Wednesday 13/06 - Friday 15/06 (Morning)
Waking up to additional days in Rome was such a blessing. It was so wonderful to know we had two more nights in the same bed, 2 full days to continue exploring the city, after spending the previous two weeks moving every other day.
We had picked up milk, juice and breakfast cereal at the small supermarket at Termini the night before, so after a leisurely breakfast, we headed off to the Colosseum. On Tuesday afternoon, we had found a visitor centre and bought a Roma Pass. I cannot recommend the Roma Pass enough - 3 days metro, and instead of a 2+ hour wait at the Colosseum, we waited less than 10 minutes (in fact, it was even substantially faster than the tour groups). We decided to buy an audio guide, which had some interesting facts on it, and definitely gave us an excuse to linger a bit longer inside than we probably would have otherwise.
From there, we met up with Karrie-Ann, Jo and Sophie, who had done the Colosseum the afternoon before and then been in the Roman Forum that morning (they had all left the tour too, obviously). We wandered back toward the Victor Emmanuel Monument, and grabbed pizza slices from a local shop just up a side street, before grabbing a spot in the shade to eat. I also whipped in to the pharmacy to grab some heavy duty cough liquid, as it was time to finally try and knock this cold on the head.
We followed the tasty lunch (turns out cheese and brocolli pizza is actually quite good) with a wander all the way through the city - past the Pantheon again (including stopping for gelato - strawberry chocolate & meringue flavour for me, yum!), through the Piazza Navona, down random side streets and eventually to the Castel St Angelo, which was a bit of a let-down, but free on the Roma Pass, and shady.
Heading out from there, we passed a market, where Sophie managed to haggle with a vendor to get something down from 12Euro to 5, before stopping for a rest at the Piazza del Popolo and then jumping on the Metro for the trip home. Mark and I grabbed dinner at an American style restaurant, which was exactly what we needed after a busy, tiring day, especially when the area we were in had no "traditional" italian restaurants that we could find!
The sky was gorgeous in the early evening, and it was still warm, so we headed back to the Colosseum (again) for me to take night time photos of it, which was actually really fun, even though I was exhausted.
Thursday morning, after another sleep in, it was our turn to visit the Roman Forum. It was included in our Colosseum ticket (and if you dont want to buy a Roma Pass, we recommend buying your two-location ticket at the Forum, and doing the Colosseum second, so you can skip the queue that way), which was good, because without a guide it was quite dull. Plus there was no shade, and it was far and away the hotest day we had had all holiday.
Grabbing lunch a couple of blocks off the Pantheon, we watched LOTS of protestors congregating in the area, who we found to be hanging around at the doors to the Pantheon, being watched by a LOT of very heavily armed police. It was a little scary, as we had seen news of rioting before we left home. But we grabbed another gelato and sat to watch for a little while. Unfortunately, it took us a long time to find a way out of the area towards the Spanish Steps because the access roads were all blocked by police.
There were a lot of police everywhere we went for the next little while - increasing numbers of them. This made us a little nervous, as we had no idea what was going to happen next. But we made our way to the Spanish Steps, climbed them, then took the Metro back to our hotel. Where I slept for about 4 hours (ie all afternoon), which left me still feeling exhausted at dinner time (so we ate at yet another diner at Termini).
Friday morning all there was to do was pack up and check out, which we duly did before heading to the airport to fly to Berlin. Fiumincino is not one of my favourite airports, but at least the train out there was easy to catch!