Category: Trips

Colonia Del Sacramento

Posted by – 06/08/2009

After the most pleasant time in Montevideo, we went to the city of Colonia. This is a historical town disputed by Portugal and Spain during the early days of South American continent. The historical part of the town is called Colonia del Sacramento, which is the original name of the town.

Colonia is a calm and beautiful town. Surely a place to rest while contemplating the awesome view, spending time in the historical sites and walking by Rio da Prata (Silver River) shore:

Since it was disputed during a long time, the old town is a fortified one. Remainings of the fortification can be seem everywhere. In this picture one can see Brenda holding the chains of the Main Gate>

It’s safe to walk the old town even after sunset and there are some pubs that are open until late surrounding the Plaza Major (Large Square) where one can spend a pleasant time, even if it’s cold -such as during the time we’re there. The sunset, itself, happens over the river… a gift of its own:

Brenda and I had a wonderful time in Colonia. We hope to go back there sometime.

Montevideo, finally

Posted by – 01/08/2009

After our almost landing in Montevideo, we finally managed to land there the day after, but not without emotion: the plane had to go up one more time before finally landing at MVD. Again they told us the winds were too strong, but at least they haven’t brought us back to Porto Alegre this time.

We spent 4 days in Montevideo (would be 5, but we lost one due to those winds) and 3 days in Colonia. Montevideo is really beautiful. I was told by many people that had gone there before, that I would like it, and I was not disappointed at all. There was almost no traffic, taxis were really cheap (so that I gave up renting a car – going by bus was a good option, but with such cheap taxis we just decided against waiting in the cold for the bus), people are kind, food is really good and there’s enough history to keep Brenda and I happy.

Of course I took some pictures:

Above I am standing in front of the Palacio Legislativo) (where people representatives make the country law).

Nearby our hotel we walked in front of Parva Domus Magna Quies, which is a kind of relaxation and contemplation brotherhood that began with a fisherman society in 1878. Amazingly Google knows so little about it (this was the best I could find) and I found nobody that could add to it. Nevertheless I took a picture of the inscription:

Another place I really wanted to visit was Estadio Centenario, and although it was closed I managed to convince the gatekeeper to allow me to take some pictures. Here is one:

At night, Montevideo offers a lot of options and, of course, we went to a lot of Parilladas and visited some “must-go” places (such as the Bar Fun Fun). All in all, a good place to visit, even if you just have a couple of days.

Going to Uruguay… Oops!

Posted by – 23/07/2009

Finally we got our much deserved vacation… I was afraid we were not going to be able to take some time off, but, after all, we managed to do it. We planned a short trip to Montevideo and Colonia, in Uruguay. Just 8 days, but enough to get our batteries charged after a intense-energy-draining FISL.

This was intended to be a post on our arrival and first day in Montevideo, but the weather have decided not to cooperate. We actually flew to Montevideo, but when we got there, after two approach attempts, the flight 7488 gave up due to strong transverse winds and we got back to Porto Alegre.

We are now at some hotel arranged by Gol airlines. We would like to get back home, but they told us we’d be placed in the 23:55 flight and that it would be better to remain with the group. Now we should be going back to the airport, but we just got the information that the MVD airport is still closed and we’ll be in the early morning flight tomorrow 🙁

So, our short vacation will end up even shorter… ;-). I hope my next post will be to tell you everything went well with the early flight. For now, let’s zap TV and try to catch up with an old movie or something…

Maceio – took some days off

Posted by – 09/03/2009

I finally took some days off. Those are most needed, since I spent carnival on call at the hospital (argh!)… So Brenda and I decided to spend those days at Maceio, capital of Alagoas state, and a very anticipated vacation. They have a lot of sun and beautiful beaches, enough to fill our week (and get some tan also).

This picture was taken at “Praia do Gunga” (Gunga’s Beach), a charming place with a calm shore, almost like a pool, protected by natural reefs. As you can see, I am having a bad time right now 🙂

Food is excellent, so are the people. But there are some inconveniences (as always). Beaches around downtown are not proper for bathing… They’re fighting a long fight against pollution (and loosing, if you ask me)… Also, Alagoas is a poor state… Our guide said alphabetization covers less than 70% of the people…

Also, network connection is expensive in hotels. Ours charges BRL 1,00 every 5 minutes! And the speed is not the best. They have one of those systems requiring a web authentication before you go. I’ve seem people complaining about this kind of system in Planet Debian before (reference please!) and suggesting Tunneling over DNS as a “fix”. I’ve noticed it would work in our hotel, but I decided to try another approach I’ve already written about: just a quick tunnel over an ssh connection.

I know I told you I needed an authentication before, but that is for the first connection! Yes, once the connection is established, I could just log out (thus stop the charging). No new connections could be made, but the tunnel was already up, so just put everything through the tunnel and I should be fine right? Wrong. I got bitten by a drawback of the technique already pointed in a comment when I first wrote about it: in an error-prone network, TCP-in-TCP slowly dies of attempting to correct itself over and over… and I was using a poorly connected wi-fi (loosing almost 30% of the packets!).

So, I was left with the set-up of a not foreseen tunnel using DNS as the only option… This would take time (and money)… So I decided for a simpler approach: SOCKS proxy. Yes, everything I would do could be done through a SOCKS! So a simple:

bash$ ssh -D 8888 my.remote.location

was all that I needed. That and setting my Firefox to use a SOCKS proxy on localhost:8888 and all went fine. I paid to set-up the tunnel then, once established, I logged out and kept using my tunnel all this time. Simple and effective, and I got some time left to blog about it. 🙂

It’s done: I am a serious man now

Posted by – 03/12/2008

Some of you might be wondering where I’ve gone (my last post was on 2008-11-18), but I have a short explanation for that: I got married!

Yes… It was on November 22nd, in a non-religious ceremony among the majority of my close friends and family. Brenda and I are together for more than 6 years already, so it was about time! After the party we went on honey moon to Bariloche (Argentina), undoubtfully one of the most beautiful parts of the planet, for one week. We were back just Monday… and back to real life just now.

Pictures of the party and the trip will follow…

Rhodes

Posted by – 23/06/2008

I was curious to get to Rhodes. That is near Turkey (my cellphone actually kept switching from Greece to Turkey and back all the time), and, since it held one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World it all added up to be a good place to visit.

Our first disappointment while in Greece. The hotel the travel agency had chosen was not a very good one (so far we were very lucky). This lead us to remain there as little as possible. It was too close to the airport and too close to one of the main roads… The surroundings of the hotel, ITOH, were not that bad. It was the beach of Ixia, a really beautiful one (although very windy). Hilton Resort was just around the corner and we were tempted to check-in there instead of our hotel… (Yeah… like we had money to…).

Anyway, we decided to get on with the trip and went straight to the Colossus site. Actually they have doubts of where it standed, but the traditional spot would be in the old harbour where one can see two obeliscs on the place they think Colossus’ legs were spread:

We visited also the Cassino, which is mainly comprised of slot machines. Not really interesting (and charging a non-refundable fee of EUR 15 just to get in!)… Just near the Cassino we can see one of the many beaches in Rhodes, with the two-colored sea (we were told that it was like that for the stone platform keeps the sea shallow for some meters, before diving acutelly):

Maybe the most interesting was our walking into the Old Town. Rhodes have a surrounded area that was a medieval town… but we’re not talking about ruins anymore: the city is alive and they have all kinds of shops and cafes in there. The oldest street in the Old Town is called, nowadays, Socratic Street, and we found a lot of interesting places along it.

While we were there, there was a medieval festival going on, and we saw people dressed as medieval countryman, playing typical instruments, walking around the place…

The Old Town surely is a place that deserves to be explored more than we did… But those were the last days of our trip, and we were rather tired by then. So we spent the time just going where we couldn’t avoid and preparing ourselves to the return trip (which meant meditating under the sun of the Ixia beach and packing our shopping stuff in our already stuffed suitcases).

Thanks for following my posts of this trip. Now we can go back to the usual subject of this blog…. 🙂

Santorini

Posted by – 23/06/2008

We’ve heard Santorini have the most famous sunset in the world, and that the best part of the island to watch is from the city of Oia, north of the island. So we got a hotel (actually a “traditional house” – rooms digged in the rock of the cliff) there.

What a beautiful place. Everywhere we went gave us a new view for a picture, and we took lots of them. Oia is a beautiful village with great places to eat or to shop handcrafted things. Everywhere we went, the ever blue sea greeted us in a different angle.

For completeness sake, we visited Thira, the “capital” of the island. Also a beautiful place, but too crowded and not really any better than Oia. From our “cave” balcony we watched the sunset all three days we were there:

The night also gave us the best night pictures so far. We visited every corner of Oia and everywhere we went people were kind and willing to help. We got lost sometimes, but I hardly can think of that as an annoyance (and it led us to find some “hidden” places with typical restaurants).

To the south of the island is the famous beach of Perivolos. It’s a beach of dark sand with a stone platform that can be rather slippery. Surprisingly there were not many people there, what made our experience very confortable (for crowded beaches I would have stayed in Brazil). Beware of the sun… We wore fps30 lotion and we still got our skin a little sunburned.

Mykonos and Delos

Posted by – 22/06/2008

One of the best places to rest during our trip was Mykonos. In general, a flat island (not needed to climb as often), we got a hotel near the port, with a beautiful view and really relaxing setting. All the hotel staff seem to be doing their best so we could do nothing. That was a first time in our trip.

Great views, great restaurants along the shore, Mykonos is also famous for its parties (although we haven’t gone to any), but don’t be fooled: all this come with a price. Mykonos is also the most expensive place we’ve been in this trip… So be prepared.


Following the shore we found some windmills. We’re told some still work, but not those we saw: small stores are run in there.

The water was cold, and we found no one willing to dive in it, anyway it was a relaxing view. We took our time to read and enjoy ourselves.

Near Mykonos is the ancient and sacred island of Delos. That was an impressive visit. So much history that island have seem and many interesting details: they managed to have a political and religious agnostic island that welcome everyone and had a free harbour by 800 B.C.! It’s a shame so little have remained (like the “Lions” you can see in the picture)…

We’re told that by 700 B.C., Delos, whose land could not be owned by anyone (allegelly it was owned by the god Apollo and godess Artemis), despite so many rich people living and trading there, had no organized army (or any defense system whatsoever). A king that wanted to promote his own free harbour, in a short time, invaded and destroyed Delos, killing almost everyone living there. Since then Delos is abandoned. What a pity… I wonder what could Delos developed to be if allowed to endure.

Athens

Posted by – 31/05/2008

Finally we got to Greece. I was curious about this part of the trip, and also we wanted to try to get some beach days (it was sunny in Italy, but not really warm enough for us to go to the beach). But the beach would have to wait a little longer, since we entered Greece by its capital, Athens.

We got there by night and went to a traditional Taverna (a restaurant with typical food and singing-dancing presentations). On our way to the Taverna, we took a picture of the Piraeus port in the night:


What a beautiful city! It’s well organized and well preserved and people are much more friendly than Rome. We stayed in Plaka, which is an old neighborhood with narrow streets and good places to eat and shop, and close to the touristic places we wanted to see. Rome’s ancient places were more “look but don’t touch” places, Athens, in the other hand, invites you to really enter the places. They have a well stated project to recuperate some sites (such as the Parthenon) to “give it back” to the people. While we were there, they held a “open weekend”: when they open everything to local bands and artists to show off in the ruins. We saw a band preparing the sound equipment in Herodes Odeon thinking how interesting it would be to have a band and present in such a place!

The acropolis is really impressing. Such a high place with such beautiful buildings makes you think of how they got all those stones up there with the technology they got at the time.

The Parthenon – or the temple of armed (parthenos) Athens – is marvelous:

We went down from the acropolis to the Athenian Agora… something similar the Roman forum: the political center of old Athens, with temples and public buildings. There’s a museum there, with some interesting remains, being the “random choice stone” one of which I found the most intriguing:

It was a piece from the legendary Athenian democracy called Kleroleria, used to select “randomly” the jury that would serve that day in the court of law: free people names were written in metal plates inserted in the horizontal slots in the stone. An opaque metal tube was previously filled with a random sequence of white or black balls which were extracted one by one. If the ball was white, the whole line of names was accepted for duty that day; if black the line was rejected. (I wonder if cryptography people would be happy with this randomness nowadays 🙂 ).

Also in that museum we found pieces of black ceramic with names written on them. That was also part of the democratic processes in old Athens, these particularly used for ostracism. Ostracism was a process designed to protect Athens from despotic power: every now and then a survey was taken where citizens had to vote in the least desirable person in each opinion. The “winner” had to leave Athens for the next ten years.

To end the day we watched the Guard change in front of the parliament, in Syntagma square and ate Greek barbecue (called Gyros) in a place nearby:


The change of the guard is quite an weird ceremony that happens every hour. The soldiers perform interesting movements with their legs and feet before holding still at their “watch spots” for the next hour. They use strange outfits. We recorded the change as a movie, but later I found lots of videos in youtube recording the same so if you want to take a look at the ceremony just search for ‘Athens Syntagma Guard’ and you’ll be fine.

Naples and the garbage

Posted by – 31/05/2008

In our way to Athens (and to the second part of our trip), we drove to Naples to take a plane. Long before this trip, we heard about the problem with garbage in Naples and, despite that, we decided to spend one night in Naples rather than driving there in the morning and risking miss the flight… besides we thought “this garbage problem cannot be so bad”. We couldn’t be more wrong!

The problem has become far worse than we’ve imagined. While we were there, CNN reported the worsening of the crisis and we’ve watched people burning piles of garbage that were accumulated on the streets just at the corner of the hotel we spent the night. It was so depressing!

I hope this crisis gets to an end soon. Although everybody we asked seem to agree that Naples is not a city worth spending some time in, I am still convinced that there are some good places to see there. It seems this problem with the garbage is lasting long enough to influence everything else: people serving you in restaurants, in train stations, in hotels, (and everywhere else) are stressed out to the point they scare people away.

It also seems that people reacts by worsening everything else… for instance, the McDonald’s we found at the train station is left in a state that we gave up eating there (chairs are torn, tables are not cleaned and the restrooms are in a sorry state).


By dinner time we were so depressed that we decided to stay in the hotel and have dinner there, barely waiting for the morning to come so we could carry on with our trip…. and we spent just one night there! now imagine people having to live there day after day…

Naples gulf and the Vesuvio

Posted by – 31/05/2008

While we were in Sorrento we decided to go north, around Naples gulf, up to Vesuvio and Pompei. We made the trip in two different days, so we could better appreciate what was there to see.

Pompei remains are certainly something worth seeing. The city was large and apparently well organized and the remains were somewhat more preserved than similar sites by means of the volcanic material that wrapped it. The most impressing, though, were the human bodies preserved in ashes we found there:


We observed the Vesuvio from Pompei and thought “how come they were unprepared?”. Most of the people seems to have been caught sleeping or hiding, but not running away. Then we found out that they were not killed by lava (though some covered the city afterwards), but by the pyroclastic cloud that came before the lava. Apparently the volcano had been blowing for one or two days before Pompei were affected, but then if blew a hot cloud of ashes and dust traveling at 80 km/h, leaving no chance for Pompei inhabitants to escape.

The ashes ended up preserving beautiful things, like this mosaic of a battle:

As usual, I went after some building of interest and look what I’ve found! They had a doctor’s office (actually a temple devoted to Aesculapium – god of Medicine – but the description in the booklet imply that people went there to get medical treatment).

The next day we went climbing Vesuvio. This is the second volcano I climb (the first were mount Fuji, in Tokyo), and I always am amazed to walk in the edge of them. Vesuvio has a path protected by wood limits that goes all around the cone. It’s hot near the cone, and there’s a noise always coming from the crater. People refer to it as “volcano humming”. It reminds everybody that Vesuvio is just asleep… not dead.

From up there we can see Pompei. What a pity it was a cloudy day so the pictures were not as good as it gets, but here is the best one I got when pointing my camera to Pompei:

See you next post… Ciao.

Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

Posted by – 21/05/2008

We got to the first “easy” part of our vacation (or sould I say lazy?). We got to Sorrento, which is in the beginning of the Amalfi Coast, in a boat from Capri. Just 20 minutes of trip and there we were!

Our hotel was in a near village called Santa Agata sui due Golfi, maybe 7 km from Sorento downtown. That was not a problem, since we rented a car in Sorrento. We were in doubt which car to rent, and it was the first time we’ve seen the two-seat Smart car. After thinking for a while, we got that one. It’s a semi-automatic economic car that fits perfectly our needs. Here is the first thing we learned: there’s almost no space to park as Italy seems to be flooded by cars… so choose the small ones that usually pay less in paid-parking and fits everywhere on the streets. Look how small the Smart car is, compared to a large van in this picture:

Santa Agata is a pleasant village we enjoyed the best Ice Cream so far. Of course, the streets were narrow (as it seems to be all over this region of Italy), but, also, everything is within a 15-minute walk.

The “Costiera Amalfitana” (or SS163), which is the road that was built in the edge of the cliffs surrounding Salerno’s Gulf is a narrow, usually crowded road that sits uppon brick-arches and provides the best views of the ever-blue sea of this part of Italy. One should drive along this road, if in this part of the world.

Sorrento is the most calm and leveled town along Amalfitan Coast. The historical center offer a countless number of small stores that sells anything you can imagine.

Positano is just like Sorrento, but with more expensive restaurants, more extensive beaches (in which we could not dive, since the weather was not really warm during our stay), and more stairs. Unlike Sorrento, Positano is always up or down the hill. Here is a picture of Positano downtown, as seen from the beach:

Amalfi, which is the next town and gives the name to the coast, seems to be the older city, with lots of history and a strong connection to Saint Andrew. It’s believet to be saved by this saint in the middle-age from the invasion of the Sarracens. The Amalfi Cathedral (which is in the next picture) is really as magestic as an old place, rebuilt several times. They keep Saint Andrew tomb inside it.

The Costiera Amalfitana is a beautiful road to drive on, but everything is nearer than expect and one can easily go to Positano and Amalfi in one day. There’s nothing really new to see in those towns, except enjoy yourself in a new landscape (which we did).

During our stay in Sorrento, we also driven north, around Naples gulf, to see the Vesuvio volcano and the remains of Pompei… but that will be subject of my next post….

Capri

Posted by – 15/05/2008

Capri is one of the most famous islands in Europe. It’s said that many important and well-known people used to spend time in Capri. I’ve been told that most of the other rather unimportant people (like ourselves ;-)) just goes there in the morning and return in the evening, either from Sorrento or from Naples. I, instead, wanted to spend one night in Capri, and now I understand why people just go there for a quick visit… We got there taking a train from Rome to Naples (station Mergellina… that’s very important, for the port is just about 400 meters from the train station) and then a high-speed boat (slower boats can be taken from another port in Naples) to Capri.


First, let me put this straight: Capri is beautiful. It just is. The blue grotto, the most famous wanna-see touristic point in the island, really worth it. But if you’re planning to spend time on the island, make that longer than one night. That’s because everything takes more time than expected. And, take a good look at Google Maps before going… try to stay close to the harbor… everything else is too far!

Our hotel was a beautiful one, in Anacapri (Capri has two towns: Capri and Anacapri), but it was placed in the bottom of a long stair. That’s something that worth mentioning: they call every “path” via something, that includes roads, streets, stairs and paths. So beware or you’ll end up like us: dragging your luggage up and down stairs. Trust Google Maps!

The picture is from the Blue Grotto. It’s such a beautiful place! The water glows blue for the sun reflects the rock underneath the edges of the grotto. You can get there by bus (there’s one that departs from Bar Gruta Azzura) and after more stairs, you pay for the boat and the “trip” lasts for about 2 minutes, inside the grotto, with your boatman singing some italian song (Oh Sole Mio is the most frequent). Pay the man for the singing if you like it.

Everything in the island is reached by bus or on foot. We tried to reach a spot where it’s suppose to see the most beautiful sunset, but we’re tired before getting there, and the sun was covered anyway… After 30 minutes of walking up the hill, we gave up, and got back.

The restaurants are pretty expensive, but the people are really friendly. Everybody, except the people from our hotel, who told us to leave early in the morning for some group were coming… Too bad. If it were not for the blue grotto…

Capri has many other interesting thing to do, but, as I said, everything takes time… so if you plan to go there, either reserve more time (and maybe you’ll get the full attention from your hotel staff) or go for the quick trip with a predefined and managed tour.

Vatican and the Pope

Posted by – 12/05/2008

I was there last wednesday, and waited the whole morning to see the Pope and hear, in lots of different languages, that we should all love each other as brothers and so… Love messages apart, it was a boring morning waiting for the Pope to appear. The session started at 10:30, but we had to get in Saint Peter square as early as 8:30 to get a place. They have some reservation tickets one should ask beforehand to be allowed in the main part, where there are chairs. The whole cerimony is a but clumsy, as the Pope arrives in his open car, drives arround the square while everybody cheers for him, gets behind the reserved place, always followed by the Swiss Guard and sits in the main “trone”. Then every minister of foreign churches present salute him in their own language, pointing to the people from their coundtry that are present. when mentioned, the people manifests their presence by singing, screaming, or any other disturbing noise they can make (people from Mexico where near us and never stopped to scream “Mexico… Mexico… Mexico”, and so on). It takes a long time for each church. Then the Pope reads the same message in their language and the process start all over again, with another church.

The cerimony ends by the Pope blessing all the present as long as objects of devotion people might have brought. It’s not a bad cerimony, but lots could be done to speed it up a little bit.

The afternoon compensate the morning we lost waiting for the Pope: we visited the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel. There are no proper words to speak of them. I found works of art as beautiful and as old as art itself. I took a picture of a first century sculpture of Aesculapion, the god of Medicine, that was particularly found of.

The down side is that they don’t let you take pictures of the Sistine Chapel. The truth about the Sistine Chapel is that I was waiting for more. It’s a dark room with all those marvelous paintings kept in the dark as if people would ruin them. I know people can be mean to art works, but what would Michelangelo say if their marvelous works were kept from the public? Anyway, the paitings in the ceiling and the Final Judgement (that is on the main wall) are true masterpieces and, even though I couldn’t see them in all their beauty, being there worth it.

Saint Peter basilica is also one of the things I wanted to see. I was in the square in front of the basilica during the morning, for the Pope cerimony, but I left the basilica itself to be seen in the evening to try to avoid the long lines that formed after the cerimony. It was a pity I got there without batteries in my camera, for the interior is wonderful. Just after the entrance, in a right niche, we found Pietà, Michelangelo’s sculpture masterpiece he completed while only 25 years old! It’s wonderful.

The Swiss Guard is also a pictoresque aspect of the Vatican. They look like being dressed as clowns, but they’re outfit were designed by Michelangelo himself, and is being used since the 1500s. Also there are a lot of requirements to join Pope’s personal guard: being swiss-born citizen, speak a lot of languages (the number vary, but I was told 5 is enough), having served in the swiss army are just the ones to begin with.

Rome: the rest of day 1, and day 2

Posted by – 12/05/2008

Ciao. This is to continue my post about this travel Benda and I are on.

So here is the rest of the pictures from day 1. I’ve already posted the one of Fontana di Trevi, one of the most beautiful things we’ve seen in Rome. The next are Piazza di Spagna, and the Pantheon.

I hope I was getting to Piazza di Spagna and the steps in front of it with Spring more advanced, so we could see more flowers on it. I was told it gets even more beautiful as shown in our pictures, but what we found was great already. From Piazza di Spagna we went up the stairs and saw a lot of Rome’s narrow streets (we were on foot). It surely is a walk worth taking. If you go to Rome, take your time to see everything, for in every corner there might be a pleasant surprise. It’s a pity not everything fits this blog.

We reached the Pantheon from a side street. It was breathtaking! As we came near it, it kept growing bigger in our sight, by the time we got in front of it we understood what meant having something so old and magestic still standing. Once a pagan temple for “all gods”, now a catholic church, there are three things one must not fail to notice inside: a grave for three children dating before Christ, the grave for the famous Raphael, and the beautiful dome.

Day 2

On the second day, we went to the archeological part of Rome. We finally got a Roma Pass (it costs EUR 20, and besides the three-day public transportation pass, it gives you two free entries to any of the archeological sites or museums – each costs EUR 9 in average – and discounts for other places), so we tooke the metro to the Coloseum station. Watch out in the metro trains, as they’re usually crowded (and I really mean it! I never saw a train as crowded, and I’ve taken the metro on Sao Paulo!).

The first thing I thought about the Coloseum is that it’s huge, but not as big as Gremio Olimpic statium :-). Funny thoughts apart, the Coloseum is really a piece of art. What remains of it today somewhat takes some of its glory away. The walls are made of brown bricks, but in the past they were covered in white, artistically built (some remains of the walls can be seen inside). The central part is not there, revealing what exists beneath it… I can imagine the slaves and Gladiators being kept under the central part, waiting for show time. If you go to the Coloseum, dodge the fake “gladiators” in front of it, as they will offer themselves o appear in your picture, but will charge big time for it. If you want a picture with one of this gladiators, it might be better to arrange the price beforehand.

Leaving the Coloseum, one will find the old roman Forum, a series of buildings and temples that were the political center for antient Rome. It’s a huge site and it took more time to go thru than we first imagined, but it worth it. I found the Temple of Pollux and Castor of special interest. Those are the twins of the Gemini constellation, which is from where we got the name for my company, Propus, so I took a picture in front of the temple.

There are a lot of other interesting places to know while going up and out of the roman Forum. There’s a church that have been built on top of the prision that once held captive Saint Peter and Saint Paul. We could even enter the cell!

Nearby is the Monument to Vitorio Emanuel II, first king of Italy, and taken by everyone as the father of the country. It’s a huge white building with a monument of him mounting a horse and a flame that is always kept burning. A great place, and a great picture!

We ended the day in Campi dei Fiori, a bohemian part of Rome. It’s a square where the free market goes on in the morning, but in the evening has a lot of small stores and bars where people get together for the happy hour. In the center of the square there’s a monument in honor to Giordano Bruno, what remind people of what thar square was once: a place where the inquisition burned people judged as heretic, Giordano as the most famous of’em. Amazing as it was turned in a place of joy nowadays…