Monday, August 22, 2016

Italy: Vatican, Rome

We left our Malta apartment at 6:15 this morning and had lots of time at the airport to get our flight to Rome. That was without incident. 

We got our tickets for the Leonardo Express which is a train that goes directly from the airport to the Roma Termini, in the heart of downtown Rome. We took a taxi to the Best Western Hotel President which was about 5 minutes away. I am sure we could have walked but being that it was the first time in Rome proper, the taxi was the best bet. The pictures on the website looks exactly like the actual room and commone areas. You never know what you'll end up with. About 15 years ago, I booked a bed and breakfast in New Orleans' Garden District for Sunita and I for a one week stay. The house was quaint and pretty with a courtyard that was slightly overgrown from the pictures that were posted. The room looked like a faded beauty from a bygone era and only vaguely like the pictures that were posted.  

We had lunch and headed by subway to the Vatican. Sunita was in Rome for a couple of days so she knew how to navigate the subway system. We walked to the Vatican and the lineup to get in was easily a thousand people. And it was blistering hot today. 

We had the good sense (on the recommendation of Sunita's friend) to pre-order tickets on the internet. That saved us about 2 hours at least. We joined the per-paid line and it took less than 10 minutes. 

The Sistine Chapel and the artwork that went in to it could only be considered brilliant. Michelangelo's frescoes were brilliantly done! He painted much of it over a few years and then another few years. With all the modern technology, it took from 1984-1994 to restore it.

After all that culture, we need a cool treat so just outside of the walls of the Vatican, we stopped at a gelato store for a cold one. It was very refreshing to have something cold. A nice cool shower would have worked better but that would have to wait for later.

Then it was off to St. Peter's Basilica to do a walk around on the outside. Since we had not pre-booked this portion and the lines were long (plus the unbearable heat), we settled for that.

By the time we were done, it was cooling down somewhat so we walked and shopped some more before stopping at the Cafe Risorgimento for dinner. Second Italian dinner and it was gooood!

We got the subway back to the hotel and Subhadra collected her luggage and left to meet her friend Sara. They are staying at a different hotel and will spend a day more in Rome before heading off to Florence. We'll be heading to Praiano on the Amalfi Coast tomorrow. I have been clocking the steps for the last week. My Fitbit is working overtime. That was 15,200 steps today!

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