Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Really Bad Timing and Really Good Stuff

At the beginning of the day today we got mixed signals as to how the rest of the day would go. We stopped at a bakery at the end of the street where our hostel is located and got croissants fresh out of the oven, and they were delicious. However after snagging a morning bite we headed to the Colosseum, and once again we were foiled…this time for a service men parade of some kind. We couldn’t believe it, on day one we couldn’t see the Colosseum because of some bike race and today our plans somehow managed to conflict with a random parade. At this point we decided to head to the Vatican hoping we wouldn’t strike out there as well. At first we thought we did...

Let me enlighten you on something about the Vatican…there are people everywhere offering “skip the line tickets and tours”. While these are valid methods of entering the Vatican they are highly unnecessary. Almost immediately after getting off the subway blocks from the Vatican we were met by people trying to offer us this great opportunity to skip the lines, for a certain price of course. All these people ensured us that we’d have to wait for hours to get into the Vatican and that we should take them up on their tour offer. Now I know why they greet you blocks before the entrance; because they’re trying to convince you of a line that doesn’t exist…no line, no wait, no extra fee needed. Perhaps on “fee Sunday” when we were in a line at least a half a mile long paying the fee to skip the line would have been worth it, but not a normal weekday like today. So we felt good that we finally made it into the Vatican, and at a price that was reasonable. Before actually reaching the Sistine Chapel we were lead through hall after hall of statues and paintings, it was all very cool but we were there to see the famous room. The Sistine Chapel lived up to the hype, and while you’re not supposed to take pictures I was able to take some covert photos with the help of Erica as a blocker. After the Vatican we went to St. Peter’s basilica, the famed area where everyone gathers to see the pope. The inside of the basilica was ginormous and as impressive as St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. After the basilica we headed to the church where the chains that bound Peter while he was imprisoned were enshrined. Our final major stop for today was Palatine Hill, and yes, finally the Colosseum. It was crazy to see all of the ruins at Palatine Hill were you can actually still see the remnants of a society that existed 2000 some years ago. The same is true for the Colosseum, a massive arena that was substantial enough to last for all these years and still exist today.

Oh and as for the really good stuff; we found a pizza place by the Vatican that we ate at before St. Peter’s basilica…and afterwards too. And for dinner we walked around until we found a restaurant; Erica had spaghetti Bolognese and I had the lasagna. We got stuffed, it was great, and we finished it off with some more gelato…this time I mixed strawberry and pineapple, perhaps my favorite so far.

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