Scenery


Rome was amazing.

This is actually one of the reasons it has taken me so long to post about it; I really wanted to give it it’s due in photos and explanation. Even the rifde over deserves some mention, as it was quite the experience (I can say this easily due to the great deal of hindsight and time between now and then).

So, Rome. We arrived at 2am after our Ferry managed to be six hours late and leave us in the middle of nowhere. We appeared to offload onto a random bit of dock, with all the organization of a sneeze hitting confetti.

These are the doors to the sleeping cabins. Even the lowliest of these were more than double the cost of the option we selected, which was the floor in the chair-sleepers area.

These are the doors to the sleeping cabins. Even the lowliest of these were more than double the cost of the option we selected, which was the floor in the chair-sleepers area.

Here is our room:

Our sleeping quarters.

Our sleeping quarters. At least they were dark.

Like the last time I was on a “cruise” (as it called itself) we had a great big storm. Night was spent thumping up against the legs of a chair as the ship pitched, a situation I gave myself the occasional break from by going outside to observe the vortex of spume that would shoot up the side and rear of the ship with every gust of wind.

Don’t get me wrong though, I really quite liked the stormy part. I don’t get seasick (thank god). It was the daytime that I found dull and unpleasant.

What an ugly brown line we left in the sky.

What an ugly brown line we left in the sky.

From the Ferry “terminal” (if you could call it that) we found a bus to Rome.

Arrival in Rome: 2:00am, April 8. Taxi to Hostel. Sleep.

Next day! This one was a real corker. I got to see the Colosseum and Palatine hill, I discovered perhaps the finest chocolate in all the world, ate some, and then got to go out for Italian food – in Italy. This day was three days, all jammed into one. Let’s start with the Colusseum.

We opted for the tour so that we could get a bit of a history lesson as we went, and MAN am I ever glad we did. There are so many cool things about this building that I never would have known that make it even MORE impressive even than the incredible 2000 year-old architectural marvel that I already knew it was.

We came upon the Colusseum from its best side. We stood and just stared for a bit before registering the rest of our surroundings and noticing a couple of guys who made the ferry trip with us and were on the same train, too. It’s cool meeting up with other travellers more than once. Anyhoo, Colusseum.

And suddenly, there it was!

And suddenly, there it was!

There is an entrance and an entrace fee (a difference, our guide informed us, from ancient times when you had to have a ticket but they were handed out for free to everyone) just around the corner, and tour guides filling the space between here and there. We allowed ourselves to be nabbed by one and in we went.

Inside the colosseum.

Inside the colosseum.

Arches, from the inside.

Arches, from the inside. The uppermost area is the womens' row.

Our guide explained how the Popes of Medieval times sanctioned the looting of the Colosseum. Its marble was stripped and later even some of the bronze bars that held the stone together were dug out. It is now pocked with holes (for which I originally blamed the pidgeons that now inhabit them) both inside and out. Still, there are pieces of marble here and there buried halfway into the ground, so you can see this beautiful white stone and somewhat imagine how incredible it must have been when the whole thing was clad in that crisp, shining white and decorated with coloured stone and precious metals. As Andrew Bird might say “Oh! The Grandeur!”.

The mazes under the floor.

The mazes under the floor.

The floor, or rather, the space under the floor, is an incredibly complex series of corridors, lifts and trapdoors. There were over 40 slave-powered elevators for popping wild animals into the arena at unexpected times and places. I would have liked to stay longer here to ask about each little corridor down there. Alas. Next time. And yes, there will DEFINITELY be a next time. Emily? You in? 😀

Holes for a roof.

Holes for a roof.

I include this picture because it shows the holes and ledges that were used to draw a roof across much of the arena. There were slaves on the ropes to tighten it and control it in the wind, and for each of those holes there was an anchor and mechanism on the ground where we were standing. The movie Gladiator has the roof in it. It was really cool to see the actual parts that created it.

After the Colosseum tour, we were led to the nearby Palatine Hill, where Rome was founded. On it are the ruins of centuries of houses of the Roman Aristocracy, including the Flavian Palace and some of the fist brick-and-mortar buildings. Ever. The Romans can claim dibs on all SORTS of firsts.

Me, near Palatine Hill. Fun much?

Me, near Palatine Hill. Fun much?

And here are a few other sights from that afternoon, just for kicks. Then we’ll get into day two, and the Pantheon!

The Arch of Constantine.

Not the Arch of Constantine; different Arch but quite close by.

Me and a Giant Head.

Zann and the Giant Head.

There was a little museum on the hill with some sculptures that had been salvaged from the ruins. We took a peek, naturally.

…OK, once again I’ve got to take a break from computering. It’s sunny. I’ll be back when it’s icky outside.

I went to Mull!  And it was good.

Off we go!

Off we go!We've been trying to get there for the past two weeks, it seems, but things kept getting in the way. First I was sick, then the bus timetable was posted wrong on the internet. We were starting to think it wasn't going to happen. But it all turned out to be for good! Had we succeeded either of the first two times, we would have been hit with blizzards and harsh windchill the whole time. The day we wound up with: mild, sunny, beautiful. And on a trip to a place like Mull, the weather can really make all the difference.We packed three different towns, four buses, two ferrys, a chcolate shop and a distillery into our little trip. It was awesome. I will show you.The ride there certainly whetted our appetites for scenic vistas!A cloud is born...

I must say, taking photos from a moving bus on a sunny day is truly an excercise in avoiding reflection.

It's enough to make you want to stop the bus.

It's enough to make you want to stop the bus.

Shaggy hills, shaggy cows.

Shaggy hills, shaggy cows.

Oooh, lovely.

Oooh, lovely.

These were all taken on the way to Oban, the town with the ferry that would take us across to Mull. It was quite nice riding through the mainland. And then we got to ride a ferry! Off to Mull with us! But forst, here’s a taste of Oban:

Check out that little Colosseum on the hill there!

Check out that little Colosseum on the hill there!

And second…

oh wait. I’m out of time again. Alas.
OK, I think (I hope) I can come back and finish this in a few hours. Don’t hold your breath, though; you’ll turn blue.

I do, however, promise I will come back and finish eventually.