Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No place like Rome, part 2

(This is final part of this travel series.)

With only two full days in Rome, we decided to follow Rick Steve's suggested 2 - 3 days Rome itinerary to make the most of our stay. We did not strictly adhere to it but we were close.  Here was how our two days went:

Day 1: The Colosseum, The Palatine Hill, The Forum, Capitoline Hill, Trajan's Column, Vittorio Emmanuele Monument, The Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain

Day 2: St Peter's Basilica, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Piazza Popolo, Spanish Steps

As I was walking through the ruins, especially from the Colosseum to the Forum, I wished I had taken my history subjects more seriously. I would have gained more by paying attention to my history classes than daydreaming about my crushes which are now all history.

Reading a travel guide among the ruins.  

It helped to carry around Rick Steve's book on Italy. I appreciated the ruins better. At the Colosseum, I rented an audio guide but didn't find it very useful because sometimes I got distracted by the sights.

It might be more interesting to have a live tour guide, but I think they charge a lot unless you find a free walking tour like the one Gino and I joined in Florence three years ago. I knew there was one Facebook group offering that at the Colosseum. No, I think it was by donation. We could have joined that if the timing was right.

On our second day, we went early to St. Peter's Square in the Vatican before there was a long lineup of people wanting to enter the Basilica. After passing through security, we went inside this magnificent cathedral that is a famous pilgrimage place for the world's Catholics. It wowed me!!

St. Peter's Square

As we toured the basilica, I went inside a sanctuary where people prayed. No picture taking allowed. People went in to kneel, sit or stand quietly and offered prayers. I prayed to Jesus for the people inside. I sensed they were truly seeking to connect with God. Otherwise, they would be outside taking photographs.

After the basilica, we walked around the block to the Vatican Museums. The queue was very long. We were out on the sidewalk under the sun. Thankfully, we had bottled water and hats. Several people walked up and down offering a tour of the museums and promising to get you in more quickly. Hubby and I preferred to stay in line because we didn't want to pay the hefty price they were charging. Fortunately, it didn't take us too long, just 30 minutes maybe, to get to the entrance and buy our tickets (15 € each).

If the basilica wowed us, the museums WOWED us. Grandiose. Opulent. Immense.  Sobra!! (Over!!) ...

One of the highlights of our self-guided tour of the museums was the Sistine Chapel. No picture-taking or noise allowed. Here, we were constantly looking up to appreciate the art on the ceiling. Michaelangelo's painting of the Creation of Adam was not as big as we thought.

Leaving the museums, we had a feeling of being visually overloaded. It was like eating at a feast where you tried everything in a twenty course meal. I think we had sensory indigestion even before the end of the tour. Bob, who was a Fine Arts major, also felt it. Our capacity for appreciation was not enough to hold what the Vatican Museums offered.

It was late afternoon when we left the Vatican. We took the Metro train back to the other side of the Tiber River where we were staying. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Spanish Steps after a walk through Piazza Popolo. We were too tired to go up the Spanish Steps where many people were sitting and enjoying the sunset and simply stayed at the foot of the steps at the Barcaccia Fountain. Regrets... Oh well, another thing for next time.

Here's a simple slide show of the highlights of our Roman holiday set to the tune of Bach's Cantata #51, "Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen" (performed by Edward Carroll, Lee Soper, Richard Kapp: New York Philharmonia Virtuosi).

I hope you have enjoyed this series or obtained some travel ideas from it. Till the next one!!

Previous, No place like Rome, part 1

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