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Day One in Rome - March 11, 2003

View Photos from March 11 (112 images)

We were up before 8am this time and headed up to the beautiful terrace for breakfast where Neil had his Italian coffee, mmmm. By 9:45 we were out of the hotel going down the Vial del Corso to the Monumento a Vittorro Emmanuele II. The Italians don't care for this huge white monument and call it the wedding cake monument because it looks like the top of a bride's cake. We stopped on the way at one of the many tourist booths and picked up a tour book which numbered the monuments in the Forum. Ginger wanted to have a better idea of what we were looking at since we didn't have a tour guide.

We continued down the street to the Coliseum beginning our tour on the south end and continuing clockwise to the west, then up to the second level and to the east. We had an audiophone and Xeroxed brochure to guide us on our visit. You just push the number corresponding to the place you're standing to hear what the guide has to say about that particular spot. We stayed in the Coliseum for quite some time before moving in to the Forum.

Our first stop was the Arc of Titus, then the arc of Septimus Severus. Some of the monuments had been labeled, which we found very helpful in our up, down, and around of the Forum. We grabbed lunch from a sidewalk stand, peach tea and a type of pizza thing. We loved the tea! Then we headed back to the hotel for a rest. About 5pm it was off to the Pantheon, now designated as "Christian" and the Piazza Navono.

It was dinner time and we walked toward the hotel knowing there were plenty of restaurants to choose from in that area. The nicely dressed waiters of La Laconda del Tempio were practically ushering passers by into empty seats. We didn't mind and the food turned out to be wonderful! Neil paid with his credit card, and when the waiter brought back the check and the card, he handed the check to sign to Neil, and the credit card to Ginger adding, "and for you, shopping tomorrow"! We had already made up our mind to get gelato that evening and found a very small ice cream shop, the Oasis. Neil would say that they had the best ice cream he'd ever had in all his life. It was Mon Cheri flavor (you can find Mon Cheri candy here in the US) meaning it was deep dark chocolate with cherry. He also had Frangelico flavor, a liquor type, while Ginger had green apple and tiramisu. The gelato doesn't taste anything like American ice cream. Gelato flavors are extremely intense. Simply fabulous.

It was getting dark but we headed to Trevi Fountain. Tons of people go there to just hang out in the evenings while the rather annoying rose sellers try to give roses to the ladies and take the money from the men. Ginger noticed a French family of three taking pictures and offered to take one of all three of them. They were happy to find someone who spoke French. Then they took our picture in return. After a few more minutes hanging out at the fountain, we called it a night and went back home to our hotel.