Hi every body
This is my 3rd and 4th days in Rome. We had an early flight home on the 4th day so not much of it but the 3rd was very eventful !
DAY THREE Fri 3rd November
Set my alarm for 6.30am today as mum and I wanted to go to mass at 8am, our friends decided to come at the last minute. I thought it would be nice at The Pantheon knowing that it is the church of Santa Maria ad Martyres I presumed there would be an early mass, as in most Catholic churches. we planned to get the metro but we were running late, so I asked reception to call a taxi, I also asked if I could take out breakfast, The lady that waited on in the breakfast room was fine about it, but the guest behind me in the queue was huffing and puffing at me loading 4 pastries into a bag.
As we took a taxi the previous night from Corso to Pyramid for 8e's we presumed it would be a similar price, ( by the way the taxi driver that brought us home the previous night was so nice, and chatty, he even opened the doors for us and we regretted not taking his mobile number) Anyway, the taxi that turned up was not an official one, it seemed a bit of an old jalopy ( british slang :: clapped out .
Kaput ) but as it was now 7.50am we had no choice but to take it. He was a very aggressive driver, banging his horn and the wheel, and would not engage in any conversation. He took us through tiny streets that were blocked with delivery vans and he would be beeping and cursing. Any way he dropped us right outside to the right of The Pantheon, and charged 14 e's, a big difference from the previous night !!
Soon as I saw the Pantheon( by this time it was 8.10am ) I was over whelmed with emotion, it was on my MUST see list ( mum had already seen it, it was her 3rd time in Rome .... those coins in the fountain DO work ) Seeing it early morning and no crowds was awesome ! The sun was pouring in the Piazza della Rotonda from behind the Pantheon and hitting the fountain an awesome sight ( sorry waffling again, ) ......
Any way we arrived at the door and there was a barrier across and I could see there was no mass, the 2 chaps in the glass booth looked at us as though we were Aliens , I explained I thought there was a mass and he freaked out ,shouting that they were open at 8.30, I explained we were Catholic looking for a mass not just tourists, he still went on. I got quiet upset at his attitude and started to cry ( don't get me wrong I don't usually get upset by rude men, it was just the emotion of the moment, seeing the Pantheon, I was bordering on tears then, and feeling guilty that I'd dragged every one out early ) he walked off an my friends and mum comforted me, I think it was months of exitement and stress all flooding out. My friend shouted after him that he was a very rude man. Then after a couple of minutes he came back and his attitude had softened, he asked if I was ok and directed us to other churches that had mass, the two we tried did not have mass till 10am,
So we went back to Rotunda and decided to get a coffee at Mc donalds and eat our pastries sat at the fountain, little did we know Mcd's don't sell coffee ! ( I presume it would take business off the other cafes ) they don't do bacon and egg muffins either !! ( sorry not very cultured I know but I love 'em ! and I was upset !!! thats my excuse !! ) We ate our pastries with water from the drinking fountain and by this time the Pantheon was open.
We entered and the "rude man " gave us a big smile, inside was fabulous,better than I had imagined, spent about 3/4 hour looking round took loads of pics etc. By this time it was about 9.30 and we decided to split up our friends wanted to go back to try the Sistene Chapel again ( afer not getting in the previous day ) Mum and I ambled round the square sitting on the wall then went in a nice little cafe to right and had cappuccino's only 2.50e whereas 4.50 on square ( i'm not penny pinching had plenty to spend but don't like getting ripped off !!)
Looked at my guidebook and realised one of the churches we had looked for mass was San Luigi dei Francesi and housed Caravaggio paintings, went in and strolled round and came to them again I was very emotional. They were the Calling of St Mathew , The Martyrdom of St Mathew and Mathew and the Angel. then strolled to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, seen Bernini's elephant. and inside Michelangelo's Christ Bearing the Cross . Bought some postcards with these works of art on. Then ambled to Piazza Navona the Fountain of the Four Rivers was boarded up which was disappointing my son wanted pics of that ( Angels and Demons freak!!! and me )The square looks so different in the day bit dissapointing, its fabulous by night!
We then headed back to Rotonda, and cut through to Corso we were going to get the Metro to Colosseo, ( on the way, a little side street with a Spar super market really reasonable, got 5 packs of Pocket Coffee !! ) But seen the Vittoriano Monument and realised we could walk easy. Glad we did else would have missed Trajens Column and markets, I'm a real Ancient history buff, so spent a while there, was very quiet, not busy at all.
While i was stood snappinfg away at photos , I noticed mum talking to a lady with children and a man running fast along the pavement, went to see what was up, The lady said her husband had been pickpocketed and he had ran after them, turned out that 2 girls tried to sell them someting and held ther hands to stop them walking off, then held a card with prices on in front of their faces. The chap, still refusing to buy pulled away, next thing he checked his front trouser pocket and his money had gone so chases them. He then came back huffing and puffing with his money in hand, he caugtht them and confronted them and they gave it back saying that he dropped it so they picked it up. Luckily with it not being busy they could not disappear in the crowd.
That drama over we headed to the Forum which again was awesome my favourite after The Pantheon, was getting on for 2pm by now so rang our pals to tell them where we were. They had tried the Sistene, queued up for ages, then turned away about 12.20pm as it was closing ( earlier in Winter ) They had gone back to the hotel, for a rest ( think they were at a loose end being 1st time in Rome and I had the guidebook ) Then my money on my Pay-as u-go ran out , that call cost me £5 !!!! ( my phone kept changing networks every yime I switched on !! ) my son later told me you get charged for that.Any way they knew we were at the Forum, but we did not meet up all day ( they did get there, but we missed each other
By now after good stroll round Forum it was 3.30pm so got tickets for Palatine Big mistake !!!!!! should have gone to Capitoline ( I told you my head was all over the place ) 11e for me, which included Colosseo but would not have time to go any way !!!! as it was 3.30 closing. My mum got in free with being an EU pensioner, she showed photo copy of passport, but she kindly split the cost with me, after much refusal from me, but she said I'd payed the Taxi in the morning.. Any bit disappionted , did not know what I was looking at. Went in the Palatine museum for 10mins then got threw out as it was closing, so big waste of time and money.
Sat underaArch of Constantine to see if we could spot our pals coming out of Colosseo ( thought they might have gone there ) but no luck 5pm and decided to head back to Hotel, we were only 2 stops away..Got talking to an Irish family on metro they were lovely. Bit of a drama on Metro, I thought someone had fell near the door as it closed, turned out, so this Irish chap said, gypsies picked a pocket, what they do is whip a wallet out back pocket just as someone gets off, and drop it on the floor, the doors then shut and the gypsies picked the wallet up ....I did nnt see but saw a commotion.
Reached Piramide looking forward to a nice meal later, the roads were very busy, any way, walking on the pavement which was quite uneven, seen mum through the corner of my eye fall, it all happened so quick, she was literally flat on her face, I was so scared and screamed Oh no!!!!!. A lovely Italian lady stopped and helped me get my mum up she was very shaken and blood was pouring from her nose. the lady wanted to call an ambulance but mum insisted no ,she gave us a pack of tissues and left after mum insisting she was ok but I knew she wasn't I was sure she had broke her nose, she just wanted to get back to the hotel. Strange when you need a taxi there never is one !! I once commented on how many taxis there were in Rome. any way another lady passed ( not many people around ) and I asked her were to get a taxi and she just pointed and carried on walking. I presume d she meant the station so I told mum not to move and I run Back to the station , no taxis in sight run back and saw mum surrounded by 5 Italian men all shouting, I thought they were about to rob her and I thought surely not, But they were trying to help and wanted to lead her off to a bar to sit down and get cleaned up and another was arguing to phone an ambulance. Mum got quite panicked and upset, telling them she was waiting for me, as I would not know were they had taken her , I think they thought she was alone. then this Italian guy started shouting at me for leaving her alone, they were genuinely concerned, anyhow told them I was looking for a Taxi and they kindly flagged one for us.
got back to hotel and had to walk the 3 flights of stairs to room lay mum down on the bed made hot cup of sweet tea and put freshen-up wipes in mini bar and kept a cold compress on eyes and nose. Bleeding had stopped by now and luckily it was just a bust nose, not broken and a little cut on her lip, and bridge of her nose were her glasses had dug in..By now about 6pm and mum had a sleep, kept an eye on her though. Went to knock on pals door and they were still out, came in 1/2 hour later and I told them what happened. Mum slept till 7.30pm, I said I would stay in an get a pizza with her but she insisted on going out for dinner Went Insalata Riccas round the corner ( 9pm) and mum was fine, very very lucky could have been a lot worse, we laughed about the 5 Italian guys arguing over her and telling me off ( my mum is a tough lady ) was in hotel by 10pm and threw every thing in cases for early start home in morning then went to bed. What a day !!!!
DAY FOUR sat 4th nov
Not much to say about today as we left hotel at 7.15am, Except mum did not have black eyes which we thought she would, she was fine. Asked hotel to ring a taxi to Termini ( was dreading getting that same bloke with the jalopy !!) but no, it was a nice official taxi and a nice friendly chap that chatted all the way of how much he love London and cheap flights,Terravision was a little late leaving Termini ( 8am should have left at 7.45 ) but every thing fine. little rushed at Ciampino long queues, no time for duty free or coffee, just had to get straight on plane........
Well thats it what an eventful few days in Rome...... This time last week were strolling down Via Condotti just gone by in a flash..
So jealous of all you lucky people that are ready for the off,, but I will return ..maybe spring, there was so much that I missed ( mum said she,s too old for sightseeing now think it put her off, wants a relaxing holiday next time. We ;ve seen Venice this year too and Lake Garda last year ) but seen most of my must sees....Any questions just fire away will be glad to help if I can!!