Aaah Rome glorious Rome , I wish I could say that I had spent far more time here than I ever did. The port of Rome for us was what we called a disembarkation/embarkation port , in other words one set of passengers leave and another set start their cruise.

What this means is that we only have 4 hours in which to explore Rome , talk about a whirlwind 
challenge ....but hey I'm game any day and so today my journey starts with Thomas the baker and  Laura one of my beauty therapists on board.

Packed and ready for our mornings outing , we walk to the harbor gates and flag a taxi ...our whirlwind tour begins ......

ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
Starting at St Paul's Cathedral and the Vatican a rather humbling experience,sprinkled with awe and wonder , a step back into the grande old days of the Rome. The architecture leaves you with your mouth gaping wide open. The sheer size of the passageways , pillars and foyers are beyond anything 
you could ever imagine.

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St Paul's is now ensconced in the middle of the city of Rome , however it is important to note that the Vatican is the smallest Independent State in the world . We entered into the square as you can see above, the buildings are flanked by two semi-circular shaped passageways  with hundreds of pillars so high and so wide it is almost intimidating .... but breathtaking. Once you have passed through the square you will come to the entrance into the Cistine Chapel, guarded by the funniest and comical guards ever. The guards are dressed in a purple and orange striped uniform with what I can only explain as poofy pants (like jodphurs but worse) the craziest looking court jester type hats (see my photo). 

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Once you enter these doors you enter into a world unlike anything we find today , the craftsmanship is unbelievable .... From the textured and detailed ceilings (see picture) to the Michelangelo paintings in the copula/domes of the Sistine Chapels roof, around each corner is a new painting , a new artifact and more. I am not Catholic but I sure did love the alter with candles, and tucked away to the side the confession booths ( made me feel like I was in the heart of a Da Vinci code book ... Unearthing mystery and intrigue. I loved this part of the outing and I still find it had to believe that I have actually been to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel.

So onto the next part of our adventure which involved a walk across the street to some of the old city ruins , through the ancient city gate (see my pictures) , through this gate and a short walk to the Colosseum.

THE COLOSSEUM
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They say everything is bigger in America, but by now I am starting to believe that person has never been to Rome. The structure of the Colosseum must be at least. 6 stories high. The sad part is how neglected the Colosseum looked ... However we were very happy to hear once we were inside that they were in fact busy restoring it.

Firstly you walk in through the outer  shell of the Colosseum. The walls are sky high and voluminous , able to facilitate the wagons , chariots and towns people from days of old. The building skills  of the historical artisans, their planning and grandiose architecture just hinting at the talent centuries old. As you move through to the inner sanctum you come across the bleachers where spectators would sit and cheer on the side lines .... If you listen long enough you might actually hear the roar and cheering echoing through the center court.

The floor of the stadium was missing as in not there ....and if you look carefully in my pics you will see where they were busy rebuilding and restoring it. There is a whole underground facility or city where they used to cage the animals used in the contests, as well as the prisoners and featured competitors or Gladiators ... Cruel but a reality of the history of Rome.

I loved exploring this space, and honestly I think thus is the first time that the reality of history at school became tangible for me. 

I only have one warning though .. Outside the Colosseum stand a bunch of handsome Italian men dressed as Gladiators, they cleverly run up to you and get you to take photo's with them and then won't give your camera back unless you pay them ... Yes we were caught out ...tee hee!

To be continued .......