Today, I shall pick up on my Europe Tour travelogue from where I stopped a couple weeks ago…
[Sept 13, 2007]
After Venice, our next stop was Roma [Rome], the capital city of Italy. To be honest, I don’t remember much of what happened here. I do remember the bus ride from Venice to Rome took 8 hours. I do remember that this city was also as crowded as Venice. I also remember that we did the most walking on the entire trip here.
That morning, the tour bus dropped us off at the most famous tourist attraction of Rome, the Amphitheatrium Flavium [Flavian Amphitheatre].
What? You have never heard of this place before? Well… this one…
I guess it is because you know it by the more commonly known name, Il Colosseo. The Colosseum.
Right next to the Colosseum is a very historic monument, but perhaps not so well known to the rest of the world. The Arco di Costantino [Arch of Constantine] is a triumphal arch, much like that very famous one in Paris. It was built to commemorate some battle with the Roman emperor Constantine won.
We did not enter the Colosseum. According to Paul, admission was €10 and most of the interior was under recovery works so there was nothing much to see. And we were on a tight schedule…
There was something else that was also €10 that we did not do.
“Bro, how much for a picture with you guys?” “€10”
€10 for a f**king picture? Thanks… but no thanks….
We spent like, 30 minutes at the Colosseum before Paul got impatient and hushed us along to our next destination. We pissed him off by making a lot of stops on the way. For example, when we spotted this statue, we all decided to stop for pictures..
I mean, come on man, it’s Julius Caesar. How can we NOT stop for a picture, right?
And then we arrived at our next destination: Forum Traiani [Trajan’s Forum].
A forum is like a public square, a center of activities for the people. In the old days, the early A.Ds, there was Forum Romanum [Roman Forum], and the Roman emperors built their own forums around this Roman Forum. These forums are collectively known as the Imperial Fora. I guess the forums are to the Roman emperors, what the pyramids are to the Egyptian pharaohs: a symbol of power, to see whose cock is bigger or something..
Today, most of the forums are in ruins. The one that is still relatively intact is this Trajan’s Forum, so this was where Paul stopped from us to take photos.
Right across the road from Trajan’s Forum is another place of significant importance to the Romans. The Altare della Patria [Altar of the Fatherland] was built to honor the fallen Italian soldiers of World War 1.
Oh, yeah. Have I mentioned how crowded Rome is?
Anyway, from the forums, we made our way to the next attraction: Fontana di Trevi [Trevi Fountain].
Now, I can tell you a bunch of history and grandmother stories regarding how this fountain came about, I won’t. People come here not for the history. You see, there is a Chinese name for this place, and that Chinese name is 罗马许愿池 [Wishing Fountain of Rome]. So now you know why this fountain is famous, and why people come here?
So, how do you make a wish at this fountain? Why, by throwing coins into the fountain, of course! But there is a special procedure to do this. First, you need three coins. If you use just one coin, it would not work! Then, you sit down on the side of the fountain, and hold your coins on your right hand, like how we did in the picture below.
Then you throw the coins, from your right hand, over your left shoulder, into the fountain. Then your wish will come true…
I forgot what I wished for, it was so long ago, but I’m pretty sure it did come true… 😉
And then… and then… and then Rome was so friggin’ hot that we quickly ducked into a shop to get something cold.
Yeah, this was my first gelato experience. Before gelato became popular in Malaysia, I had already tasted real gelato in Italy!
Paul was not impressed though. We wasted more precious minutes getting these sweet treats instead of continuing with our walking tour of Rome. So after we bought our ice creams, we quickly made our way to the next attraction.
Piazza di Spagna [Spanish Square], I have no idea why this place is called as such. I suppose it is a place where the Spanish people in Rome used to live in. Paul did some explanations here, but we were too busy eating our gelato to pay much attention to him.
Anyway, we paid enough attention to know the three items of interest to see here…
We were running late, so we did not linger long here. It was another place with lots of people, so it did not leave much of an impression on me…
Running late for where? For… the smallest country in the world. And I shall talk about this smallest country in the world in my next post…