Friday, November 2, 2018

A Full Day in Rome on the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus

Boy, what a day. A good night's sleep prepared us for a full, information-filled, photo-filled day. We decided the best way to tackle the city was to do a hop-on, hop-off tour. We use hop-on, hop-offs quite a bit in other cities. They are easy for hubby since he can sit downstairs and listen to the narration while I can head upstairs and take the pictures. We typically do the entire loop first without getting off, then do a second loop where we do the hopping off. That was the plan for the day as well. But with us, like usual, plans change. And that's okay.

There are several bus companies that run throughout Rome. We chose the one requiring the least amount of walking to get to - the one that has their stop across the street from our hotel.
Right out our hotel window
We rode the entire route. There was so much to see and learn. 

Some is busy here. Not just dozens of people or hundreds of people congregating in the touristy areas/sights but what looked like thousands of people. When hubby saw the lines inside and around the Colosseum he decided there would be no hopping off the bus today. It was difficult to get any photo without tons of people in them. Lots of cropping had to happen on these pictures!
Even a bird had to get into the picture.
Streets are wide in some areas and buses and taxi and motorbike drivers are moving in and around each other. And the roundabouts? Whew. Glad I wasn't doing the driving. Other streets are super narrow and I still can't figure out how they all shared the road.
Motorbike anyone?
There are sights we couldn't see from the bus that would require walking but hubby wasn't up to it so we skipped those. But we were surprised how close some of the sights were to the main roadway.  
Amazing that this is where chariot racing used to occur
We saw several bookstores set up along the streets. Our daughter would be in love.
Can you tell what that is in straight in front of us?
That's the Colosseum. The bus drives so close you can't get the entire thing in the picture.

Unless you're paying a pretty penny for a tour specifically for the disabled, much of Rome is off limits for the mobility challenged. Just looking at the steps made us a bit sad and made us realize we should have come here when we were younger.
We had expected the weather to be colder. We had no rain today (yay!) and didn't really even need much of a jacket. Leaves are changing and fall is here, though.

Like Vickie from Vickie and Bernie Travel mentioned, there is a large security presence. Vickie and Bernie are also in Rome right now and are pretty darn adventurous. Check out her blog here to find out about their activities.

When we saw these vehicles we thought our bus was parking for a stop. Nope. We were waiting our turn to get through the area. They are there to keep vehicles from plowing through the area. So stop at the planters, veer left, pull forward. Veer right to get around the first vehicle. Stop. Veer left to get around the second vehicle. Veer right to then carry on.
We encountered it elsewhere, too.

After doing one loop on the bus we got off to go the restroom back at our hotel room. We planned on getting back on the bus so I could get more photos but gee whiz, I had plenty. We decided to get a better feel for things in the area around our hotel. We stopped in a couple shops by didn't buy anything.
Look at the fun pastas.
We should have investigated restaurants a bit more. Trying to limit the cobblestones and uneven ground left us with few options. While we thought tucking down a side alley would lead us to a tasty adventure, it didn't. Left food on our plate even.
Probably should have gone down this way instead.
After an afternoon nap we decided to check out the terminal again. When we came in yesterday it was pouring rain, the place was crammed with thousands of people, I was dragging luggage, and the hawkers and panhandlers were bothersome. It left us with a not-so-stellar impression. Today we found there was an entrance/exit on the same street as our hotel. Dang! It would have saved us some time and energy if we knew about it yesterday. Oh, well.
It's a big station with lots of people. 
And again lots of panhandlers/beggars. Usually you can wave them off or tell them no and they move on. Not here. Stand in line to pay for anything and they don't leave your side. 
Yep, gelato twice today. Might as well when in Rome, right?
We were surprised the terminal didn't have any seating anywhere. Couldn't even find a bench out and about around our hotel either. Hubby usually has to take break when we're walking and he didn't get the chance today. He was a trouper though and made it through. Two and a half miles for the day between cobblestones, uneven sidewalks, and solid ground. Good job to him.

Back at our hotel, I spied out the window something that just might be the Vatican?

Tomorrow we're off to meet up with the Crown Princess. Our hotel is one of the hotels Princess uses for cruise passengers so we considered booking the Princess bus to the port. But when we spoke to the rep today she suggested a private transfer. For about $10 more we could get a car for just the two of us that will drop us off in the port area. After the struggles hubby has had these last couple days getting on and off buses with the airport to Rome bus and the hop-on hop-off bus, he's glad he's not climbing up and down those bus steps again. Between our last go-round in Florida with his falls, the flight issues we had on our way here, and then the struggles getting around Rome, this has been an eye-opening last few months. And not in a good way. But we're still plugging along and thankful to be able to do what we can!