This post is written by Katie, about her travel in Europe after IROS 2015.
This morning I woke at 7:30am and decided to walk to St. Peter’s Basilica. Unfortunately, I typed St. John’s Basilica into Google Maps and marched about 60 minutes in the wrong direction (stopping to see the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore on the way). When I arrived, I realized I must be in the wrong place!
I considered hopping on the metro to St. Peter’s Basilica, but decided I probably did not have enough time since I wanted to return to the hostel by 12:00 to get on a 12:30 walking tour. And I’m glad this was the case because St. John’s Basilica is actually very pretty and historical!
After exploring St. John’s Basilica, I went across the street to a church where people climb a set of 28 stairs on their hands and knees in penitence.
I reached the hostel right before noon, and decided to have breakfast (which they serve until noon) at the bar. I had a nice omelet, potatoes, and toast for just €5.
After breakfast, I embarked with six other people on the The Yellow‘s daily walking tour with our guide Kevin (who was actually from Austin, TX). We wandered all over the Colosseum area, seeing the Jewish Quarter, Pantheon, Colosseum, and many other sites. It was a good tour – worth the €20 and a nice way to spend the afternoon. I felt a bit overwhelmed with information, but I seemed to be the only one feeling this way.
Our tour ended at the Colosseum, and Kevin said the Colosseum was still open if anyone wanted to visit. Since it was predicted to rain much of my last day in Rome tomorrow, I decided to go ahead and see the Colosseum tonight so I would not have to do it in the rain tomorrow.
I waited in perhaps a 10 minute line to buy my ticket, and then had just over an hour to explore the Colosseum. I did not opt for the €5.5 audio guide – especially since Kevin had said a lot about the Colosseum and I had a Rick Steves book, I figured this was fine (and it was).
The Colosseum is pretty awesome inside, especially from the second floor. The big positive of visiting near closing time was that the Colosseum really emptied out over the hour. I would have preferred to have perhaps 30 minutes longer to just stare and enjoy, but I do not have any regrets about going tonight. I was easily able to see both levels and take it all in during the hour I had.
It was getting dark and starting to rain when I left the Colosseum, so I took the metro back to The Yellow and had dinner at The Yellow bar. The chopped salad (€6) and fries (€3.5) made a serious feast for me – I should have just ordered the salad. Both were really good though!
After dinner I retreated to my room and worked on my laptop for a while before calling it an early night.