This 2015 trip was our second visit to Rome. Our first had been in 2002 with Globus. Back then we had stayed in a hotel not far from the Colosseum. The room had been small and the hotel staff arrogant. We wondered how our Trafalgar Costsaver experience would differ.
The question was quickly answered when we reached our hotel, the Ergife Palace Hotel, at around 4 pm. It was spectacular. Admittedly, not anywhere near as close to the center of Rome as our Globus accommodation, but the room was more than twice as large, better fitted out and the hotel had an operating pool.
On the topic of hotel pools, it is worth noting that many Italian hotels close their swimming pools after summer, regardless of the temperature. We noted this a number of times – stinking hot days but closed hotel pools. I cannot imagine how they think this will satisfy international guests. This said, it was September, 40 degrees, and the Ergife Palace had its pool open. If I can help it, I will never stay anywhere else in Rome other than the Ergife because they understand international travelers.
Once our luggage was in our rooms, the coach zoomed us off to our first adventure in Rome. This was a coach tour of the key parts of the city.
After a while, we disembarked from the coach to take a look at the 2,000-year-old Pantheon. This is one of those old buildings that has had a few incarnations, starting life as a pagan temple and ending us as a Catholic church. For me, the most interesting thing about the Pantheon is that it has the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
After that we did a walking tour that stopped off at the Trevi Fountain. Now take a look at Rhiannon’s face when we make her stand in the viewing spot at the fountain.
She looks distinctly unhappy as compared to the family shot. There is a story behind that.
As you may tell, the Trevi Fountain was undergoing maintenance work while we visited and there was scaffolding everywhere. The crowds were massive and there was only one spot set aside for an individual, crowd-free photograph. The problem was that there was no line for that spot. Instead, people had to physically push there way in and out. Rhiannon waited patiently for 10 minutes, but every time it looked like she would get a go someone else pushed in. So we told her that she was going to just have to do the same and force her way in. “That’s impolite,” she said, a big scowl coloring her features. We argued with her, saying that she had no choice and eventually she capitulated to our will but was not happy. To be honest, I cannot blame her. We’ve tried so hard to raise Rhiannon with good manners, and now we totally contradicted ourselves. Such hypocrites we are! By the family shot, ten minutes later, she was her normal cheerful self again.
As the sun began setting the guide drew us to a lovely square called Piazza Navona. This square was built on the site of the 1st-century Stadium of Domitian, the ancient Roman equivalent of an athletics arena. The guide told us to buy dinner here but warned us that the nearer the Piazza any restaurant we chose, the more expensive that it would be. She also recommended trying a traditional Italian pizza. So we wandered down a few old cobbled lanes and found ourselves a quaint little pizzeria.
Finally, it was time to return to the hotel, but our guide had one more surprise for us: a night visit to St Peter’s Square.
It was great, albeit we were almost mowed down by lunatic drivers on several occasions. Alas, the photo does not do it justice.
And now back to the Ergife Palace to collapse into our beds, ready for another early start. Well, to be honest I posted heaps of pictures and an update on my Facebook page. :) Then sleep.
Thanks for reading another episode in my holiday saga from 2015. My work on hair in Blender is continuing, albeit with many a failure. When I get something worth sharing in that department, then I will.