|Troy and I started our morning out with a short 3.5 mile run around the wall of Lucca. It was beautiful out and really nice to run with no traffic and interesting scenery. After a nice breakfast at our B&B, we caught the train to Rome. The trip was a quick one, with nice cars and more comfortable seats. We arrived in Rome at The Termini station- a huge, hustling center with shops, restaurants and LOTS of people. The temperatures were warm and humid. This time our B&B is Gulliver's Travels, recommended by a client and also by Rick Steve's guidebook and the location is only about 8mins walk from the train station. That's a good thing, because the cobblestones and sidewalks here are not easy to navigate with our bags and the traffic is fast and not pedestrian friendly. Our room is comfortable and the host, Mary, is very informative with how everything works and about what to see and how to get there. This is the best B&B so far of the trip, as far as the helpfulness of the owner and the comfort of the room. The location is really central to the Coliseum and to the Forum, which we plan to do tomorrow.
Since Cole was the driving force for Rome and most excited about this portion of the trip, he did a bit of research prior to leaving. On his list of things he wanted to see was the Bioparco Di Roma (Rome Zoo). I know, it wouldn't be on my list either, but he said they had some animals that we couldn't see other places and he wanted to go. At the top of my list at the last part of this trip is making sure the kids end it with FUN. Not Pfun. So, since we had at least three hours left of open time at the zoo, we set off.
The subways in Rome are nothing like France or Spain. They are not very efficiently laid out, are dirty, and are difficult to navigate if you don't speak Italian. After a few wrong turns, we finally made it to the Borghese park area where the zoo is and realized we still have about 20 minutes of walking to do because the zoo is on the opposite side of the park, which is about 3 square miles. Unfortunately, the Borghese Gallery, which is set in the Borghese mansion, requires reservations weeks in advance and is closed on Mondays. I'm not sure I would have had the time to see it anyway, so I guess I'll have to come back at some point.
The zoo turns out to be a lot of fun. Because we entered with only about 2 hours of time left, most of the people were gone. It had also started to cool off, so the animals were fairly active and we enjoyed zipping through the different areas and enjoying all of the beautiful trees, plants and animals. I included a few of the funnier photos hoping this would be of interest.
After the zoo, we walked back through the park and to the Spanish Steps. We were warned about pickpockets and how they are everywhere, but not as much about the aggressive people hawking their wares as tourists wander through the streets. They quickly became obnoxious, thrusting roses into our faces, whistling through these loud plastic discs they put into their mouths and offering us other touristy garbage. Even if you firmly say "no thank you", they continue.
Our host recommended a restaurant that was between The Spanish Steps and the room, so we decided to try it out. It was a good meal, one with multiple courses, so we all enjoyed our meals and left with full bellies. I think we will all like Rome.