My name is ‘Gladiator’ – Rome

5th June 2006

Mum and I had a well-earned sleep in the next day and then got out of bed, Mum attempted to use the torturous bathroom and almost ended up having to call me to help her get out of the bath. We decided to give our feet a rest and catch the red sightseeing bus. We got to Termini Station and joined the long line for the bus, we were in the que for about an hour before we found out that we had to buy tickets before you got on the bus, so I went to the booth and did just that. I would have been ropeable if we had gotten to the front and not been let on. We lined up for about two hours, the line did not seem to move and every time a bus came along it seemed like the line did not go down. When I got closer, I got more and more abusive. I had, had it, this was supposed to be a way of getting out of standing up all day. By the time we actually got a bus, I was almost too angry to enjoy it and on top of that the bus didn’t really show us anything we didn’t already know was there.

We did a full lap on the bus, mainly to rest our feet and then we decided to get off at the Circus Maximus, somewhere Mum had never been and somewhere of historical significance that I wanted to visit. There were people still training in it and the back view of the Palatino could be seen from the track. People were sprinting around the ancient track, I don’t know why, this place had never been used as an athletic stadium, it was used for chariot races. I did a slow lap around the track attempting to feel the history of the place and despite all tourists, it was quiet, and I could almost hear the hoof beats on the hard dirt of the track.

The Circus Maximus
Doing a lap at Circus Maximus

Mum and I then walked to the Colosseum, we had an argument about which way it was, and I would not budge, considering this was one monument in Rome that I did know how to get to. We got there and there were men dressed as Gladiators roaming around the great monument, it was magical seeing it and not being annoyed as I was the day before and at this moment I really got to appreciate this magnificent building. We roamed around the outside and noticed this little old lady pulling along a cart. At that moment she stopped and pulled out a tin of cat food and tipped it on the floor and started yelling manically in Italian. Cats came from all corners of the Colosseum and I couldn’t help but think that this was the living crazy cat lady from The Simpson’s. Mum and I were in hysterics.

We decided to join what we thought would be the massive line to go into the Colosseum, to my surprise and delight we were only in line for about twenty minutes. I laughed to myself and thought everyone else might still be in line for the stupid red sightseeing bus.

We passed through the entrance and at once I was overwhelmed by the size of this building, if I had thought it was amazing from the outside, words cannot describe how it looked and felt from the inside. It was unreal to think of how many people had fought and died there at the hands of gladiators, soldiers and even wild beasts. The blood thirstiness of the Romans hit me really hard at this moment, I don’t think it could have hit me any harder if one of the ancient bricks had come loose and hit me on the head. The Colosseum was death stadium. The floor is missing and the place where the animals and gladiators could be seen, where they were locked up awaiting their fate, this part of the place was almost eerie.

I was delighted to find that you could explore all levels and went as far up as one could get, to get the best view possible. I noticed that they had rebuilt a section of the floor and that two cats were rolling around playfully on it, I smiled at the irony of that. They had no idea that their bigger cousins had once killed humans in the same spot in which they were now enjoying the sun.

We departed the Colosseum and walked back up through the forum via the Arch of Constantine, which was a spectacular site to behold. Finally, in correct footwear and at my own pace I got to enjoy the main attraction I had come to Rome to see. As I did at the temple of Amun at Karnak in Egypt, I wandered around all the hidden places and explored the ancient forum thoroughly. At the end of the forum there was a strange building and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was, it appeared that archaeologists were still investigating it because it was closed off. I peered into it, and I don’t know where it was coming from or who was playing it but I could hear the music from the movie Gladiator playing in the distance which kind of made looking at this unknown structure kind of magical and eerie at the same time. I then noticed a sign that said that this building was a council building, to think I may have been gazing into the very room where the decision was made to raze Hannibal’s Carthage to the ground.

Mum and I walked back down through the forum to Colosseo station and caught a very crowded train back to Termini Station. We then went and had dinner in Donati’s, somewhere Mum had recommended as she and Dad had eaten there a few years ago and she had said the food was lovely and that it was one of the only places in Italy which did not have the annoying Copperto service charge. Donati’s was lovely, I had real Italian Ravioli and ice cream for dessert.

Me at the Coliseum
Exploring the Colosseum

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