wed 05 may 2010 15:03:02 hotel sole al pantheon, roma
walked to colosseum
i woke up pretty early. they serve breakfast just outside my door. shortly after ten in the morning, nicole and i set off on foot to find the colosseum. we cut through some little streets like via de gesu and got out to a big street vittorio emmanuele ii, then found the palazzo venezia which is one of the hugest most impressive things i've ever seen, very white and monumental with lots of stairs and statues and stuff. we orbited that and turned round the bend through the 'fori' and could see the colosseum in the distance. walked up to it and took photos and touched it. i needed to go there just cuz my father told me he once slept there in a jeep under one of the arches. we found a stairway up to a higher street south of the colosseum and looked at it from there. we saw lots of 'unlicensed gladiators' who offer to pose with people for photos for five euros. walked back down through a couple of narrow streets, cut left through an archway back to the fori. i ate a hot dog from a vendor's trailer, that was different. we ran into several school trip groups. huge gangs of people travelling and sightseeing together. getting stuck in a parade. then we got a bit lost on the way back, ie couldn't find our way back the same way. passed through a place called 'largo de arenula' where there is an archeological site unearthed. you can walk down into it and see lots of tipped over bits of fluted columns and other marble bits, and guess what the whole place is populated by cats. it's like the ancient garden of cats. from there we figured out (thanks to my handy compass that anna bought for me) that it was a straight shot north back to the pantheon. we found dvr in a teras and sat for a while looking at people coming and going, nicole and dvr were commenting on the more unusual looking people. i've just been downstairs to the lobby again and spoke to nicolo, because when i walk into my room it smells intensely of gardenia-scented air freshener, as if somebody dumped half a can of it in here on their way out just to punish me for being a smoker. it's very difficult to tolerate the scent of the perfume, so i felt obliged to tell them about it. four star hotel my ass, this is a 1,5 star hotel in a 5 star location.