Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 14 - Bill and Claire vs. Rome Pt.2

First full day in Rome...
Wake up early to catch breakfast. The plan is to hit Vatican city, then lunch, nap, and the rest of the site seeing in the evening. So much for plans. We hit the Spanish steps, Trevi fountain and a thousand other unknown buildings and monuments before we even hit the metro for Vatican city. All by 11am. We get to St peters square, shoot some video to take it in, and learn the big line is for the church and the Sistine chapel is in the museum. The info booth guy tells us its  15€ and a 1.5 hr line. We get in after only a thirty minute wait. We start grasping for new adjectives as everything we see here (and in Rome) is more impressive than the last. The path through the museum all builds up to the chapel as the grand finale, but everything proceeding was equally impressive to me. (Don't worry about the dress code signs if you ever go, they're just another revenue stream generator for the museum...)

It was as if every new fresco that was added after big M's used the SC as the bar for excellence. Even the doors to the gift shop were immaculately ornate. Bought my mom a rosary, but had to find the right one. I know they were probably all made in china, but at least buying them here would add some sentiment. Went for the wood with rope as the metal and chain ones looked tacky and cheap.

Left the vatican and headed to McD for lunch. It might sound sad, but considering we never eat there at home we figured we were allowed a free pass. Totally hit the spot. Saw the biggest violator of the racer back bra epidemic (more on that later). They didn't have happy meal toys, but the box had paper cut outs of a Happy Meal box as Dj complete with turntables, records and sound system. Awesome.

We head back to hotel to review our video to date, shot us walking around from my hip at the colosseum instead of the actual sightseeing and pondering. Oops.

Round two... Walk over to the pantheon, hit several other unknown monuments along the way including my favorite which we later learn is the monument to the first king of unified Italy along with the tomb of the unknown soldier. We settle on Chinese food for dinner (such a steal!) then off to the Internet cafe. Learn there was a bombing in Mumbai and unquestionably remove it from our India itinerary.

No comedic bits of insight necessary, this was a day of pure sightseeing. Something we never do, but fully enjoyed.

- Bill

Things we learned about Rome:
Establishing dominance over traffic- there's not a lot of traffic lights in Rome. So crossing the street is a circus act. You have to find the zebra stripes and then literally walk out into traffic. We watched a roman woman do it, suit and heels and everything, and we just followed her. I thought crossing the street in ny was bad, this is downright  nerve wracking. Bill got the hang of it pretty quickly and I just followed him running and screaming OHMYGODDONTGETRUNOVER!!!!!

As far as the tourist areas go, the Vatican was surprisingly well priced. The restaurants were all a few euro cheaper than around our hotel and they have a half price sunglasses guy, to bills chagrin. He paid 10 euro for his at the Spanish steps and right when we got out of the subway at the Vatican there was a guy selling the same ones for 5. It's the creme de tequila from Mexico all over again......

Always order the fizzy water at restaurants so you don't get tap water trying to be passed off as bottled. I don't care about drinking tap water but i don't want to pay 4€ for it. Speaking of tap water- it's actually pretty good and there are fountains all over the city where people fill up their water bottles. So don't spend a ton of money on bottled water, buy one and fill it up as you go. A lot of people do this and if there is a fountain that isn't good for drinking there will be a sign.

If we ever do it again, we will get the audio tour of the Vatican museum. they dont sell stamps at the post office. Weird, I know. You buy them at the tabbaco shops and drop your letters in the mailboxes on the street. We mailed  Postcards yesterday so we will see in about a week if they get delivered or not.


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