Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rome June 17-18

                                                                                 2 days in Rome.                      Trip to Date

Distance walked- miles.                                               19.3.                                      484.2

Gross climb - feet.                                                        387.                                     35,663

Song of the Day:  Roam by the B52's

Take it hip to hip rocking through the wilderness

Roam if you want to, roam around the world

Roam if you want to, without wings without wheels

Roam if you want to, roam around the world 

We had a terrific couple of days touring around Rome.  In true Mike and Linda fashion (well, probably Mike fashion....) we hiked everywhere, although we felt somewhat liberated without the weight of our backpacks.  In addition to touring, we got some housekeeping done, including going to a laundromat near Campo Fiori.  Every day, it was nice in the morning, but then started raining around 1:30.  This would continue for a couple of hours, then stop.  The rain would then start up again in the evening.  Fortunately, the rain cooled things down a bit and the weather was very comfortable for touring.

I have been to Rome many times in the past, and it seemed more crowded than ever.   I suspect this is a combination of the improving economies of the world and the new Pope.   In an case, it is a very vibrant and interesting place to visit.  

During our hikes, we encountered the usual list of suspects, including the Coloseum, Spanish Stairs, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Campo de' Fiori, Piazza Navona, etc.  Almost everyone of these places had some form of construction going on.  The Trevi Fountain for example was closed:

I was last in Rome in 2006 on the night that Italy won the World Cup.  On that night, the streets were jam packed with happy Italians and the Trevi fountain was filled with people splashing and dancing!  It was a wild and wonderful night in Rome, one that I will never forget.  By the way, Rome is gripped with World Cup fever.  Many of the restaurants and bars are advertising that they have special large screen tv's, brought in specially for the World Cup.  The games are on here at 6,8 and 10 PM, so very convenient for Europeans.  

We also walked by the Circus Maximus.  This is the huge track they used for chariot races (think Ben Hur).  In its day, Circus Maximus apparently held 250,000 people!  They were in the process of setting up for the Rolling Stones, who will play Sunday night.  Modern day gladiators!  

A common issue we heard a lot in Rome, and to a certain extent the rest of Italy, was complaining about immigration.  Interestingly, we had heard the same last year in Spain.  This seems to be a global issue, including the USA.  

Other highlights of our touring included the Colloseum:

Spanish Stairs:

Overlooking the Palatino:

The spectacular beauty of Piazza Navona:

One of my favorite shots was when we followed these two street musicians to their work one morning:

On Wed evening, we had dinner with Christian from Germany and his family.  Christian arrived in Rome on Tuesday, and his wife and two daughters joined him to celebrate the completion of his walk. You may recall that Christian started hiking from his home in Munich in early May, so he has had quite the journey.

On Thursday morning, we have a car taking us to the airport at 6 am for our flight to Geneva.  We will take a short train ride to Lausanne, and immediately begin the Swiss portion of the hike.  I'm glad we were able to get some rest in Rome, as we will need it.  These next few weeks of hiking will be very challenging-  in addition to the climb over the Alps, we will also have several lengthy days of hiking in the lower Alps of Northern Italy.   

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