Tuesday, September 30 - Rome, Italy

We certainly slept well in this very comfortable firm bed. Rome seems surprisingly quiet during the night, but there were very peculiar thumps and bumps inside the building. This morning we were ready for breakfast as soon as they started serving it at 7:45. Wonderful cappuccino to start the day, along with pastries and sandwiches. Then we walked to the Vatican Museum. We joined the queue about 2 blocks from the entrance but it moved quickly so we were inside in about 20 minutes.

By the time we left, the queue was much longer - about 2 hours, and continuing to grow. Inside we were stunned by the amount of priceless art in such large and beautiful surroundings. It defies description, and our photos tell only a miniscule part of the story. We both enjoyed this museum more that the Hermitage, but occasionally the lack of information left us wondering what we were looking at. Eventually we made our way to the Sistine Chapel, which was packed shoulder to shoulder and very warm. Guards were directing traffic and reminding people to maintain respectful silence - largely unsuccessfully. We both thought it was entirely unlike our expectations, but extremely impressive, of course. Afterward we wandered through a few galleries of contemporary art that we had entirely to ourselves. Eventually we found the beautiful double spiral staircase and made our way out ot the street.

We picked up our hop-on bus tour in front of St. Peter's and rode as far as the Coliseum, catching glimpses of many parts oft the city along the way. We have tickets for the Coliseum on Thursday, so just walked around the area and ate lunch from a street vendor. We walked all aound the outside of the Form/Ancient Rome and could see many of the excavated ruins. We picked up the tour again for a short hop to the Campidoglio where we admired a different view of the ancient city ruins.

Another short hop took us to the area of the Parthenon/Basilica of Mary and the Martyrs -- what an astonishing place!! It's been there for nearly 2000 years and is still intact and very beautiful. It was taken over as a Christian place, but still is in its original state otherwise. From there we walked to the Piazza Novorna here we had coffee, beer and biscotti while we enjoyed the passing scene. Then we wandered through the artists' vending areas and enjoyed their displays.

After a fruitless attempt to find the bus stop to rejoin the tour, we walked across the bridge to the Castel Sant Angelo - an impressive place. Then barely missing the tour bus again, we wandered back to the hotel, picking up supper makings at a deli. A drink in the bar, little walk in our neighbourhood and we're done for the day. Whew!! Saw lots and really enjoyed Rome today. More Selected Rome Photos

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