seen anyone smile (apart from our shuttle bus driver who we all liked and so we tipped him). I've even told some pushy people off and there is no service mentality to speak off. The card scamming issue hasn't helped my mood as I run through what might happen next and what we can do to avoid further fraud and keep our trip on track. I can't even find a bank that will exchange money, only money changers who want 20% commission - no thanks. However, there have been some good moments such as being inside the Colosseum and parts of the Vatican City before the crowds spoiled the experience. One interesting observation is that there are so many Indians at every turn selling the same stuff. I call Rome the city of Indians, not Romans! Now looking forward to moving on tomorrow as we approach the halfway point of our trip - wow, hard to believe we left NZ 3 months ago today.