St Peter's Square Panorama
So after our very exhausting day in Pompeii and Sorrento we decided to take some sleeping aid so we could actually get some sleep. We had a lot to do for day 3 and wanted to be well rested and get an early jump on Vatican City...
So day 3 starts like this, SHIT!!! It's 10:05! See the bad thing about those electric shutters is they get and keep it really dark in the room. Also, the sleeping pills make you sleep like...well, like you are drugged. So our plans to be at St Peter's by 830 are clearly out the window. This is upsetting.
..however, what is more upsetting (to me) is that we missed breakfast. This qualifies as a bad start to the day. We do our best to make up for it and get out of the hotel by 1030. We stop to have breakfast (at the same place we get our gelato at night). Breakfast cost 26 euros, this is for bread, fruit, water and coffee...all of which would have been free had we woken up just 10 minutes earlier....ARGHHH! Anyway, I'm over it -really, I am.
So instead of walking all over God's creation we take the subway over to Vatican City. What a time saver! We get off and head to St Peter's square where we are suitably impressed. This square is massive and something to behold. There are 284 Columns leading to St Peter's Basilica, with an introduction like that, this church better be fantastic.
Inside St Peter's Basilica
..Oh and is it! But let's back track. I somehow convince Angela to wait in line, while I take our cameras and go snap pictures. I'm gone for about 10 minutes and when i find her she has caught on that she got the short end of the stick. The line goes surprising fast...maybe 30 - 35 minutes total. And even though I have read and been told you can't take bags in with you, somehow my big old purse was fine...and I had actually been looking forward to not carrying it for awhile. So anyway, the first step into St Peter's will take your breath away. It is easily the most magnificent thing I have seen in my life. Now let me preface this by saying, by now all the churches are looking the same inside. They are all fantastic and all blending into one entity in my head.
But this, St Peter's, takes the cake. It is a marvel, I probably could have stayed and explored for hours upon hours. Unfortunately, after our late start and the line to get in we really had no time for that. I had an audio guide that was an hour and took me around the highlights of the church, and there are many including Michelangelo's Pieta. No words can adequately describe the size of this place, but for example, its capacity is 60,000 people and the dome is taller than a football field is long. So you get it, this place is huge, but that is only the half of it. The building is fantastically oppulent! Really, I'm overwhelmed just trying to explain the jaw-dropping qualities of this place. It is a must see.
On Ponte Sant Angelo in front of Castel Sant Angelo
I really wanted to go up to the cupola, but there was a line, and it costs, and did I mention we didn't have a lot of time? Also, I was starving and thought I may not make it up to the top before passing out. So we mail some postcards and leave. We souvenir shop for awhile and then attempt to get through the gates to see the rest of Vatican City (we failed). By then, I'm near crawling from hunger so we visit a street that is clearly a tourist trap with the hosts and hostesses battling for patronage. We choose the one where we end up waiting the longest...of course. We order off the tourist menu so we can eat lots of food. It was all just okay. It hit the spot, but it wasn't memorable. What was memorable was the hostess across the way trying to drum up business.
She was pleading like her life depended on it. It was sad really, because people seemed to smell her desperation and no one was going there. While eating we came up with an unrealistic game plan for the rest of the day. We would walk back to our hotel stopping at sites along the way...these sights we somehow that we would fit in are...the Pantheon, the Forum, the Colosseum (take 2), the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain. It's really laughable that we thought we could do it. So here is how it really went. We left Vatican City and we might as well go to Castel San't Angelo at least in passing...and we did and took pictures and took pictures of Nichelle and Fuzzles on Ponte Sant' Angelo...and before you know it an hour has passed.
Me in front of the Pantheon
Whoops! So on we go to Piazza Navona, which we figure we might as well see on the way to the Pantheon. Piazza Navona is full of artist and then we must look at their artwork...another hour gone. At this point, the sun is beginning to set and we realize the Forum and the Colosseum are out of the question. They are too far away. So at this point we relax a little and head to the Pantheon where I marvel endlessly at the fact that this dome was built 1000 years before the next dome of this magnitude....and this building is superbly maintained. The bronze and such is gone, but it is still amazing to think about them building this. Also, the hole in the middle entertained me. I was hoping for a quick downpour so I could see it rain inside! It didn't happen so we were off to the spanish steps.
Rain on Me
Now, this was my sister's thing, but I quickly fell in love with this side of town. If
I were ever to move to Rome
, I would live here. It' a bit more classy than the side of town we are staying on (and by a bit, I mean monumentally). We watch all the lovers make out on the steps and probably both wish we were here with someone to make out with. I head up to the church (Trinita dei Monti) and notice that the way the sun is setting is casting a heart on the building...how perfect! As I'm taking pictures some man with a great camera asks if he can take some pictures of me. Why not? As I'm posing for him my sister comes out of the church and clearly is curious about my impromptu modeling session.
A little bit of love in Italy
She joins in and we get him to take pictures of us with our own cameras. She is convinced we will find pictures of us on the internet... I remind her that we are fully clothed so it should be okay.
With the spanish steps behind us we set out to find this Crispini Gelato that Angela saw on the travel channel. On the way, a man in front of a restaurant stops us and offers us free champagne. Why not? Pictures! Free champagne! I'm starting to feel famous! We drink champagne with him and he precedes to tell us how much Italian men like black American women. Good to know, I guess. Next time I'm in the market for a man, I'll head to Italy. We finish our Champagne and he gives us directions to our gelato and we are on our way.
Angela gets gelato here, but I sit this one out. I already had gelato today. She assures me that it is very very good, and I believe her because there are signs all over the walls assuring the exact same thing.
Gelato duty fulfilled for the day we head to Trevi Fountain, after getting lost several times. This fountain is something to behold really, but it is crowded and after taking shots of ourselves and Fuzzles we high tail it out of there. It's alreay 10pm and it's time to head back to the hotel and pack up...tomorrow morning we leave for Florence! On the way back to the hotel we pass a restaurant that has the best looking pizza I have ever seen...and it has one open table. We help ourselves to it. When the waiter comes I ask for the same pizza than man next to us is eating.
He asks Angela what she wants, and I tell him we will share it, after all it's 1030 at night. At which point he kicks us out. No sharing allowed, "this is a ristorante!" I try to explain to him that only I am hungry, but to no avail, he rants on and on to me in Italian, while taking our menus and pointing for us to leave. OKAY! Geesh, I can't even get it to go! After that, I'm tired and aggravated so we take the subway back to the hotel. End of Day 3!