We had to put the pressure on this morning to get the kids out of bed, showered, dressed and breakfasted early as our Colosseum tour started at 8:20. We were out the door at 7:45 so made it with time to spare. It was a beautful morning and the building looked spectacular bathed in the early morning light.
We met our guide Sabrina, were knitted out with our radio headsets and then set off for the tour. We walked around the outside of the building, stopping a number of times for Sabrina to give us some information about its history. What a magnificent structure and it's hard to believe it was constructed in 8 years. We arrived at the tour entry and after the mandatory bag check, entered by the gladiators' gate out onto the arena floor. We went into various areas and onto all floors with Sabrina explaining what each was used for. I topped up our water bottles at the water fountain on one of the floors...it's odd for us to see water just pouring out of a tap. The fountains are provided by the City of Rome.
There is a lot of internal restoration work going on at the moment as the external work has been completed. There are many workers working away in the floor of the arena as well as various other places inside the walls. Sabrina explained the work was being funded by a rich tycoon (the Top's leather shows and bags entrepreneur) as the city would not pay for such work. It' sounds as though money from entry and tours of the Colosseum is used to pay the staff who work there. Watching the number of tourists entering, it's hard to believe there isn't some left over for restoration work.
It's easy to see the structure of modern stadiums are based on this design. The basics are all the same, ours are just modernised. I'm amazed that they were able to put a sail up over the top of the structure to shade the audience.
After about an hour and a half, it was time to leave the building and proceed to,the Roman Forum, entry to which was included in our ticket. We were asked to stay together as a group until we got near to the exit so Sabrina could retrieve the headsets from those who were staying at the Colosseum and guide those who weren't, to the Roman Forum. You guessed it, we arrived at the meeting point and one person was missing. We stood and waited for quite a while for her to rejoin the group...it didn't happen. Sabrina was getting impatient as she needed all the radios back however had a group of us who wanted to go to the Forum and we had to enter on one ticket. After waiting at least 15 mins, the girl hadn't turned up so we had to leave and hope Sabrina could catch up to her radio headset after she dropped us off.
We entered the Palantine Hill with the option of wandering around the whole area or just the Romun Forum. We spent about an hour there and decided it was time to find some lunch. We didn't get to the Romun Forum...maybe next time.
We found a nice little cafe near the Colosseum and Jenni and I enjoyed a tuna salad (yay, a break from pasta and pizza) and the kids shared a pizza and serve of pancakes. We also visited the supermarket across the road and bought a cooked chicken, potatoes and said for dinner (planning a ahead). And did I mention, a couple of beers. It was then off home for a rest before venturing out to do the boat trip we couldn't do yesterday.
We enjoyed a bit of down time and then the kids and I set off in the direction of the Colosseum to pick up the Hop On Hop Off bus to take us to the stop for the start of the boat trip. Jenni decided to give it a miss. We timed our arrival at the bus stop quite well and boarded about 5 minutes after it arrived and enjoyed the ride around to Stop 6. We checked whether the tape had been removed from the gate down to the river before we alighted....all good so off we went.
The boat was waiting so we boarded on the top level and were soon on our way. It was a beautiful afternoon to be on the river and we enjoyed the ride and the commentary. There was an upturned boat in the river last year when we did the trip and Sarah asked if it was still there...it was. We noticed quite a numbe r of homeless people with camps set up under the bridges. They might be a bit cold in a few months if they stay there. We spent about an hour on the river and then it was time to,head back to the bus stop to start the trip home. We forced ourselves to stop for gelato on the way home...all three of us had a €2 (2 flavours in a cup) and were getting close to finishing them when the bus arrived. You aren't allowed to eat on the bus so we were forcing the last bits down so we could put the cups in the bin before boarding. I had to sacrifice some of mine as I couldn't eat it quick enough...eating ice cream quickly = freeze headache.
We decided to go back to Termini and catch the 714 bus home as if we'd stayed on the hop on hop off, we'd have had a 20 minute wait before the bus left and a walk from the Colosseum to home on the other end. We timed this bus very well after buying our tickets at the kiosk across the road and were soon on our way. You can't buy tickets on the public bus...you need to buy before boarding.
We were home in about 15 minutes and Jenni had our dinner organised and a beer waiting for me....wonderful woman. We finished dinner, sat around and chatted and then headed for bed.