Tour of Rome: At 3 p.m. after checking into the Hotel King on Via Sistina, we met and walked back to Stop #11 on Via Veneto to grab the HO/HO bus with the intention of getting as close to the Pantheon as possible. We rode to the train terminal (Stop #1) to load more passengers. However, after a long wait of about 10-15 minutes, while we baked in the sun on the open-topped deck, the driver decided to call it quits for the day. Welcome to Italy! We found a spot on the bottom of a second bus. Luckily, the second bus wasn’t jam-packed because a fight between the bus driver and an irate passenger cleared away some of the faint-hearted tourists. We had just ridden an airplane for a thousand hours or so to get to Rome, so we weren’t about to be scared off a bus by a measly little brawl, so we grimly held our places. All eyewitnesses had different versions of what actually happened; but a little kick to the groin, a few angry words in Italian, slammed bus doors, and off we went.
Pantheon and Trevi Fountain: We got off the bus, consulted the handy map that had been provided, disagreed about directions a bit (first of many times)—but ended up at the Pantheon. What an amazing building! We were close enough to walk over to the Trevi Fountain. Since we were at the beginning of our vacation in an expensive area of the world, we didn’t want to start throwing our precious Euro coins into the fountain, even if that is what tradition tells us to do. Luckily, M&C had brought a supply of U.S. pennies for just such an occasion, so we threw them in. Since they were M&C’s coins, evidently they will return to Rome six times, or so the legend goes.