What was probably the best day of my vacation... Allison and I woke up a little later and went down to our free "breakfast" of toast, croissants, jam, butter, and coffee. When the toaster popped, it would shoot out the toast in all directions...mine shot up and spun around, and then landed back in the toaster, like something from a cartoon. It was a gorgeous day out. We went to the Trevi fountain and threw coins over our right shoulders...this means that we will return to Rome before we die. We think it was supposed to be the right shoulders anyways...some people were doing the left. The fountain was beautiful with the sun reflecting off the water. We then went to the Colosseum, but first decided to have lunch since our breakfast was less than filling. We ate outside at a little cafe with the Colosseum across the street from us...we kept looking at it and the beautiful weather and never wanted to leave. Then we walked over to the Colosseum and a woman approached us and asked if we wanted to take a guided tour. I was like "no, thanks" until she said it meant we would skip the line. So Allison and I went on the guided tour and got to go right inside. We also got to take a picture with the gladiator which usually costs 10 euro. Our tour guide had a heavy accent so it was hard to understand a lot of what he said, but we did learn some things. The Colosseum is big, but it's not as big as I thought...he said that books say it fit 700,000 people, but that is a lie...today they estimate around 50,000 people fit inside. Only 5,000 of them were women, and the women had to stand. He told us that the slaves in Rome did all of the work and the people had nothing to do, so they had 200 days of partying, and they came to the Colosseum to watch the games as entertainment. We then went to the upper level to get some pictures from above and some pictures of the Roman Forum across the way. Then, we met Kate, our British tour guide for the second half of the tour. We didn't realize at first there was a second half, but we were lucky that we signed up for this tour or we probably would have missed what was to come next. Kate took us up to Palatine (Palatino in Italian I believe) Hill, the hill of the Emperors starting with Augustis. She gave us a brief history on the city of Rome, saying that most of it is myth and they only things they know to be true are that Rome started on the Palatine Hill around 753 BC. Augustus decided it was a nice place to live because it is peaceful up on the hill, but right next to the city center, and after him all of the emperors followed suit. The emperor Domitian decided to level 2/3rds of the hill to build a grand palace, the largest ever seen on the hill. He had a chariot race track put in as well, for his own amusement. A part of the old floor is still on the hill, because it was made of marble which lasts forever. Kate told us that the palace was very colorful, kind of a 1970s feel, and she threw some water on the floor to show us the bright reds and greens of the marble. She then took us to the area that would have been the dining room and told us about the Roman rituals. The wealthy would go to the Forum to buy a new toga, and then climb up the hill to go to the palace for dinner. They would eat and be massaged by servants, and then go to the vomitorium to throw up so they could continue eating. The parties would last for seven hours, and then they would stumble home with their new toga all soiled from food, wine, and mud. She told us that the Romans used urine to clean their clothes, and put bay leaves in the pot with the urine to make it smell nice. Some sewage workers picked up on the fact that urine was a valuable commidity so they started siphoning it to sell it on the black market, and when the emperors found out they put a tax on urine. Part of this tax was used to build the Colosseum...haha I found that to be ironic and interesting. The hill was so beautiful and green, and there were ponds and orange trees. We had a wonderful view over the Roman Forum and all of Rome, and Kate pointed out some major buildings to us. She also pointed to the statues of the seven Vestal Virgins and told us that these women were actually regarded as royalty and lived a wealthy, priviledged lifestyle. They had to remain chaste for thirty years in exchange, and if they broke this vow of chastity they were buried alive with bread and water. Someone came back sixty days later, and if they were still alive they could return to being a Vestal Virgin...but of course no one ever survived. Only 6 were buried alive in the course of 1100 years though. After our wonderful afternoon in the Flordia-like weather on the hill, we walked through the ruins of the Roman Forum to the Pantheon. There was still some water on the floor from the rain yesterday...because the hole in the top of the Pantheon is open. I'm not sure what they do when it's raining during church. Anyways, we looked at the statues and saw Raphel's grave. Then, we went back to our hostel for the free dinner and showered. We tried to go to the student district of San Lorenzo, but found it was a shady area and not safe for two girls at night. This is the only downside of Rome...the nightlife is not amazing, and it's really not safe for girls to go out without guys. Getting a taxi anywhere is expensive and they are hard to find. And if only guys go out they probably won't get in without a few girls. So we went back to our hostel and went out with Constantino, one of the young guys who works there (it was his day off though). He is from Romania but working and living in Rome, and he took us to an Irish pub called Druid's Rock. Then, we got some gelati and went to another pub called The Fiddler's Elbow. Allison went with him on a scooter ride through Rome, but I was very tired and went to bed as soon as we got back. It was an exhausting but wonderful perfect day!