Italian Memories

Sunday, June 5, 2005 - written by Sue Wyatt

Romans at the Colloseum

Today we saw Imperial Rome. Our schedule shifted because we sang at St. Peter's on Friday night. We checked out of the hotel and drove to the Colloseum, where we split into two groups and walked down the hill with our two guides - "Umbrella" and "Orange Scarf." Some ancient gladiators greeted us at the site. The Colloseum is an amazing structure - built in 6 years and gleaming white (then!). The floor was of wood and covered with sand with halls and cages below for the gladiators and the animals. We wandered all around and had a short rest before most everyone went on to the Forum. Because I had a blister the size of Chicago on my right foot and Domenico advised that walking in the Forum was difficult and uneven and also not passable by wheelchair, Tim, Phillip, Domenico and I took a shortcut where we met the rest of the group as they exited the Forum. One wonderful thing that the vendors happily sell here is a frozen bottle of water - great to drink and even greater to rub along my hot, hot neck! The site where we met the rest of the group (most recently, the bus parking lot) is being excavated with new archeological findings.

We walked about 28 miles (Sue miles, not actual miles!) to Trevi Fountain, an extremely busy and small plaza, where we were warned to be careful of pickpockets and other bad guys. We were given time for lunch and a group of us let a local guy lead us down an alley to what ended up to be a wonderful restaurant. Most of us had bruschetta - delicious! We returned to the fountain, where I threw in my two coins (seemed the thing to do, being newly divorced, to wish to be married??). When it was time to leave, we were missing the Hancocks - found them 25 minutes later along with their watch that had chosen that moment in time to lose time!! Jim Hays also had an adventure - he sat down to rest with a couple of the aforementioned bad guys who were maced by the local polizia. Once the officers were informed Jim was a tourist, they were quite apologetic and parted friends. Not sure how long it took Jim to lose the effect of the mace, but definitely a memorable experience!

Arriving in Montecatini

We walked (again) to board our beautiful bus, said "Arrivederci, Roma" and drove through the lovely scenery of Tuscany to Montecatini Terme, our hotel destination while we visit Florence. Many napped on the bus, and I learned that Brenda is a Scrabble hustler. Our hotel is very nice - some actually have suites (and some of us don't!) and many of us have shower stalls with toilets and bidets in them (AKA the bathroom)! By the third night Jodi and I figured out we could put towels down on the floor around the shower and it did minimize the flooding of the rest of the room. Our bathroom also had a step down into the hotel room, which would have been nice to remember that fateful night when I staggered out of the bathroom and landed flat on my face!

Our dinner tonight was at another hotel a few blocks away. We had risotto with tomato sauce, beefsteak, spinach, and flan (or whatever Italians call it) for dessert. Oh - and two bottles of chianti. I sat at the "laughing" table and learned that when you laugh long and hard enough, you can't breathe! Some of us stayed behind to watch Madlen and Philip tango with Kent at the (out of tune) keyboard. Tango evolved into salsa and then a little Phantom of the Opera for spice. When the hotel staff told us to quiet it down, that people were trying to sleep, we sang "Go Ye Now in Peace" and left. We went back to our hotel and I went to the gelato joint across the street to mingle with others. Mrs. Julie made us go to bed after awhile (she thought!). Jodi and I laid awake way too long yakking. We had our window and shutters open so we could enjoy the breezes and the street music. I could get to like this town!

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