Northern Italy Road Trip Part IIIAuthor: Jim and Donna C. (More Trip Reviews by Jim and Donna C.)
Date of Trip: October 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010 - foggy
We woke up fairly early and made sure we had everything together to leave. Around 0800 we made our way down for breakfast. The doors were still locked up. So, we packed the car up. Lots of cars in the parking lot. There was only one when we checked in the day before, now there's nine. Guess this is a popular place. We played with the cat for awhile and then were let in around 0830 for breakfast.
After breakfast, we hit the road for Rome. Rome is about two hours away. We will probably have to pay for an extra day on the car since we won't be there by 1000, oh well. We decided not to worry about it. Uneventful trip to Rome.
When we got close to Rome we stopped for gas and a cappuccino. A stop for cappuccino or gelato usually means a potty stop. We found Europcar at the air port and turned the car in. They never looked at the car. We were asked if it was full and if we had any damage to it. The guy signed off, didn't charge us for the extra day, and we were done. We did receive a charge on our credit card about a month later for the extra day.
We got a shuttle to the airport and got a taxi from there to the Marriott (63 Euros). Jim thinks he may have gotten scammed by the cabby. The cabby said Jim gave him a 10 and a 20 Euro note instead of a fifty and a twenty. Jim took back the 10 and gave him a fifty. They are close in color. Jim checked his wallet and couldn't account for a 50 Euro note. Oh well live and learn.
We checked into the Marriott (using free nights left over from Jim's work) and collapsed on the bed. It didn't take us long to spread out and fill the room with our stuff. We had shipped our formal clothes for the cruise before we left. Glad to see the luggage here when we got here. We had lunch here at the hotel...expensive.
We rested for a short time and then took the shuttle into town. We were let out by the Vatican. Jim spotted a castle on the map, so we made our way to it. Good size castle, but Donna was unwilling to pay eight Euros each to go inside. We've been in enough castles. We made our way to the Spanish Steps...about two miles. We rested on the steps for a while and took lots of pictures, playing with exposures.
Around 1900 we started making our way back to the pickup point for the bus. We were looking for dinner along the way. We found a place to get a bite to eat. We picked up some calendars to send to the kids for Christmas. When we got to the pickup place, many others were there too. There's only 30 seats on the bus, hope we get on or it's another hour before the bus is back. We made it on.
Back at the room fell into bed right away. We set the alarm for 0600 and put in for a wakeup call because we have a tour in the morning.
Saturday, October 23, 2010 -- overcast, warm (sort of)
Up at 0600 and got ready to go. Pickup is at 0800. We decided to eat in the room as we have a couple of oranges left over and some fiber bars. Needed a light breakfast.
Dressed and ready to go, hit the lobby at 0745. The driver was just coming up the stairs. We were the only ones in the car to St. Peters. We arrived about 0810 and waited a bit for our tour guide. She arrived about 0820.
Her name was Barbara and was raised in Poland, now living in Italy with her husband who is a school teacher for the Polish embassy. While we were waiting, three or four Cardinals walked by. There must be something going on today. Later we found out they were meeting to discuss Pakistan.
We said goodbye to our driver and Barbara took us in tow heading to St. Peters. We were the only ones so we went flying. Barbara gave us a overview of the Vatican and the role of the Pontiff, etc. We skipped all the lines to the ticket booth, where Barbara bought our Vatican tickets. We then went though security and entered St. Peters.
It is very large and very beautiful. We took the elevator to the dome and walked around the middle level. We discover that what looks like paintings are actually mosaics, beautiful and very large. We passed up taking the stairs to the very top as it is a narrow climb up over 300 stairs and mainly provides an view of Rome. We are here to see the Vatican!
After looking around the dome and down onto the main floor of the basilica we exited onto the top and walked on the roof over to the edge behind the statues on the top of the front of the basilica. The statues are twenty feet tall. Beautifully carved - on the front that is. The backs are not detailed at all. We were told the backs can't be seen from below so why bother. What a riot!
We got to see the tombs of the Popes. They're all there along with the bones of St. Peter. We couldn't actually see the bones, you had to have a previous reservation, but we could see the wall they were behind.
We then met up with another small group and had two other couples join us during our visit to the Vatican Museums. Apparently the Vatican Museums are the largest in Italy. There are over 60 thousand pieces! We were in the VIP line, but still had to wait for some time.
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