Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rome wasn't built in one day ..

18 May 08

.. so its *impossible* to see it all in 5 hours! :(

We were docked in Civitavecchia, Italy; which is about an hour and a half drive to Rome. We had a crew tour taking us into the city and dropping us off .. to roam Rome all day. We got there just before 11am and had to be back on the bus at 4pm.

It dropped us in this underground parking gargage for buses - and when you came out, you were right in St Peter's Square! It was amazing!! Also, we were starved and there was a little cart that was selling these italian pitas with cheese and ham or salami .. then they would toast them up for you. Wow - what a tasty "brunch" Delish!

Since we knew we had to come back the same way to get the bus, we thought we would head out to the other areas and then work our way back. We (it was Pierre and his ladies again) headed away from the square and decided to go on one of those "hop on/hop off" buses. We figured it would be cheaper than trying to take a cab between each destination. (we were also told there was a marathon in town, so the meter might get pretty high just sitting in traffic) We took the bus through town and even that was amazing. Every single building is something pretty to look at. We got off the bus in Piazza Popolo .. and walked around there before heading down the via Corso towards the Trevi Fountain. At one point we lost Amie and Pierre, but luckily re-united with them at the fountain (and they had the bus tickets!!) We originally planned to walk to the next stop to pick up the bus, but the bus guide said the stops were not the same as usual (due to the marathon) and to come back to where we were dropped off. So we started back up via Corso, and luckily came across the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna) After that we walked up another side street that lead back to the Piazza Popolo, and we came across a lovely cafe that had mouth-watering pizzas in the window. Since we knew it was going to be a busy day, we decided to take our lunch on the run. Oh boy it was yummy!! It is like sicilian sliced pizza, but thinner and then take two pieces and sandwich them together. We got back to the bus stop .. were we waited for a few mins for the bus line we were with .. we saw it approaching and we all got up. We walked to the curb, and Whoosh! It went right by us without even slowing down!! Oooh, we were soo mad! I got on the phone immediately with the bus company and asked them what the hecks kind of shit show they were running!! She said she was sorry and would find out when the next bus would be. She said about 8 mins. Clare kept us busy by singing some Tina Turner to us. Well apparently 8 mins to us is more like 18 - 25 mins in Rome! :( So now we have wasted over 4o mins waiting for a bus. Dammit!!

We finally get on the bus and get settled upstairs; then Pierre went back down to ask the guide where we have to get off for the Colosseum. She said stop #5 and it was only a 5 min walk. He told her about our time constraint and she said it was going to take us about 40 mins to get to stop 5 - and that would take us up to almost 3.30! Ack! Then she said the next bus wouldn't be there before 3.45 and it would take at least 20-25 mins to get to St Peters Square! Hmmm, now we were in a conundrum! Do we get off at the Colosseum and risk being late? Or do we just pass it by (and wave!) and then stay on the bus to St Peters and at least have enough time to walk around there for a few mins before we had to get on the bus!?!?!?? We decided as much as we *wanted* to go to the Colosseum, we would never have had enough time to go in - so we would skip it. We did see it .. from a distance, from the top of the bus. But it happened so fast I forgot to take a pic. Oh well. You have all seen it! On our way there, they stopped at the first stop and had a driver change. So Pierre and Clare hopped off for a smoke and a soda .. check out the pic of Pierre sandwiched between our bus and a bus that tried to go around us!

** side note: turns out we could have just walked about 8 more blocks from the Trevi Fountain and would have been at bus stop 5! Grrrrrrr But we didn't find that out till it was too late :(

We got back over to St Peters at a little after 3.45 and we walked up the Piazza and into the square to get a better view of the Vatican and Basilica. WOW, just awestruck I was! It was sooo pretty; so I am DEFINITELY coming back here. I want to see inside the Basilica, as well as go into the Vatican (it is closed on Sundays) and see the Papal Blessing (he was out of town, so none today) . Oh I forgot to mention - when we first came to the square (in the morning) they had been broadcasting mass on these huge screens in the square. The Pope was in Genoa, but they still broadcast his mass live back to the square. So we got to see and hear him in the square .. even if he wasn't there in person. :)

After that, we made our way back down the piazza, grabbed another pita thing from the guy and his cart .. and headed to the bus. On the way, I snatched up my fridge magnets and a lovely rosery blessed in the Vatican. Also, got a FAB knock-off Prada bag for 20e. Its gorgeous!! :)

So without further ado, here are the pics:

And make sure you are sitting down .. I am *actually* in about 5 of them!!

You can also see how crappy the weather was when we first got there, and then how nice it got during the day.

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