We are at breakfast at eight. The weather forecast promises rain. The hotel's breakfast is ok, but we do not like the bacon that is more boiled than fried, and the "juice" is sweet coloured lemonade - pfui!
A party of newly arrived Danes has colonized a part of the restaurant and chats eagerly about adventures to come.
We take the metro to Colosseo and are at Coliseum a few minutes before it opens at nine. Being early you avoid the line that will soon form. A few raindrops fall, but it is nothing and does not prevent us from being impressed.
The eerie music like dissonant horns is probably meant to put visitors in the right mood. The number of tourists and companies increases quickly, and having seen enough we find the exit sign.
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Basilica San Clemente
We walk down Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano to find the San Clemente basilica. From time to time our umbrellas unfold, but the rain is just teasing and is too lazy to bother us seriously.
The basilica is quite something. On the surface (terrain) it is a church from the 12th century. In the "cellars" below is a church from the 4th century, and below that (!) is an even older temple for the Persian cult Mithra that eventually lost the race against Christianity.
Here at the very bottom are old Roman pipes and they are still transporting water! The basilica's monks excavated it all. Just as we leave a lot of tourists arrive, so we timed it well.
We walk to Piazza San Clemente and take a bus. It goes in the wrong direction, which we discover when we see a road sign for Via Appia Nuova. No problem: we just get off, take a metro and in no time we are at Termini. In a small supermarket we shop for a light lunch consisting of crackers, scamorza cheese, cherries and some pears.
The National Museum and supper
After the siesta we visit Rome's national museum in Palazzo Massimo by Piazza Nazionale. Here is an amazing collection of antique busts and sculptures; many of which are Roman copies of older Greek works.
On the top floor is an evenly impressive collection of mosaics and frescoes, and in the basement are jewellery and stuff like minute perfume bottles and amber pill boxes. There is also a coin exhibition, which we skip.
Later we take a bus down Via Nazionale. In Via del Boschetto we find the restaurant with a courtyard in the back. I make a reservation for 20.30 and then we walk to the piazza and Bar la Piazzetta and relax with a glass of white wine.
Back at the restaurant most tables in the backyard are occupied. There is plenty of room inside, but obviously everybody wants to be outdoors. There are two waiters, and one of them is monstrously overweight.
We want something light for starters and both decide on vegetable soup. But the soup is finito, so Helle chooses Buccatini all'Amatriciani and I settle for pasta with mushrooms.
For main course Helle gets veal in a nice wine/vinegar sauce, while I get a solid chunk of tender osso buco. We share a tomato salad and some oven baked potatoes. It is excellent except for the potatoes that are dry and dull.
Next to us are two locals and one of them asks if we are Americans. He wants to chat and when we reveal our nationality he tells that he worked in Copenhagen ten years ago. It is difficult to understand his (too fast) Italian, and since he speaks nothing but Italian it is a limited conversation.
At another table nearby are four young American girls with an excellent appetite - at least they have ordered dessert, for which we have absolutely no room. One of the girls has got biscotti and Vin Santo and bites the hard almond cakes with care - or regret?
Helle whispers that I should tell the girl how to use the wine as a dip, and when I oblige I am instantly presumed to be British. "Oh, Danish!", the girls chirp as one, when I correct their mistake. One of the girls has a Danish mother and will go to Copenhagen next month, and I retreat with British reserve.
We take a bus to Termini and as we are about to cross the street at Cinquecento square we come upon a very small kitten calling for her mother and very anxious to cross too. Helle manages to prevent this suicidal act, and hopefully the kitten's mother is close by.