Monday, August 27, 2007

Ciao Roma. Musei Vaticani, San Pietro, Il Coluseo, Piazza Navona, La Fontana Trevi, etc.

I woke up at 5 AM because our Korean roommate had to get off in Bologna and needed her suitcase from up top. After she got off I climbed down and looked around the train station in Bologna and the surrounding areas as the train continued on to Rome. I fell back asleep and woke up to one of the train employees handing back rail passes and passports. I watched from out of the window for the rest of the trip into the station. Everything was gold and brown, much like the areas around San Diego. The train guy came back around with breakfast and we eventually got into the station and made our way to the hostel. The place we stayed in was pretty nice and relatively close to the station. We went to check in but we were too early (it was around 9:30 AM) so we checked our baggage and grabbed a map of Rome. I waited for about 40 minutes for the girls to get ready and then we headed off to the main station again to catch the metro to the Vatican Museums.

When we arrived we found the line to be a little long. It wrapped from the museum entrance around a few corners all the way to the front of St. Peter’s square. We kept following the line looking for the end so we could hop in and after about 20 minutes of walking we found it. We got in back and stood around waiting for our turn to get in. The line looked a lot worse than it actually was. We ended up waiting for about an hour and fifteen minutes before getting to the front door. Once inside we checked the backpack and began exploring the museum. We took the long walk through all the exhibits and saw a lot of really fancy paintings and tapestries and all sorts of relics and artifacts from all around the world. The walk ended in the Sistine Chapel which was even better than I had imagined and was absolutely enormous. The thought of some guy lying on top of scaffolding and painting the ceiling is mind boggling when you see how enormous and how intricate the room is. After our tour of the museums we went back to St. Peter’s square and took photos of the church and the fountains and obelisk. We didn’t go inside the church because I had a bunch of pocketknives which weren’t allowed in and we weren’t really dressed appropriately and the line was huge. Another time I guess. After we finished up in the square we got some pizza and headed back to the hostel to shower and change clothes. It felt really gross to not shower in the morning after sleeping in the hot stuffy sleeper car and then go out into the heat and humidity of Rome and sightsee. We went back and freshened up and I consulted Rick Steves’ Best of Europe to plan a fun evening for us. We decided first to head out to the Coliseum and explore the ruins there.

The coliseum was awesome. The basic structure is still standing which I thought was amazing considering how old it is and how much other stuff has been destroyed throughout the ages from wars and disasters and other stuff like that. Parts of the coliseum were being restored so we could see how it looked back in the Roman times which should look pretty cool once it’s done. We looked around the ruins and took our photos and jumped on a taxi to Piazza Navona for some gelato and neat fountains. We spent some time in the square watching people hawking stuff and I got some tasty ice cream and we kept walking towards the Pantheon. We got some pizza by the Pantheon and took photos of the building and looked around the area before continuing our walk towards the Trevi Fountain. When we got to the Trevi we found it mobbed by thousands of tourists and lots of street vendors pushing their wares. We threw some coins in and got out before the mobs crushed us and headed out towards another gelato shop. After getting even more gelato we kept walking towards the Spanish steps where our walk would end. We spent some time at the steps and went to take the Metro back only to find the metro had closed so we ran around underground for awhile before popping back up and taking a taxi back to the hostel. We went to sleep after a long day of sightseeing and woke up continuously throughout the night because it was cold and we didn’t have enough blankets.


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