For two and a half days, we wandered through the Eternal City of Rome. Nearly every street we turned on led us to some monumental feat of architecture or ancient ruin. We learned how to get around using the excellent public transportation system composed of metro and bus lines. The metros ran consistantly every few minutes, the buses were more of a guess. For example, when we went to see the Appian Way (we were a bit disappointed in this by the way), we waited 15-20 minutes for the bus that ran that way. But we waited more than half an hour for the return bus. And waiting with us was about 30-40 people. When the bus got there, it was already "full" but we all piled on any way. At the next stop 10-15 more people got on. We were squished in pretty tight.
We arrived in Rome around 2:00 on Tuesday and after getting lunch we went to our hotel and then out on the town. We visited the Trevi Fountain first, where Laura threw in a coin [top picture] to "ensure" a return visit (it took 14 years for Steve to return after he tossed a coin in back in '95). We also visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and bought a guide book of Rome and the Vatican.
Wednesday we went to the Vatican, and as soon as you get out at the metro station there are people offering their services for tours. We didn't accept any (the tour costs more than the entrance ticket), and went through using the audioguide. The collection of Egyptian artifacts and Greek and Roman statues (mostly of gods and godesses, seems weird in the Pope's house) were getting to the point of overwhelming when we finally got to the rooms painted by Raphael-The School of Athens in particular is awesome. And of course the Sistine Chapel is spectacular. We weren't allowed to take pictures in there (of course some annoying people did anyway, grr) but it was beautiful.
Next we went to Saint Peter's Basillica [second photo] and many people were asked to cover up (you can't wear shorts or tank tops in). The Pieta (Michaelangelo's sculpture of Mary holding Jesus after the crucifixion) is quite touching, and he was only 24 at the time he made it! There was a mass in session, but as the Pope was in Israel, there wasn't a full house in attendance.
Later we went to the Spanish Steps [bottom photo] and sat among the crowd of people there.
In my next post I'll cover the Forum and The Colloseum.