Day Two: Paul Hemmings and the Spanish Steps, aged 47


We were up at a "Tourist" time of 8:45am, and we decided that today would be a good day to start on the Antiquity tour - The Coluseum, The Forum and the Tiber River.

Our itinery was planned overlooking the morning's deployment of the Carabineri.This involved a number of squad cars neatly parked opposite the hotel and about three mini-bus's of Roman Blue, armed with semi-automatic's of course! Our Hotel had quite a good balcony for this. Downstairs, the Carabineri appear to have decided to join us for coffee and toast as there was more police in the lobby than were in the street.

Finding the right bus was our next obstacle, so we decided that a walk through the Villa Borghese would be the pleasant thing to do on this warm day. Whilst looking at the attractions in the park, we noticed a funny looking milk float affair that had tyhe number 116 on it. Could this be a bus? Indeed it was, and it went in the direction we wanted to go.

The ride was just like being on a milk float complete with electric propulsion. Hats off to Rome for the contribution towards the environment.

This brought us to the Coluseum. I was most impressed with this and it's a lot bigger than I expected. About 150 ft in height.No sign of Russell Crowe though despite our best efforts to convince a couple of loverly ladies otherwise! After a guided tour around the Coluseum's many passages and levels, we headed for the exit and a rendevous with an American guide for the run down the old Roman Main Street. Even with my dodgy Black Country accent, I have never heard of the phrase "skootch". What's that all about? Anyway, we managed to grasp the essentials and we were taken through the Forum, the Vestal Virgin's Temple and then having had a look in the Senate - curious building, bit like St. Pauls Cathederal in London - we went on to find the Pantheon.

The thing about Rome is that most squares have at least two similar looking churches that border them. Therefore, we weren't quite sure that this was the Pantheon, until a sign assured us it was.

Time now to grab some lunch, and celebrate Paul's 47th Birthday! After downing a few beers and enjoying another pasta lunch it was settle the bill and decide our next course of action, the sweet! Or rather some nice Italian ice cream! Well in Rome.....

Paul Hemmings aged 47 with one of his five pints

After this we headed for the Trevi Fountain and what a fantastic structure this is. A very imposing and beautiful piece of stonework. After taking some photographs, we did the ritual of throwing some coins in the fountain; as everyone else was doing it, why not join in. This reminded me that Berlin lacks a good fountain. Possibly too romantic for the Teutonic's and Dave Orton. It looked fantastic in the warm spring sunshine and the colour of the water made you feel invigorated.

After all this culture we were quite tired, so to prepare for the evening's entertainment, we headed back to the militarized zone and slept for a good hour, safe in the knowledge that there were now Police staying in the Hotel as well as outside. Considering the lack of Policing in England these days, what were the chances of twenty youths kicking up the begonia's or throwing beer bottles around in this street? Youth's hanging around seems such a bad British culture.

Three coins in the Trevi Fountain

Anyway, after a wash and brush up, it was time to head for food and drink and we went back to a square we had spotted earlier in the day, near the Pantheon again via the 116 Electric bus.

The resturant selected boasted a good menu and not too expensive by even Kürfurstendamn standards! But the main attraction was this beliisimo German Waitress from Bavaria. The others from Hungary and Sweden weren't bad either. Any would have been good luggage - had they decided to accept the offer of doing the ironing for their board, but that's another story to be relayed by Mr Hemmings.

So have suffered the Continental rejections, more beer was called for and we headed for the Spanish Steps. Here we found a large group of youg people enjoying themsleves quitely singing some Beatles songs with a few guitars and sipping some wine. Not one of them was out of order, and anybody could join in! Why can't our youth behave like this?

Next stop was a nearby bar were we bought loads of expensive beer and told stories of Berlin and Canada and put the world to rights. Then, as Rome is like Edinburgh - a walking town - we hoofed it two miles back to the safety of Carabineriland and World Politics and at 1:30 am, sleep.

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