After spending over 24 hours in bed the day before, I woke up and left around 6:30am to see the Colosseum/Colosseo at sunrise. It was beautiful! The street lights were still on and the sun was just beginning to shine. The air was crisp and clear. It was freezing though! I enjoyed seeing the city so early in the morning. I feel as if it made our time here, in rome, even more special. The ginormous crowds were no where to be seen. We were also first in line to see the Colosseum! The gates did not open until 8:30am, but we made sure we were in line by 7:45am!
The Colosseum itself is breathtaking. Pictures cannot capture the Colosseum and all its beauty. When you begin to walk through, you cannot help but stand in awe and wonder. As you walk along the columns or up the stairs, you may catch yourself visualizing what it was like so long ago. There is a cross standing in a “perfect” spot. It has a perfect view of the entire arena! It is said to be the spot where Caesar would sit or stand during any event.
When you are inside the Colosseum, you can find two little gift shops filled with souvenirs! Like always, I had to stop and buy a few little trinkets. My favorite part about these shops is when you walk outside. On the second floor, if you turn to your right, there are breathtaking views of the city.
By the time we got out of the Colosseum, we were starving. Luckily, we found a tiny little restaurant called “Bar Circo Massimo.” The food was very good here. We enjoyed it so much so that we even came back for dinner! For lunch, we each ordered a sandwich, water and/or coffee, and some desert! I really enjoyed their Tiramisu. One of the nicest things about Italy is that you do not tip. We stayed for over an hour. We were never rushed or forced to leave after we finished our meal. We were able to sit, plan out the rest of our day, and pay whenever we were ready to go.
After our late breakfast, we walked over to Circo Massimo. This is where the Romans would have chariot races. The track was so long that it can take over 20 minutes to walk from one side of the field to another! Many years ago, this area was enclosed, unfortunately, it is mostly ruins now. There are broken pilars everywhere. Underground tunnels too. Even a small tower that overlooks the track.
We also went to Palatine Hill/Palatino. This place used to be a gigantic castle. You can see where homes were built. Some areas have empty pools and bathtubs. Since this castle is on a hill, you have access to great views of the city. On one side, you have a view of Circo Massimo. On the other side, you have a direct view of the Roman Forum as well as the rest of the city, like St. Peter’s dome!
It’s around 2 or 3pm and we are already exhausted! We continue to walk and explore as much as possible. We passed by the Roman Forum, negotiated and sometimes even dodged crazy vendors, as well as admiring the beautiful view from an unknown building.
Around 4pm, we decided to go back to our hostel to change and get ready for the new years eve celebration. Little did we know, New Years Eve celebrations usually do not start until 10pm. We had 4 hours to kill! So we went to a bar to sit and relax… until they kicked us out.. then we layed on walls for a couple hours… finally we decided to get some food. We went back to the place we had lunch at and ordered pasta, wine, and even a little more desert. When it finally hit 10pm, we headed over to Circo Massimo for the concert and live performances. It was amazing! There were Acrobats, drummers attatched themselves to harnesses and were lifted into the air by crane, a classical music band playing cellos, violins, etc. Fireworks went off all around us, including at the Colosseum. It was spectacular! One of my favorite parts was counting down to the new year. The whole place was filled with people from all over the world. Everyone counted down in their own language too.
After 24 hours of walking, laughing, bickering, and exploring, I was exhausted! Took me about one whole day to recover. Despite the craziness, I’m glad I got to experience this. We may bicker at times, but we will always have this time to laugh and reminisce about in the future. Happy New Year everyone!! I hope your New Years is filled with many adventures and new experiences!