Ok, last update before I begin the long trek home. After subwaying it into town again we first went to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The building itself is incredible but the bronze monument of a soldier on a horse above the tomb is phenomenal in its size. The detailing in the statues along the walls and around the outside of the monument is just stunning. From the top of the Tomb I got my first glimpse of the Colosseum (which in all honesty didn't look that impressive from where we were but once we were closer it is fantastic). Met up with a couple of Serena's friends, Adelaide and Fabrizio, who were touring around with us for the day. I decided to get an audioguide to walk around the Colosseum with and it was definitely worth it - the amount of information they pack in is great. (Note: I'm beginning to run out of adjectives to describe what I've seen so i do apologise if it is a little repetitive) Wandered around in there for a while...again took an insane number of photographs...it was so interesting to listen to the guide about how the games were played and stuff, they used to us massive sets on the stage that the gladiators and animals fought on. In one particular instance they made a model of a whale (because one had recently washed up on the beach) and 50 bears poured out of it that the gladiators had to fight. I also had in my head that the same gladiators fought all the time but in reality (if they weren't mortally wounded) they fought only maybe twice a year! I also discovered that the Colosseum isn't actually what they called the Colosseum it is the Flavius Ampitheatre and was only nicknamed the Colosseum later because a colossus statue of Nero stood nearby. After the Colosseum we walked through the Palatino looking at the ruins and the House of Augusto (unfortunately we arrived too late to actually go inside) and then down through the Roman Forum. It would have been great to have a guide throgh here as I wasn't really sure what I was looking at...the lonely planet guide only said so much. After this we did a little bit of shopping (had an AMAZING choc-chip and hazlenut ice-cream) and then headed out for dinner. Went to this lovely little restaurant that Fabrizio recommended and the food was so delicious! The wine here is scrumptious as well...and so cheap!! Afterwards we went and played pool for a bit - I actually sunk 2 balls...in a row!! And then home to bed.
Woke up early this morning as I wanted to head out and see the Roman catacombs. Caught the bus to the main station and then joined bought a ticket for the Archeobus which is a hop on-hop off bus that takes you through town and down to the catacombs. Hopped off at Catacombs of San Castillo and joined a tour to have a look through the tombs. Just amazing, there were about half a million people buried down there, including popes and bishops. One particular room we looked in had paintings (in amazingly good condition) that were 1800 years old! And the colours and images were still crystal clear. The catacombs were built out of volcanic rock that can eaily be carved but once exposed to oxygen for a long period of time they become very hard and so they could build the tombs very close together. Walked through the many narrow tunnels, looked in the holy room where several popes and bishops were buried as well as the tomb of Cecilia, the patron saint of music. All of the bodies were in the tombs for quite a few years until someone realised that the bones were slowly going missing (people were stealing them when they visited) so now they are in different bone houses scattered around Rome. Next I walked down to have a look at the Mauselleo Delle Fosse Ardeantine which is the tombs and memorial of the 335 people that were massacred by the Nazis in World War II at that spot - Italy's worst war atrocity. It was a very moving memorial and the tombs had the names and faces of the victims on a wreath on each separate tomb. I had been hoping to see a couple of the other catacombs but unfortunately the time I arrived they had closed for the day. Popped down to have a look at a little church where supposedly Jesus left footprints in the marble but it was closed for a couple of hours as well. Hopped back on the bus and into town and now here I am on the internet. Going to catch a bus home shortly na dpack my bag ready to go early tomorrow.
All in all I've had an incredibly fantastic trip...really missing the Middle East, i'm sure I'll have to head back there in the future...but am excited about coming home for Christmas. See you all soon xx