Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rome

Umm.. so, it's been several months since we got home from Europe and it's been bugging that I never posted anything about Rome.  Since Rome was our last stop, we were a bit worn down and just not in the mood to blog any more.  Well, I guess it's better late than never.

We left the farm in San Gimignano and went to Orvieto for a night before heading to Rome.  The drive was scenic but uneventful.  We caught the train from Orvieto the next morning and arrived in Rome ready to be pickpocketed.  We were on our guard quite a bit more than we had been elsewhere because we had heard so many bad things about crime in Rome.  Maybe we were just careful or maybe we were overly cautious.  Whatever it was, we didn't have any issues with theft.

Our apartment was great.  We were only about 2 blocks from the Colloseum and had a great view.  We think that we were in a local neighborhood as opposed to a tourist area with hotels.  There were a lot of great little restaurants in the area, especially this little pizza joint we stopped at a few times.  I think that the food in Rome was pretty good, not as good as Tuscany, but close.

From our hotel, we were able to walk to the Colloseum and to the Metro stations easily.  We got to see where history began.  There we were, walking around where so much history has taken place.  We heard it called the "Stratification of History" once.  I think that really sums it up.  From the Colloseum to the Forum to the various arches to the Vatican, there's just so much history.  Honestly, Megan and I not very excited to go to Rome, but felt like we had to since we were in Italy.  I think we were plesantly surprised.  It was just a great experience - everything except the heat!  We almost melted from the heat.

One trip that stands out was Vatican City.  We got passes in advance as recommended by the guide book.  Not only was it the smartest thing we did on the trip, but it also paid off tremendously.  When we arrived, there was a line 3 people wide wrapped around the city walls.  We got into the reservations line and literally walked right into the front doors without any delay. It saved us several hours.  Also, if you can get there before your reservation time, the didn't seem to care about the time, just that you had a reservation.  Once inside, we walked through the museum for a bit, which we weren't crazy about, then made our way to the Sistine Chapel.  We must have walked for several miles to get there.  There is a maze of hallways that you must navigate to get there.  Once inside, they ask that you be quiet, and don't take pictures.  I was able to sneak a few pictures though (just turn off the flash).  The ceiling was amazing.  We listened to Rick Steves' audio tour and it was very informative.  There's so much there.  It's worth the trip.  We also toured St. Peter's Basilica.  It was huge.  If you want to get a good idea of it, watch the Angels & Demons.  The ceiling is as high as a football field in places.  It was just huge.

Overall, it was a great way to end our tour.  We had a blast.  Well, that's about it for Europe.  I just wanted to get this into the blog.

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