Saturday, June 7th, 2008


Our last day in Rome…and our last day on this beautiful journey…


We checked out of The River Palace Hotel and put our bags back into hotel storage. The guide from Through Eternity Tours would be arriving at 10 a.m., so we needed to have everything ready to go for our driver that would be picking us up at 3 p.m. to take us to the hotel airport for the evening.


One more thing about the hotel worth mentioning… they have a really good continental breakfast. You really can’t say that it is “continental”, because it really had everything… eggs, sausage, bacon, rolls, yogurt, etc. In the end, we would have two really good morning breakfasts to start our day while staying at The River Palace Hotel.


At 10 a.m. our guide, Rob, arrived. Rob is an American that has lived in Rome for over 10 years now. He is one of the owners of Through Eternity Tours, so that was a real treat for us! We took the Metro right to the Forum and we began there. Today would be about The Forum and The Colleseum.


To be honest, I would say from the get-go that although this tour was very good and Rob is very knowledgeable, it was my least favorite of all the days touring. After two weeks of seeing the major highlights of Italy, one is very spoiled. And I’ll admit it, after two weeks as well, one is a little burned out with all of the fabulous history… it now takes a lot to get me excited as this journey has been so amazing from Day One.


With The Forum, you really have to use your imagination. The Colleseum is another story… as it still is very complete. And I was really looking forward to seeing The Colleseum with all of its history – and I’ll admit, thinking back about The Gladiator movie with Russell Crowe. J


We spent most of our time at the Forum, walking amongst the ruins, but as I said, you really have to use your imagination to picture what it was like in Rome at this time. Having been to Pompeii where many of the buildings are complete, you get more of a visual reference there. At The Forum you do not.


Our 11 Euro ticket bought us access to both locations and as they were right next to eachother, we ended at The Colleseum. The Colleseum is a very imposing structure and is still so complete. We took an elevator right to the third floor and Rob discussed how the location was used over the years. He ended with a bit of theatre for us from the slaying of Marc Anthony. It was pretty cool to imagine the time.


From there, we jumped in a taxi and headed back to the hotel. We had time for lunch at our local restaurant and had… pizza and salad… again! It is sooo good. Jbom had a bit of veal that he really enjoyed as well. And we met a man from Chicago that was there with his children for a month or so. They had rented an apartment and were staying in the area. Now that would be a fun thing to do… if you have the time… ugh… jbom and I do not. I have to win the lottery!!!!!


And most of us, except Jean (who was exercising restraint), finished with gelato from the corner shop. So very good… and nothing like we have at home.


So off to the airport… in a bigger vehicle this time. I imagine that our first ROMECABS driver told them to send a bigger vehicle this time for us and all of our luggage!!!! Our driver, who spoke a little English, took us around the to the front of The Vatican to Piazza Pio XII… the view of the Vatican that everyone sees on TV and it is where the Pope delivers his address. What a HUGE place! I am glad that we got the opportunity to see it, eventhough it was just a “drive by”.


We arrived at the Hilton Airport hotel in about 45 minutes… a quick trip. The hotel has a walkway to the terminal and I booked it for that very purpose. Our flight to Amsterdam on Sunday morning would be at 6:15 a.m. – yes, 6:15 a.m. – so we had to be at the airport by 4:15 a.m. What fun! We checked in and then walked over the concourse to locate KLM. It took a bit of looking around, but we found it and then had a look in the shops. Kathleen bought t-shirts for her grandchildren, and I used my broken Italian to help her out (yeah!).


That evening we had dinner at the hotel… big sandwiches and hamburgers that were expensive, but pretty good. No one slept very well as we were up at 3 a.m. and we didn’t want to oversleep and miss the flight. Jbom never slept at all… he just stayed up and watched CNN through the night. By early morning (still really nighttime) we got ourselves together, gathered our luggage, walked the concourse and checked in at KLM at 4 a.m. We were all tired, and ready to come home.


And so in the early morning we said goodbye to Rome and headed home. We arrived home about 1 p.m. after a change of planes to Northwest and a little delay in Amsterdam. During the connection time in Amsterdam, jbom bought a t-shirt with “Germany” on the front of it. I asked him “why?” and he said that he wanted a souvenir of the place that he really wanted to go to in the first place! Ugh… okay one day, Germany!   


We have been home now a few days and John, Jean and I are fully back to work physically, but mentally is another thing. Jbom spent part of the evening last night going through the 08/09 OCEANIA CRUISE brochure looking at options for another trip. I reminded him that it would have to be in 09 as we are mostly out of vacation days for the rest of 08!


I spoke with Jean, my mother, last night and when I asked her where she would like to return to… she immediately said “Rome” – we barely scratched the surface there. And of course, Kotor… it was a simply beautiful place that would be a wonderful for a seaside holiday. Jbom loved Sorrento and so did I… I can see us going back there ourselves in the not to distance future. As for Kathleen, well, Mum hasn’t heard from her yet… she is probably pouring over her pictures and sharing her memories with her children and grandchildren that she’ll have forever.