Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No high 5 for the pope

When in Rome do as the Romans do... drive fast, eat and drink well, dress smartly and look important!  It looks like I will have a challenging next few days!
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city.  Romes history spans over two and a half thousand years, so needless to say, we had a lot to try and do in our 2 days of 'touristing'.  We started the day with a great buffett breakfast on our roof top terrace overlooking the top of St Peters Basilica, then strolled to see the Basilica in all its beauty.

St Peters Cathedral seen from breakfast terrace 
Rome has for centuries been the home of the Roman Catholic Church and the bishop of Rome, otherwise known as the pope.  As we arrived at Vatican City, we were greeted by a swarm of people eager to be present for the popes address.  Sections were restricted and I was approached and asked if I would like to enter the barricaded area. "No thanks" I replied casually, then I realised I may of just given up the opportunity to shake hands with the 'Big Papa', (does he shake hands), or perhaps a high 5?  Isn't he supposed to perform miracles or something?  I have a nasty rash on my finger, maybe he could get rid of it for me?  Feeling like I had just thrown away a winning lottery ticket, we waited for a while, then decided to catch the open bus tour. The crowds were similar to that of the Super Bowl, so best to get out of there while there was still a bit of walking space.  We did actually manage a glimpse of  Papa Benny as he arrived.  Did you know he whips around Vatican City in a little white golf buggy?  He does not drive of course, that is his caddies job.
Golf buggy Vatican style

"Yoo hoo, over here!"
The bus tour took us past all the major sights such as The Roman Forum, The Colosseum, The Vatican, and several areas of untouchable rocks and bricks, (that now shelter and provide play havens for tailess cats).  The history is amazing, the fore thought mind blowing, and I feel as though I am literally witnessing where the world began.
"Now listen carefully son, there will be a history test after the bus trip!"
We chose to further explore by foot and walked from St Peters, past Castle of Saint Angelo and into Pantheon.  Lunch in Piazza Novana and gelato at the Trevi Fountain; after refueling our bodies, we walk to a crypt that displays bone art by the Capuchin Monks.  Off to the Spanish Stairs, "Just because it is something you have to do", is the response to my parents when they ask why.  I have a feeling my tour guide skills were fading as the day progressed.
Castle of Saint Angelo


Piazza Novana

Trevi Fountain

Capuchin crypt

Spanish stairs

Times have changed for me.  Instead of bar hopping, we are church hopping.  We entered several different churches during the day, just to appreciate the uniqueness on offer.  My parents were quiet.  Even hubby mentioned, "Um, they are not saying too much, do you think we are boring them?"  I replied that that is not the tour guides problem.  Afterall, it was a bit late now for my parents to book with another tour company.

Returning to the apartment, children fed and put to bed, we finally managed to absorb part of our day.  I was relieved to know that my parents were as moved and taken by the history, beauty and enormity of ambience as my husband and I.  Tomorrow is a whole new day.

IF Interesting Fact
On June 13, 2007, a 24-year-old man attempted to drive a Toyota Celica down the Spanish Steps. No one was hurt, but several of the 200-year-old steps were chipped and scuffed. The driver was arrested and a breath test showed his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit for driving.

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