Thursday, January 04, 2007

Rome Part 2 

Our second day (Friday) in Rome we decided to go over to the opposite side of the city and go to the Vatican museum. We asked at the front desk if we should take a taxi or a bus and as usual they recommended the bus. The bus stop is very close to the hotel, and of course quite cheap. We just are never very clear on where to get off, but we knew we would see the church dome so could plan where to get off by that. Another couple from our hotel was making the same trip, and they were so nice! They work in England, at a US Air Force base there. We kept running into them all over Rome for the remainder of our trip, and had breakfast with them Saturday.

The line for the Vatican museum was so long --- I was not looking forward to the wait. But it moved very quickly so it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. We made it in and used our Rick Steves guide book to see some of the major sights, all routes lead to the Sistine Chapel at the end of the museum. Everything was so overwhelming there, even the building itself is so grand and ornate. Then add in all the art and it's something that you could visit over and over again. And still not see it all! One of the things we saw that was pretty cool was a statue recovered in Pompeii, the large "bowl" in front of it was Nero's. This room was one of my favorites there. Of course the Sistine Chapel was really nice, it was just so crowded. Hard to believe we were there in the "off" season.

The weather was perfect every day we were there, the worst was a bit cloudy one day, but mostly sunny and warm. It was a nice change from the cool weather in Germany, the sun seemed brighter there. We really enjoyed it, since we were walking so much.

We left the museum and grabbed some lunch across the street, then entered back into Vatican City to visit St. Peters. Everything we saw was so immense and impressive, it was really too much to take it all in. There were men cleaning a section of the cathedral, and they looked like toys up there so high. This was on the inside! When our necks were tired of looking straight up for so long, we headed on out and walked over to the Tiber river, and past some various sights that we didn't take the time to tour.

We rested a bit and looked at the river, and then crossed over and began to explore some of the smaller streets and plazas in that area. There is so much to see, we knew we couldn't do it all in such a short time. But we did see so much, both from the tourist guide book and some out of the way things. The streets are so crooked and narrow we were glad to have our GPS with us to help us at least figure out where we were on the map. It was getting dark so we headed off with all the other Americans in Rome to the Hard Rock Cafe. Jacob made friends with the hostess and even stood up in his chair and danced for everyone -- too much 7up or something like that. We always enjoy a meal at Hard Rock after being away from the U.S. for so long, and it didn't disappoint.

Then we again started walking back to our hotel, finally grabbing a taxi when we realized we were going to have to carry Jacob. He really did great and walked so much, but just couldn't go on any further. Even the taxi rides are fun, you will be cruising along (rapidly) and see some Roman columns standing next to a modern building. Or an excavation site in the middle of everything, it's pretty crazy. Speaking of crazy -- well driving there is definitely an art. It's not just busy like any large city, but some roads are so tiny and it seems like a free for all at times. But I imagine the most accidents are caused by non-locals, since everyone local seems to understand how to do it the "roman" way.

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