The sun rose on day 2 of our visit to Rome – my actual birthday – and I opened my cards in bed whilst drinking a coffee. A lazy start to the day but we had a busy day ahead of us with the second excursion Ben had arranged – a tour of the Roman Forum and Colesseum.
I was really excited about this tour because not only is the Colesseum one of the most iconic buildings in the world, but as someone who loves history and has a fascination with the human side of our past, the fact I was going to be retracing the footsteps of those that walked those corridors and climbed those steps thousands of years before me was one that gave me butterflies.
As our tour wasn’t until mid-afternoon, we started the day with a wandering around the local area, exploring and taking in sights like local Piazza’s, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and all the other little roads and alleyways we came across.
We stopped for a spot of lunch in a little pizza place a short distance from where we were meeting our tour guide and had one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten in my entire life! It was so good!
As you can imagine, with its location the restaurant was pretty busy so the service was a little slow and we just made it to our tour in time before they set off – we honestly both thought we’d missed them but we got lucky as they’d waited behind for a few minutes.
The Roman Forum itself is staggering. The scale of it is like nothing I’ve ever seen before and it’s completely impossible to try and describe just how big everything was. Close your eyes and imagine how big you think the buildings are. You’re probably wrong, they’re HUGE.
Our tour guide for the Forum and Colesseum was excellent and, being a resident in Rome as well as an archaeologist, he really knew his stuff, so we learnt an enormous amount. I can’t fault the tour at all, it was funny, well constructed and informative, without being too “here-are-some-facts-I-churn-out-all-the-time”.
After the Forum we queue-jumped (thanks to being booked on a tour) into the Colesesum itself and this is where I will struggle to write a coherent sentence of any value because no words can describe it. The size is like nothing I have ever encountered before, the craftsmanship is mind-blowing, and the history seeped in its walls is so ancient that it left me looking around for a shadow of its previous life; the crowds gathered in the 70,000 seats and the fighters who laid down (and usually lost) their lives for entertainment.
I walked around trying to take it all in, overwhelmed by the simple fact I was there.
There. In Rome. At the Colesseum.
By the time the tour finished, we were exhausted. It was a few degrees cooler than the day before, settling at around 32 degrees, and we’d done a huge amount of walking. My feet ached, my legs ached and my back ached, so we slowly and painfully headed back to the hotel where we were met by a lovely surprise…
… the hotel had left some champagne and sweet treats in our room with a little note wishing me a happy birthday! This was totally unexpected and such a nice touch, plus it was also very welcome for two weary travellers, so we settled down into our seating area with a glass of bubbly in hand while we recharged our batteries to head out for the night.
We decided to have dinner that evening in Piazza Navaro which we had visited during the day as one side of it is lined with restaurants, then we strolled back to the hotel and up to the rooftop bar for a cocktail each to toast the end of my birthday.
It was the perfect end to an incredible day and I went to bed feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.
Check back tomorrow for Day 3…
(We made a video of our time in Rome, you can view it by clicking here or the image below)