Sunday, March 24, 2013

Roma, Italia!

The sun was shining Tuesday morning, our travel day to Rome. I can’t say we were disappointed. Walking in the rain with luggage isn’t much fun :) We left our countryside apartment at 10 AM and drove the rental car into Center City to return it. Once that was accomplished, we headed for the train station. The new train service, Italo, had a very nice lounge for us to wait in so we settled in and did a little reading while we waited on our train to Rome.

High speed rail is pretty cool. This photo has a lot of glare, but it shows us going 300 km/h :)

IMG_2013032437637

We knew our hotel, Mercure Roma Piazza Bologna, was within walking distance of the Tibertina train terminal, so I plugged it into Google maps on my phone and we headed in that direction. Less than 10 minutes later we were in the lobby. Love Google maps :)

We settled into our rooms and then headed out to find something to eat but it was the wrong time of day. Most restaurants close around 2 PM and don’t reopen until 7 or 8 PM for dinner. The Italians like to eat late. You know what they say, “when in Rome, do as the Romans” :) We had gotten used to eating late from the very beginning because that’s just the way it is here. Today, however, we hadn’t had any lunch due to travel so we were hungry. No problem! We found a little meat market around the corner, purchased some cheese and some wine and headed back to our rooms :) We had crackers left over from a previous grocery stop, so we snacked nicely until the restaurants opened for the evening :)

Wednesday started out nice and sunny and we headed out somewhat unprepared for the rain that would eventually come, but all in all, we didn’t even melt :)

We spent the better part of the day touring the Colosseum which is amazing. We toured the inside but frankly, getting off the Metro, stepping onto the sidewalk and looking across the street to see this

P1030173 (Medium)

was awe inspiring for me. Here was the remains of a structure built 2000 years ago!

Colosseum

Inside Colosseum

Right next to the Colosseum was the Roman Forum, the center of public life in ancient Rome.

Roman Forum

A closer look shows some of the cables used to hold things together.

P1030246

The entire area surrounding the forum was filled with ruins. 

Ruins

We also toured Palentine Hill, where the Roman Emperors’ built their palaces.

Palentine Hill

The garden area of the hill gave a splendid view of Rome

Roma

After all of that, we stopped for a wonderful late lunch/early dinner and returned to the hotel for the night.

Thursday was a beautiful day and we headed out early to see Vatican City. It was hard to believe that just a few days earlier a new Pope was elected in this very same place and he said his first Mass as Pope here yesterday (Wed).

St. Peters Square

St Peters Square 

St. Peters Basilica

P1030313

P1030314

P1030316 

All visitors were required to go through security but it didn’t take much time and shortly after we were at the doors of St. Peters. Us and 1000 of our friends that is :) Keep in mind, this is not tourist season yet. It’s not even close to being busy like it will be in another month. I can’t even imagine.

P1030334

Our first glimpse at the opulent interior

P1030337

The artistry was magnificent

P1030372

 P1030341

 P1030342

 P1030359

The entire perimeter of the Vatican is enclosed by a brick wall.

P1030392

We wanted to walk the perimeter but no one was allowed into the private areas.

P1030374

That didn’t stop us though! We walked around the outside of the wall and now can say we’ve walked around an entire country :)

P1030391

The Vatican also sports it’s own Post Office and there were many people posting items at this drop. It must be a popular thing to do.

P1030376

Once we left the Vatican, we took a walking tour of part of Rome. I’m including links to these stops should you wish more information. This post is long enough :)

The Spanish Steps

P1030402

Trevi Fountain

P1030417

and The Pantheon

P1030411 P1030408 P1030410 Everything we saw in Rome was several hundred years older than the United States. Amazing.

We also did a little shopping before stopping for dinner. How about the size of this salami?

P1030426

It was a very full day and we all slept well that night.

We left Rome on Friday, the first day of a city wide transit strike. I think our timing was pretty good on that one :)

We enjoyed a yummy Italian pastry and a coffee Americano at a little cafe close to the hotel before checking out.

We took a train to Napoli (Naples) just for an overnight stay. Sheila and Vern were flying out of there first thing Saturday morning while Rick and I were going to continue on to the Amalfi Coast on Saturday.

I have no photos of Napoli. What we saw was a run down, dirty city. I’m sure if we had spent more time there, we might have found a few things to enjoy, but an overnighter was all we were inclined to do. The unemployment rate was 30% and pick pockets were everywhere. It was the only time on our entire trip where we did not feel comfortable.

I think this post has gone on long enough :) Next stop: Vietri sul Mare. Stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by wlEmoticon-turtle[2]

9 comments:

  1. Wow Gail what a trip. Your pictures are breath taking. I don't kmow about 300 mpg. 70 is more than I like. Sorry to hear about Naples. I wonder how one city in a country can have a 30% unemployment rate or is the entire country in a depression? People become desperate, no wonder you were uncomfortable. Looking foward to more of the beauty you are seeing. The Vatican is amazing. Boy the money. Wonder how they will continue to pay the upkeep???

    (aside:.....how did you get get blogger to actually put your text right after 'Post a Comment' rather than below the entire comment box like they did on mine). SIGH...blogger.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sherry, I see the text below the comment box too. Maybe because you were the first to comment that it was closer?

      Delete
  2. WOW...Rome, The Vatican and you continue on. What an amazing trip!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It surely must be an amazing feeling to eye witness structures built thousands of years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is fabulous! I am really enjoying the trip :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonderful trip. We had the same opinion of Naples-good pizza though.
    We spent the day in Pompeii. If you get the chance, it is worth the visit.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is just so much fun! We are enjoying every post.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is so much fun! We are enjoying every post.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Are you sticking around Rome for Easter?
    We were there two years ago and it was crazy! Neither of us are big on crowds and had to leave the square about half way through the mass.
    Definitely a 'once in a lifetime'.
    Nice pics. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment.