5.14.09 Rome- the Vatican and Coliseum

Rome Travel Blog

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5.14.09 Rome Vatican and Coliseum


We made fools of ourselves only once today with the bus!  Awesome!  We came up from the subway to see our bus 246 and we ran to the doors to beg the driver to open them.  He pointed to the stop 10’ forward of the bus, which was stuck in traffic.  Oh, we thought the bus was *leaving* the stop.  We laughed at ourselves as we went to the stop and stood behind the throngs waiting to get on.  There were a lot of bus stops close together and we were glad to squash on that bus. 


The buses here are very few and far between- they are not efficient and having a daily pass would likely be a waste of money in Rome. The subway only has 2 lines that aren’t efficiently placed and the buses are stuck in traffic most of the time.  It is faster to walk, trust me.  But we did need that bus back to the campground and were thrilled to get on it and make it back by 5:30 pm.


The store across the street is like a huge Walmart with clothes, shoes, and groceries.  We bought a few items, but our purchases from an in-town grocery store for lunch were excessive, so we already have plenty for dinner.  We bought Italian pasta, prepared fruit, pizzas, some rice/mozzarella breaded balls, a “pumpkin flower” fried thing, some highly recoimmended fresh mozzarella in water, yogurt, tuna sandwich, and who knows what else. 


The yogurt came in handy when one burst and Charles headed for the trashcan to throw it away.  However, a bee flew out of the trash, into his shirt and stung him several times.  I put yogurt on it and he said it helped tremendously within one minute!  Who knew?! 


We visited the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica today!  The Sistine Chapel is preceeded by about 12 “museum” rooms of tremendous beauty, with ornate ceilings, paintings, tapestries, and hordes of tourists following guides who hold up umbrellas, sticks with stuffed animals on them, etc.  There is a crush of bodies and maneuvering through the throngs is a job best left to Lia with a “leash” on her from the fanny pack.  Having done this before, I knew that there were many rooms before the actual Sistine Chapel.  Now kids only have so much energy and so we breezed through these amazing rooms as quickly as the crowds allowed. 


Finally we reached the Sistine Chapel, pointed out the Adam and Eve as well as Michealango’s most famous works, then retreated.  I mean, it is CRAZY in there.  I don’t know how they don’t have people die from being crushed to death in the Sistine Chapel.  The place closes between 12:20 pm and 1:00 pm, probably just to clear the crowds!  Then we worked our way back out with the kids voicing their thankfulness at the speed.  We spiraled down the many layers of steps and out to the hot sunshine.


From there, we walked the half mile around the walls of the Vatican (the smallest nation in the world) to St. Peter’s Basilica.  The interesting thing here was that we got in a long line, only to have some college students sort of just push in on Jazy to cut in line.  I told them they were welcome to do that, provided they asked everyone in line behind us.  They said that “Christ will forgive us” and basically ignored us.  Rather than stand there and simmer, I figured we’d made our point and we might as well enjoy them since they obviously spoke English. 


It turned out they were students from Austria and were awaiting their A11 exams in a few weeks, which are orals completed in front of a 3-person “jury” in order to get their diplomas.  They’ve already completed their written exams.  An irony was that one of them was taking an exam in “ethics”!  Haha! 


Lia was mad that I let them get away with such obvious transgression as breaking in line, but really!  What are you goin to do?  Rick Steves’ mentions that when you travel, if something is not to your liking, then change your liking.


Next time, what I’m going to do is this:  I’m going to speak right up and say, “Where have you been?!  We have been waiting for you all this time!  How long did you think you could wait until all these people behind us get angry that we held your spot for you?!”  That ought to get them-  Haha!


Anyway, in spite of their breaking in line, we enjoyed talking with them and the line seemed to go at rocket speed before we could finish our conversation- definitely better than the angry huffing and silence of irritation from line-breakers. 


St. Peter’s was massive- the largest church in the world, in fact!  We appreciated the grandeur, the kids got to rub St. Peter’s statue foot, and we admired all around, even observing a mass taking place at mid-day.


Then we headed toward the coliseum, getting turned around no fewer than 3 times.  But we did get to see more of Rome that way! 


The Coliseum cost 12 E per person, including kids- Yikes!  But we couldn’t come to Rome without seeing it and so I just coughed it up.  We wandered all around the carefully defined tourist pathway.  It was really surreal being in such an ancient place.


Then we caught the metro to the bus (described in this blog's beginning), and returned to the campground.


At the campground, we told them we were scheduled to check out tomorrow, but we decided we really wanted to stay forever.  However, we guessed adding an extra day was the best thing to do right now.


So we threw off our clothes, on our bathing suits, and are now out by the pool with the sun setting behind the trees.  It is starting to cool off a wee bit finally.  I can only imagine in the heat in July and August.  Italian and American music alternates on the pool stereo.  We just love this campground!


We bought more gelato (2E each) and our nice guy here loads up the cups as high as he possibly can.  Yesterday, Jazy and I apparently between ourselves left Charles’ iTouch at the pool chair- someone turned it in to the bar staff and they held it until Charles returned an hour later to inquire about it.  I sent him back with a tip for the staff who were honest enough to return it.  I think we’ve been banned from touching it now though.


So we’ve had a marvelous time seeing lovely Rome- it is a beautiful city with gorgeous architecture, ancient historical sites, and dazzling sunshine.  It is crowded with tourists, since May and June are considered high season, with many Americans around here.  The campground is beyond delightful and we look forward to enjoying the Italian ambiance here tomorrow as well.


Another Quote of the Day from a lady we met:  “So it’s just you and your 3 kids?  Well who is driving then?”


Jazy’s response:  “Um, my DOG.  Yes, it took awhile for him to get his driver’s lessons, and parallel parking took him 2 months to learn, but he finally got it and so now we can go on our trip!”


Another good answer we decided upon:  “Well, we just bought a man so we could go.  We’re going to sell him when we get home.  Do you know anyone who needs a man so they can drive somewhere?” 


Oh brother!  J



bkretzer says:
Great Blog, Tessa!
Posted on: May 14, 2009
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photo by: vulindlela