Holy Hills

The plan was, in the morning, to get up early and eat, then Dad and I would go get the rental car, and Mom and Curt would...well, I think we decided they would buy some socks for mom, since her toes have had a number done to 'em, and she hasn't been able to wear (gasp) shoes for a few days. I did worry a bit about her in sandals as we caressed the rocky streets of Rome, but she fought back and always seemed to be toughin' it out.
We took the gps to find our rental location, and luckily for us, it was rather close. Avis played nice, and we got out of there quite quickly. The man was looking only long enough for dad to pull it out of Avis a few meters, and then we switched places. I don't know if he doubted his ability with a manual or what, but I personally think he likes having a chauffeur—who wouldn't? Seriously, I die for the crazy European traffic, and so I can mark Rome down for I conquered those streets (it's a great thing to have gps...until it directs you down a one-way street. Rome's streets are not wide enough for one car, let alone two, so...you guessed it. I reversed about 500 meters of narrow Roman back roads because of it.)
We visited Palatino and the Roman Forum in the morning, after parking halfway in the street to meet up with mom and Curt and to get our luggage. Lucky for us, parking at the heavy trafficked Palatino was an easy find, after we had nearly circled it. Make sure you check out my amazing parallel parking there.
The ruins were great, and it's just awe-inspiring to think of the wonders that stood in that spot. How tall were the palaces originally? Augustus' house had fresco on every wall...was the how the entire place was? Who walked those streets of antiquity? Maybe some famous people like Peter or John, heck we know Agrippa and Caesar stayed there.
Afterwards, we snook out the back and went straight for the Colosseum. What. A. Sight. Seriously, if anybody describes the Colosseum as dull or boring, they don't have any insight into history and are probably haughty enough you shouldn't be dealing with them anyway. It's amazing!! Here we are in this day and age, and we've broken world records with buildings stretching towards the heavens. But before the day of Christ? To have a theatre that could fit 50,000 to 70,000 people, have a close-to-modern layout, an underground sea of passageways, AND to top it all off, be the first stadium that had a removable top (it was a set canopy that some serious—and strong—sailors hoisted up to shield the crowd from sun and rain)??? Amazing. Even the prices of admission of the time were right: free. Maybe we could learn a bit from them.
Afterwards, we snaked our way all over a certain portion of Rome in order to find a Piazza inn which I had found some art I wanted. Finally, we entered, and quickly bought it before taking off.
The trip to Firenze was swift and easy, and after filling up with gas and grabbing some food (we grabbed McDonald's, but I have to explain: The first night we were in Rome, dad was so hungry he mentioned he didn't care if we ate McDonald's that night. I insisted that I would not go into McDonald's, not even here, and that while in Italy, we were going to enjoy the cuisine. Fast forward to this afternoon, when, about 3 o'clock [breakfast at 8am], I realised we weren't going to be getting any food if we didn't eat there because we had already begun to get on the freeway, and I caved. Not, of course, a caving to a craving, but more-so, a caving to actually eating something from McDonald's.) The freeways here are tolled, but they are very nice two-laners that never seem to congest. That's nice. I only hit 150 km/hour though, mostly because with four people and luggage, our Peugeot was being pushed hard.
We booked a hotel just outside of Firenze, and it turned out to be on top of a hill. It's quite the classy place, and I would already recommend it to anyone needing a hotel in Firenze (that's Florence if you didn't catch on). The drive is beautiful to get here, and we were just freaked out twice, when the road seemed to narrow for us to fit through, and another time when the road was about 45 degrees inclined. It was so steep that I killed the car twice trying to get up, and only when I started further down did I make it up. But, it was worth it. We are on top of a paradise hill, experiencing Tuscany-life as it's meant to be.
Now, I'm gonna sign off and hit the hay, we've got another long trip in the morning. (After we see Florence up close, that is...)

I'm having issues with Picassa and this hotel's internet. If you don't see photos for a while, that's why. Also, be sure to check old albums as I update those pictures as well (so you can see from all three cameras that are going).

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