Wow.. now what?
21.07.2011 - 22.07.2011 28 °C
Tracy and I headed over to the termini to check out tour options. After finally finding an info site we discovered they don't have brochures out and ready for travelers. But we did talk to Guido who works with green line hop on and off buses, so we can stop by there tomorrow and get a deal.
We got a taxi and the five of us squeezed into a cab for four. Pretty funny. I have pictures. We arrived at the Vatican and it was not that busy. We had reserved tickets that probably saved us five minutes, but we were in in no time. We split up for the first hour exploring the area around the Cortile Della Pigna Courtyard. There are Egyptian displays including the mummy of a woman who died three millennium ago. Her hair was red with henna and on the lid of her coffin lid was the stuff she packed on her journey to the afterlife.
We moved onto animals as Egyptians worshiped them as incarnations of the gods, and brown tablets with Sumerian writing. The next rooms displayed more Roman statuary, frescoes and artifacts. Everyone was crowded around the Belvedere torso, which is all that remains of an ancient statue of Hercules. Then the round room, which shows some idea of Roman grandeur, the floor tiled with what, was once the bottom of a roman bath.
The long walk to the Sistine chapel begins. A quarter mile of tapestries maps and sculpture. Tracy pointed out the tapestries were made in Belgium. The Raphael rooms were amazing. His students finished the frescoes started by 25-year-old Raphael who was quite handsome and sophisticated. We have been in and out of rooms, down halls, up stairs and down stairs and again we are lead downstairs. You begin to wonder if you will ever get there when you see a sign reminding us of proper attire for the chapel and we are in. We found seats along the sides and just sat and took in the sites. People were stopped at the door and asked to cover up, people were taking pictures and warned to stop, many were loud and ever few minutes they were shushed and the noise level lowers for a moment and then builds. No words here...just look it up.
The long walk back takes you by everything Pope related. Stoles, hats, rings, bibles and all. We make our way down to the washrooms and order drinks while Roger and Tracy nip up to get some very mediocre pizza and we enjoyed our break. Again we walk down and return the two audio guides and make our way outside.
A 15-minute walk to the left brings us to St. Peter's Basilica. We find a spot for Joyce and Doris to sit and watch the world go by. The vote is taken and we go in. The line up is short and we pass security. Again I have no words to describe what I see. The mix of emotions, of the wealth in the Basilica and the poverty in Rome, the beauty, The Pieta, done by Michelangelo at age 24 was remarkable. It was too late to see the tombs, but there is always another time, we did throw coins in the Trevi fountain after all. There was a service going on and the temptation to stay was strong, but we chose to move along and this time we found a taxi van and our return trip was much better. Certainly not as entertaining. Dinner was Egg and chips for Joyce and salad. Simple, but really we're not too hungry. The Gin and Tonic and wine are much more appreciated. It is already after nine so we head out to find Internet. You have to register at McDonalds and have a phone number where they can text you the password. We find another place and buy a beer and get hooked up, but for whatever reason it kept kicking us out of gmail, which is where I need to be to get travel details confirmed for flights on Friday.
We also tried to plan something for the seniors. While a riverboat ride seemed a possibility the reviews on Trip Advisor all panned it. Lousy food, the river is below city level so no views and so on.