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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rome, Italy: The Colosseum ate my toe.

The Colosseum is an obvious can't-miss in Rome.
On our first morning in the Eternal City, Matt and I woke up bright and early to visit one of the most intriguing sites from our entire honeymoon trip. We spent hours wandering the Colosseum, learning more about its history and marveling at its grandeur.

It was such a perfect way to kick off our packed schedule that day. That is, until tragedy struck and I nearly lost the tip of my big toe (it was hanging on by a thread). I'll just share the story via excerpts from an e-mail I wrote to my parents that night. Why rewrite it when I can just cut and paste, right? (And if you'd rather not read my ramblings, skip to the picture and I'll give a much quicker recap below it.)

"So, I'm sure a 3 a.m. phone call from your daughter in Rome telling you she basically spliced off her toe and it won't stop gushing blood isn't exactly the most pleasant thing in the world! But thank you SO much for your help in figuring everything out. All in the middle of the night. You're the best parents ever and I really appreciate your help. Now that we're not paying $1.50 a minute to talk to you (in fact, it's only £1.50 an hour for this internet cafe--woohoo, since Venice was £2.50 for just 15 minutes!), I'll give you a few more pleasant details about our trip... and all the gory details about the toe.
. . . [This is where I caught my parents up from Austria through Venice] . . .
Now we're in Rome. Liz said Rome was dirty and boy, was she right. We both wore flip flops yesterday and you should have seen our feet! We took a picture just in case you feel like you missed out haha. We took ourselves on a little walking tour of all the not-major sites yesterday since everything was closed when we got here (at 5 p.m.--long ride from Venice). We went to the Trevi as well, which was really neat--we're going back tonight when it's dark just to get the full movie experience there :-) The plan today was to get to the Colosseum before it opens at 8:30, spend a couple hours there before heading to the Forum, and then take a lunch break before the Vatican at 1:00. We got up on time and everything this morning, had a lovely time exploring the Colosseum (SO cool), and were literally following the exit signs to head to the Forum when tragedy struck.

Okay, not tragedy, but... close. You know how there are pedestals that line the edge of the walkway every few feet (along the ground floor on the inside at the base of every arch)? And how thery're all about 3-4 feet high? Yeah, well, some Roman genius decided about 2000 years ago that it would be super fun to have one about 3 feet wide and 2 inches high just so he could tear off my toe. Matt and I were just strolling along, holding hands, talking about the Forum when I suddenly felt this excruciating pain shooting up from my right big toe. I looked down, saw the blood gushing, and turned around to see my perpetrator, which was a lame one if you ask me. It wasnt even a pedestal, just raised Colosseum rock, just for the heck of it. Matt got the 2-foot-wide walkway and I got the nasty little stone that almost filleted off the top of my toe.

Anyway, we had conveniently left our first aid kit at the hotel about 1 km away, so Matt left me and sprinted up the hills back to the hotel. As soon as he left, I realized we didn't have cell phones, so finding each other at the now-crowded Colosseum might be interesting. I proceeded to find a worker who spoke no English but freaked out and pointed toward the direction of the ticket office (which was still quite far away when you're crippled) when I showed her my bleeding toe. The workers at the ticket office were helpful--they let me sit down in the air conditioned room and gave me some green stuff to clean up with, a piece of gauze, and two bandaids. I think that's all they had. (Actually, I know that's all they had cause the guy said he'd give me a few extras and then went through the box and couldn't find anything.)

I walked outside and seeing as my toe was still bleeding and we were a solid 20-30 minutes into the ordeal, I was forced to LIE DOWN in ROME so I could get my foot elevated enough to control the bleeding. Matt found me about 4 minutes later and was dripping in sweat from his little trip, and so concerned because he'd been looking for me for about 10 minutes. Then, he left me again, lying down on the steps of the Colosseum with my foot propped up against the pillar while he jogged this time to the hotel to get the phone. And that's when I called you. So now you know the rest. My toe finally stopped bleeding about 45 minutes later, and we got it all cleaned up again and went on with our day (skipping the Forum and barely making our appointment at the Vatican). We figure we'll watch it for infections and go to the doctor if we need to. It's nice to know that'll be free if it comes to that. ..."
Recap: Matt and Ashley had a lovely time at the Colosseum. On the way out, the camouflaged perpetrator pictured above decided to attack and I learned you should wear shoes, not flip flops, around ancient Roman ruins. The tip of my big toe was hanging on by a thread, I kept it elevated as it gushed blood for well over an hour (and continued to bleed throughout the day, naturally), and my parents saved the day by googling pharmacy locations at 3 a.m. their time as well as confirming that Tricare would pay for medical expenses if my toe turned green and threatened to fall off for real. So fun.
We randomly took cheesy pictures with this creepy-looking "gladiator" (he would've been dead in 5 seconds back in the day) before taking off and then walked/hobbled over to the Vatican and carried on with our plans.
More Rome to come!


  1. OH no....I know your toe had to hurt SO bad! I will make sure that I look out for those things that you kicked! I will probably end up doing the same thing though....I am so clumsy!

    I love all of your pictures....I cant wait to go!!!

  2. I'm not sure why, but we never actually went in the Colosseum...now a must do when we head back to Roma! Sorry about the toe...I can't imagine!

  3. omg! That stone thing is brutal! I am impressed that Matt ran all the way to the hotel to get you supplies. I too have cut my toe open really badly, but on staph infested Hawaiin coral . Hope it heals well and you don't get some nasty infection. The first two pics on your blog are awesome, your photog classes have paid off, can't wait to hear more!

  4. Seriously my toes curled up in fear when I read your post. GAH! I am always breaking my big toe nail and bleeding all the live long day. I wear shoes all day now even when I'm at home just so I won't do exactly what you just described. It's not that my house is full of death traps like the coliseum. It's just that I am such a MAJOR KLUTZ!

    Is your toe okay now?

  5. oh my goodness, i would've TOTALLY tripped/ran into that rock, what the heck?? hope ur toe is OK, TriCare usually covers most things, hopefully they'll cover an almost sliced off toe in Italy haha! it's moments like these that are supposed to make ur REALLY remember ur trips for yrs to come, haha!


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