This was the first day of the OAT main trip. All the previous days in Tuscany had been a pre-trip. Since this was the first official day, we had a brief meeting. Jorge’s friends, Miriam and Lou were introduced to the group. They had just gotten off the plane from Los Angeles but were ready to go.
As usual with OAT trips, our hotel was in the center of many of the popular tourist attractions. After breakfast we met our local guide and off we went on a walking tour of Rome. Looking down from the Spanish Steps, we saw crowds of people and heard lots of cheering. There was a marathon below! When we walked down the steps we found ourselves right in the middle of it. Our guide shepherded us through the runners and crowds as we all made it safely to the other side of the street.
A little later, we turned the corner, and there it was — the Trevi Fountain right in front of us. It was one of those breath-taking moments. What pictures could do the fountain justice? Our pano photos come close, hopefully!
Then it was on to the Pantheon where we joined a long line of folks waiting to get in. It moved fairly quickly especially after the many in the line were informed that they could not get in without tickets. Our guides, of course, had tickets for us. After showing our vaccination cards, in we went. The Pantheon began its life as an early Roman temple but in 609 became a church. It is quite a spectacular building with the enormous Doric columns and a huge rotunda area with the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. There is so much to see on the walls and the rotunda is so large that it was hard to take it all in.
Jorge and Ellen found a wonderful family-owned restaurant where the owner greeted us as long lost friends. We found Anne and sat with here. Ellen had the best mussels ever eaten!
After a well-earned nap, Ellen and Jorge grabbed the Hop-on-Hop-off bus. We saw some of the sights we had seen before plus the Ancient Roman Baths, the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine and the Circus Maximus. Definitely a pleasant way to spend the afternoon after our morning hike! Since this was officially the first OAT main tour day, we had a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant.