The white haired, kind faced woman made it clear in Italian that she wanted me and the “bambino” to sit across from her on the very crowded bus. I think she nudged the man who was in it, out for us, but he was still all smiles. We had a nice conversation with her (in a mix of Italian, Spanish and gestures) and several people on our bus ride from the campsite into the Colosseum area.
One of the great joys of using public transportation is talking to and getting a real feeling for what real life is like in an area. I enjoy these chance conversations, people and glimpses into daily life as much as the famous sights. A young child (and carrying a violin sometimes like today) tends to make these things a regular occurrence in our lives and we are all richer for them. We got a little lost on the way to the sites we set out to see, but made up for that with the memorable people that touched our hearts with their warmth and smiles.
My friends from Slow Talk forums (http://www.slowtalk.com) gave me some good advice on what to see in a short time in Rome with a young child, but we could not do it all. Now that I see how crowded and hot it is in May, I can only hope it will be better in late fall when we return. We would like to see more but I don’t like to tour in heat or crowds, especially in busy cities. Sill we got a nice taste of Rome which gives us another chapter in our ancient civilization studies.
Our bus let us off at Plaza Venezia near the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Colosseum and Arch of Constatine, so we had plenty of great things to see as we walked around. We certainly knew we were in Rome as all the pictures we had seen of well known places came to life and most things were much larger than we imagined. DaVinci has toured Rome before, but this was the first time for Mozart and me. We were all glad to explore this park like setting and heart of ancient Rome.
The massive Colosseum could hold 80,000 people in its time and the eighty gates, huge travertine marble columns and arches still awe us today with the two thousand year old society that created it. Mozart loves gladiators so she got a real idea on exactly how that was done, as well as enjoying getting a very touristy picture with the Roman guards hanging around in this area. Seeing the Forum, the political and religious center of ancient Rome, brought history to life along with archeology excavations.
We even had lunch at a nearby restaurant called “Gladatore” eating Italian pizza, risotto and pasta outside with a birds eye view of one of the Colosseum walls. Of course she could not miss the famous gelato either and had one of those earlier when we were walking around.
We got some great video of her fiddling like Nero on her violin with the Colosseum in the background and she caused a little stir in that and suddenly dozens of people wanted to add that photo to their collection. We thought we were in a discreet little spot atop a marble broken column, but it is a hard thing to do unnoticed in a popular place like this and will probably get even harder as we travel more in high season.
With a blog, some things are just odd like shooting this video or taking pictures of our food in restaurants, but one has to do what you have to do. Nobody really cares and I suppose it is all just part of the freedom of being a tourist. I just read about one blogger who is doing a round the world trip who has people take pictures of her doing cartwheels at famous spots. She will have some unique pictures and we will have some unique violin videos as a souvenir for life, so certainly worth the trouble. Mozart is getting like a pro, handling all the attention while keeping focus.