Gladiatorial fights

Raizza taunts the gladiators

Raizza taunts the gladiators

“Hail Caesar. We who are about to die salute you.” That was the phrase that the two fake gladiators probably said as they were assaulting Raizza and Edwin for taking a picture with them and not tipping them. We were on the way to the Coliseum and Raizza cluelessly went over and posed with them innocently thinking, “Ooooh, look at those guys who come out in the hot Roman sun and dress in leather skirts, metal breast plates, and plumed helmets just for fun. Doop de doop de doo.” Edwin got involved in the argument when one of the “gladiators” drew his plastic sword and pointed it at Roanna’s throat. She smacked it away. Edwin called his mom. Aitza came over and gave them a handful of change (maybe 4 Euros) and they threw it on the cobblestones. “Lets’ go,” said Aitza, and we left the gladiators to battle some other tourists.

Restorations in progress

Restorations in progress

Some large structure

Some large structure

IMG_2329The  Coliseum was the major archeological draw for the boys. Shade has been a fan of Roman culture, gods, and brutal death since he was a bambino. (Other children are raised on Disney films. We raised our kids on Gladiator.) The Coliseum is the first place that we were asked to show our tickets. Aitza purchased 3-day travel and museum tickets for the Fam 4 but the Big Kids were paying as they went. When we got to the handicapped gate, Aitza gave the attendant our 4 tickets and then seven of us streamed in before Brett and his sister got stopped. They had to wait in line and pay full price. If we were in Mexico right now, Aitza would have been shaking her head and muttering, “Ay, Gringos!”

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The Coliseum has immensity. I’ve been to bigger stadiums. In fact even most high school stadiums are bigger. But the Coliseum has the weight of a hundred thousand bloody battles soaked into its brick and marble. It’s also in the center of hundreds of ruins. The Via Del Fori Imperiali, the road to the Coliseum is lined with free-standing columns and archeological digs. It’s surrounded by Trajan’s forum and Constantine’s arch.

We can handle the worst cobblestone Italy can throw at us.

We can handle the worst cobblestone Italy can throw at us.

Showing off  Shade's  Free Wheel

Showing off Shade’s Free Wheel

Talking of which, Shade’s Free Wheel, the front wheel that we attach to his wheelchair, proved itself well worth the $500 it cost. When we first bought it, the money seemed extravagant for an attachment. It’s just a wheel, after all. But Shade has negotiated every cobblestone, curb and pothole in Rome. And in front of Constantine’s arch, we navigated the “Via del Fiasco,” a short but torturous path of lumps, bumps, and grinds that would have forced a 4-wheel drive Hummer into maintenance. Go Free Wheel!

Archeology works up a thirst. So we found a little café on a side street for lunch and red wine.  Ristorante Cleto had little specialities like my Seven Sins Penne, smothered in cheese, bacon, hot peppers, and I assume 4 other naughty sins. Shade and Mayan split a Ravioli Sardinia, which was stuffed with egg and basil and drenched in a creamy pink sauce. The owner, who possessed a fantastic push-broom mustache, came over to proudly proclaim of these two dishes, “Mi creacione.” My creation.

Ravioli Sardinia

Ravioli Sardinia

IMG_1010After Aitza had her wine smiles on (2 small glasses is enough), we wound our way down narrow alleys to Trevi Fountain. Aitza has an alley fetish. She’s constantly taking pictures of alleys. Not sure what this stems from. Maybe she’s looking for the tall, dark stranger of romance myth. Sorry baby. You get tall and strange.

Our butts are soaked at Trevi fountain

Our butts are soaked at Trevi fountain

I remember Trevi fountain from a Richard Scarry children’s book about famous places around the world. The story involved a rabbit who loses control of her car and drives it into the Trevi Fountain. I was a little disappointed to see that the fountain was completely empty of cars. But we threw in the obligatory coins as per the song “Three Coins in a Fountain.”

One problem with Rome is that there are too many impressive buildings. It’s embarrassing. Some 500-year-old building in a side street with massive sculptures and beautiful facades becomes just another building. If I took just one of the least interesting buildings and shoved it in downtown Orlando, it would be the centerpiece of the entire city.

A water bottle showdown

A water bottle showdown

Best Gelati in town

Best Gelati in town

We ended our city tour with a stop at Fatamorgana Gelato, possibly the most impressive Gelataria in Trastavere. They had glutine-free gelato, which is surprisingly not prevalent at most gelato restaurants. I had a double scoop of the most exotic choices on the menu: Thumbelina, a mix of violet flower, nuts and rose petal; and even more impressive, Ginger, Lemon, Honey, Cream gelato. A statue should be carved in marble for the latter.

Soccer tourney

Soccer tourney

Soccer tourney

Soccer tourney

We are now back at the apartment enjoying 4 bottles of wine (much of which amateur Brett spilled on the white seats) and playing a soccer tournament in the hallway. (Roanna won. Cheater.) We’re also watching Italian TV. Three’s Company in Italian is just as corny as it is in English.

On a last note, our bathrooms have bidets installed, and Edwin has become the bidet king. He swears he’s having one installed at his apartment. We even came up with a company name to sell them. G’Day Bidet. We’ll have an Australian spokesperson. “If ye want to feel fresh down under, try a G’Day Bidet. For a clean Outback all day. “ (Sorry, there’s no Italian joke for bidet.)

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Veronica Armijo-Garcia
    Jun 11, 2013 @ 19:13:33

    My Dear Shade, It makes my heart smile so to see you having the best time ever! For all your hard work…you deserve it. So beautiful to see that your strength, perseverance, and awesome family have taken you to new heights! WIsh I was there, but happy to live vicariously thru you! Eat some more gelato for me will ya! All the best, Veronica Armijo-Garcia

    Reply

  2. Efrain
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 11:04:59

    To our dear Big Boy: Witta & I, are so happy about all these info regarding your trip to the Old Continent. We’d really enjoyed the news about “Il Vaticano”.
    Hope you guys keep-up “the good work” at “kicking the roads” there. Shade, don’t
    you worry about your “Cheetah”, she is doing fine. Our best regards to all of you. our dear people. Keep in touch.
    Remember, we love you lots.

    Witta & Bu-bu.

    Reply

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