We all slept great last night so jet lag must be wearing off abit. I washed clothes in the sink and left them at the hostel with our backpacks to dry when we left this morning.
So Morgan and I are usually DIY people that figure our maps and routes and plans out ourselves and try not to do the average tourist thing but today we voted to do the 2.5 hour Colosseum tour. Our guide was this incredibly knowledgeable guy who was an archeologist and had worked on tombs in Egypt and also on ruins in Rome across from the Colosseum so he could tell us literally anything we asked. First of all, the Colosseum is absolutely huge. The amount of manpower used to build it must have been incredible. Many of the ancient buildings here, be it house, important buildings, pillars, make the more modern buildings look small and dinky. They are all huge with massive arches and wide, marble steps. The outside of the Colosseum has lots of holes in it from past rulers taking the iron anchors off the outside and melting them for weapons and part of the Colosseums outermost wall is missing due to it crumbling off in the earthquake.
We walked through the ground floor arch into the Colosseum and were blown away by the sheer size of it. I’ll admit I’ve been in stadiums before but nothing ever compared to the size of the inner Colosseum. The walls are crumbling but you can see the tiers where different Roman castes sat. Check it out here! http://famouswonders.com/colosseum-seating/
It was so humbling to stand where the sand would have covered the floor as the Christians faced their last moments alive. We saw the underground rooms where they were ket and the places where cages were built holding the lions.
We learned Nero became emperor when he was 17 years old and ruled until he was 31 when he committed suicide, and that because he thought so highly of himself, he had a statue of him built nearly as tall as the statue of liberty that likened him to the Greek god Apollo. I also learned that the Colosseum floor was turned into a dramatic scene when there were games held. They used real bushes and planted trees and flowers and used whatever they needed to make it an actual scene for whatever they were needing. The amount of Christian, and other, history is overwhelming and when I stood there and thought of all these things, I felt so small. Also if any of you have read the Mark of the Lion books, those are what I’ve thought of many times today.
Then we toured the Roman Forum which was the heart and soul of the old city, housing shops, politics and more in its day. Now a rough path meanders through it and you see bay leaf trees, olive trees, and rosemary growing in the ruins. We walked up Palatine Hill where we could overlook the Roman Forum and Colosseum, one of the most amazing views I’ve seen, in a historical way of course.
From there we walked to get lunch at Pizza Forum, a place recommended by our guide. The pizza we’ve had so far varies between places depending on the region the owner is from. This was more of a puffy crust compared with the super thin basically no crust wed had the day before. We got pasta and a pizza to share.
We stopped on the way to see the Ludus Magnus where they trained gladiators. It had a tunnel that connected it to the Colosseum as well. The Roman political scene was barbaric, as they picked out promising gladiators and made heroes of them while in return they were forced to fight. If they chose not to fight, the Roman government could send them to the lions as an example to other people of Rome.
After lunch we took the train back to the hostel and got our bags, then took the 2.5 hour train ride down to Naples, or Napoli. I slept and the boys talked with the guy across the aisle who used to live in California. The countryside is beautiful with lots of small rolling green hills, acres of grape vines, and Spanish style houses set in groves of olive and cedar trees. Most of the people we’ve met here dont speak English at all which is pretty cool. Another funny th(I)ng: we met a Hawaiin family in the airport on the flight here and we have met up with them several times and chatted with them! its crazy to see each other in a city this big and crowded, we tell each other again when we’ve seen them for the third time! Haha
We arrived in Naples at 6 this evening and saw highrises in the distance. Not quite skyscrapers but more modern and taller than anything in Rome. The hostel we are at is called Hostel of the Sun and is ran by an Iranian man who is awesome and helped us out with all kinds of suggestions. It’s a cool place with lots of friendly people and were sharing our room tonite with a girl from Malaysia and one from Germany so it’s fun talking to them. We also met a couple from Bay City, Michigan, which made me happy. We took the guys suggestion of his favorite pizza place and walked up alleys and streets until we found it. We ate outside and listened to people talking through windows to each other, and the sounds of supper dishes clinking, and the chirps of parakeets on a second story balcony.
The pizza was the best yet. Margarita pizza with buffalo cheese and basil and tomatoes and a coke and tiramisu to top it off.
We walked a bit more after supper and took the taxi home. Also the drivers here are horrible, I cant stress it enough. Ours was zipping past pedestrians and honking and squeezing between cars and motos but wait. We look over and he’s on Facebook just scrolling through. I was finished. The first taxi guy I tried to barter with but unfortunately he called my bluff and refused my high offer of 6 euros and drove off to better customers haha.
The guys played games with some guys from Spain and i showered and now I’m in the bottom bunk writing. We decided after supper we could all go home 100% happy with the trip now but luckily we have a few days left! Have a good night!