It was a nasty day at the Colosseum – but then many animals, Gladiators and Christians had nasty days there.
An able footed person could walk from our hotel to the Colosseum in 30-40 minutes but as one of us is not "able" I am glad the metro was operating even though there was a general strike today. Even so there was a lot of walking for me today and a lot of steps – I am still doing two feet to each step but I think I am getting a bit faster!
We joined a tour which was just starting…. hustlers approach you as you head towards the ticket queue and ask if you would like to go on a tour for an additional 10 euros and this by-passes the ticket line. (I had read about this in my guide book so was not just going in blind). It seemed a good idea – the group was only 11 people but it soon started to feel worse than a school excursion!!
It was pouring with rain so we would huddle under a little arch while the guy droned on and on and on. He wanted us to imagine being there 2,000 years ago; I wanted to hear more about the history. He did cover what the different sections were for and where people sat – the women were relegated to the higher level apparently so that they would not be attracted to the sexy Gladiators in place of their "lord and masters". From that height they would barely be able to see the "stage". He talked about the earthquake which destroyed much of the structure and a lot about the "managers" of the Gladiators. After about 40 minutes we were dismissed to explore on our own and that's where all the steps came in as we climbed to the next level. (there were also a zillion steps at each metro station).
There was a general strike today (except for transportation) – unemployed and protesters about the inaction of government to help in the current economic situation. Italy has just had its 3rd quarter of negative growth and is now in recession.
We did not get too close to the protesters – they were filling the air with red smoke – lots of red balloons, red placards and red clothing..
An empty street – something not normal for Rome!!