04 May 2011

Ciao Roma

We had one last day in Rome, and we went nonstop. It started with a bus ride to Saint Peter's Square...bus was packed, similar to what I take to work and about as smelly (though less homeless smell and more stinky tourist). We grabbed a bite and a cappuccino (which...I'm in love. Tempted to get my own machine) and headed to Vatican City.

Though I've now been lucky enough to see it several times, the sight of the Basilica never ceases to amaze me. It's stunning and overwhelming. Our first tour brought us into the necropolis, and we were lucky enough to have a good guide who knew quite a bit of church history. The age of everything we looked at was difficult to comprehend...as an American, and Californian to boot, our history is so recent; it's hard to fathom that "modern" here often refers to something 500+ years old.

We learned quite a bit about St. Peter, which I had either never heard in 12 years of catholic schooling, or just didn't remember. We got to check out his bones (~2000 years old) and his tomb, which now sits in the Grotto of the Basilica. After about 1.5 hours if dead things, it was time to head back to the land of the living. And to pizza!

Soon it was time to hit the Vatican Museums. This is one of my favorite museums...but, man, was it CROWDED! We again had a great guide, but you couldn't really stop to look at anything without being pushed and shuttled through. And it was rather warm. Simona, our guide, said the crowds weren't too bad and that it just gets more crowded (and hot) as the season goes on. Yikes. The Sistine Chapel was probably the least crowded, but only because they held a few groups at the door until others left.

The final night in Rome wouldn't be complete without a drink, so we headed to our favorite: Pepy's Bar in Piazza Barberini. It happened to be happy hour, which meant a drink and food from a huge buffet for 8E. Food was really good, too! A few cosmos, manhattans, and brachettos later, we thought it would be nice to watch the sunset from the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately, the rain clouds were covering the sky, blocking and view we may have.

Oh well!

We're now on our way to Florence, and I'm happy to be leaving Rome. It's just far too crowded for me (though I will miss the pizza). Can't wait for some (more) gelato!

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