After a few hours on the bus from Assisi, we finally arrived back in Rome. Mum and I had decided that if we made it back to Rome early enough in the day, we would make our way to the Colosseum as it wasn’t part of our tour and we had missed it the first time around. Thankfully we made it back at about 3:30 in the afternoon and after waiting for our bags to get to our room for about half an hour and plotting our course through the streets of Rome, we headed out on our own for the Colosseum, hoping not to get lost.
Mapping the walk on my Google Maps app the walk wasn’t too far. 3.9km to be exact which was due to take us about 45 minutes. I think it ended up taking us a bit longer than that, as my phone had some sort of conniption on the way, so we had to go it alone for some of the way until it sorted itself out. We didn’t get lost in this time, just took it a bit slower. So in the end it probably look us around an hour and the walk itself made me dislike Rome a little less. When you’re walking through the streets with the residents of the city, rather than being stuck with masses of tourist groups, it’s rather nice. It was great to see parts of the city that aren’t included in the tours and to just be wandering around.
The first moment we saw the Colosseum itself, is one of the most thrilling moments in my life. One of my favourite subjects in high school was Ancient History and I was always fascinated by the Romans and their enormous amphitheatre. Reading about so much that happened there and then actually being there was an almost surreal feeling. We had ended up timing our walk perfectly. When we first arrived, the sun was just beginning it’s descent for the night, so we got some great photos while it was still a little higher in the sky. But when it really started to go down, the light on that structure was something completely magical. Gone was the cold white marble that we had been amazed at moments before. In it’s place was stone that looked like it would burn you if you had dared to touch it. There were masses of people waiting on a grassy area nearby, just waiting for the sun to go down completely and to photograph the building with the lights on. But I don’t think it could ever be more beautiful than when the last rays of the sun were hitting it.
We didn’t get to go in though. By the time we had finished snapping our trillions of photos, the sun was well and truly getting below the horizon and it was time to head back to the hotel before it was too dark. We treated ourselves to a gelato for the walk back, which was a worthy reward for such a grand adventure. We did get a little lost on the walk back – once the sun had gone down everything started to look different and despite my trusty Google Maps, we got turned around. A tip for travellers to Rome – the street signage there is terrible, so make sure you take PROPER notice of landmarks as well (which we didn’t). We eventually made it back to the hotel at around 8pm and didn’t particularly feel like going out for dinner as we were very tired and sore. So we went to the little convenience shop around the corner, grabbed some cheese, crackers and cold meat and had a picnic in our room. Tomorrow we would be beginning our journey to the south of Italy – first stop, Pompeii.