Of course, we had already covered several on foot our first day....but having a gorgeous day and an open-top double decker bus to take you around the city was a treat.
After seeing the Trevi fountain being cleaned - a highlight to be sure - we wandered around a bit until we located one of the bright green signs indicating our bus stop.
But first - after Caffe Lattes and some serious early morning walking, Laura and I were on a quest for a bathroom. Laura had read that the best thing to do is look for a McDonald's. We jokingly (but not so much) realized this is our cultural contribution to Europe. You know....Egypt gives Rome a few dozen incredibly sculpted obelisks, and we provide Mickey-D's. And the signs for McDonald's are almost as ubiquitous as the obelisks and fountains.
So we found one at the foot of the Spanish Steps. And apparently, this McDonald's is quite famous. It was the first in Rome and spawned the Slow Food Movement. And I can't argue. Whether I was a native Italian or a tourist, I would much prefer the fresh food and leisurely dining that is so fitting to the Italian culture...with one exception. They really need to embrace the To-Go cup. For coffee, tea, soda, etc....it really is a necessity.
But if you HAVE to have a McDonald's, wouldn't you like to cop a squat with your Big Mac in a setting like this? This place was two stories of gorgeous, beautifully lit, and inspired design. The bathrooms were perfect...although take a euro in with you...most are coin access.
And this was the order counter. Filled with fresh pastries!
Once we had managed our bladder issues, we headed back to the nearest Ho-Ho stop and picked up a bus. Here's Laura marveling at the architecture.
We saw the Spanish Steps (again) and the famous Bernini sculpture that graces the Piazza di Spagna. Strangely enough, every picture of these steps on the internet is crammed with people. I guess our early morning starts really did allow us to avoid some crowds!
I loved this building which reminded me of the flat iron building in NYC.
Our next stop was definitely a highlight. This is the Piazza Venezia. This site inspired me to take a new look at some of our own historic government buildings. We just don't take the time to appreciate the grace and grandeur of these functional structures.
Next up...the Coliseum and other amazing sites.