Colosseum and Roman Forum
I woke early this morning as I often do and enjoyed the predawn silence of the city. Unfortunately it was not close to 6:30 as first thought, it was instead 4:30am. I attempted to update the diary on the laptop but realised that touch typing in the dark was no longer a skill I possessed. I left the BOSS to sleep and wandered off towards Termini station to find an early morning cafe. A few hours and a few coffees later, I returned to the hotel to greet Stuart and Matt before we all headed off on the train to the Colosseum. We had arranged to meet Carla for a guided tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum but meeting somebody I had never met before and had no idea what they looked like was more difficult than I first thought. There were dozens of unofficial guides touting for the tourism dollar from the thousands of tourists milling around the forecourt. Carla worked for one of the legitimate official tourism organisations but the touters were reluctant (to the point of being obnoxious) to tell us where the official guides operated from. We finally managed to track down Carla and experienced a wonderful informative tour of the Colosseum from a true native. We met Chris for lunch and he took us to this wonderful little snazzy retro bar over looking the ancient monuments. Chris enlightened us about all the quirky idiosyncrasies of modern Roman life; the archaic phone and judicial systems; how to properly cross a road and how to find fresh spring water from the street fountains.
After lunch we once again met up with Carla and completed our tour with the Roman Forum. Even the BOSS commented on how much she had inadvertently learned listening to our wonderful guide. The only thing detracting from our perfect tour was the 33 degree heat and lack of shade.
Desperately seeking relief from the heat, the BOSS, the Boys and I dived into an air conditioned bar where we indulged in beer and gelati and were relieved of 30 euros for the pleasure.
The Boys had been in Italy for a few weeks and had already learnt most of the tricks and cons and most importantly how to find the best coffee and restaurants. On a recommendation from the concierge we had dinner in a tiny local tavern, The Reatina. The decor was as bad as the food was good! Our host for the evening was a fabulous character straight from "mamma's kitchen" and finally we experienced truly wonderful Italian cooking including the best home-made tiramisu I have ever tasted.