Day 13 Friday June 7Rome
9:15 PM – Another very busy day. We – Pat, Daria & I – had to check in for our tour at 7 am. We boarded the bus for Rome with all our luggage. It took 1.5 hours to get there. We picked up a local guide for the Vatican. He had us all set up with radios and ear plugs by 9. The lines are unbelievable, so it was good to be able to go right in. We made a really fast traverse through a number of halls filled with wonderful things and then to the Sistine Chapel. It is so different in real life. After that we went into St. Peter’s Basilica, a very ornate and huge building. The size is very deceptive, but everything is to scale. Our last move was to go out into St. Peter’s Square – where we saw all the people waiting in line for the Basilica. It was interesting to see them turning people away. They have a strict dress code. In Istanbul, they had sheets to give to people who needed to cover up for the mosque. The Vatican apparently doesn’t feel the need to be diplomatic.
After the tour we were taken to the Central City Terminal. The tour people had a guy there to get us taxis – very easy and well organized. The trip to the hotel was quick, but I still wouldn’t drive in the city. Our rooms were not ready, but Joe & Linda were in their room. We stashed our luggage there and walked down the block for lunch. This seems to be a very nice urban neighborhood.
Joe & Linda decided to go off sightseeing. The rest of us went back to get settled in and rest. We went out to dinner about 6:30. Joe wanted to go to some restaurant recommended by Rick Steves. He took off and the rest of us trailed along. By the time we made it all the way to the Coliseum, I was ready to rebel. We plugged on going in a big circle and finally found it. It was closed. After a little back & forth we picked a restaurant that we had passed overlooking the Coliseum. Dinner was very good and relaxing; a little expensive due to the view, but nice. Joe & Linda wanted to watch the lights go up on the Coliseum, so the rest of us went back to the hotel. Along the way, we checked out a number of interesting looking restaurants within a block or two of the hotel.
The hotel is nice enough, but different from a big hotel, not in a bad way.
Tomorrow we 3 plan an unstructured day in the neighborhood.