Feeling pretty good after more than 24 hours with no sleep, the morning after a long flight can often be "please let me sleep" rather than "I want to go and explore the city". Happily today was the latter ...
The Hotel (The Duke Hotel) has an amazing breakfast spread, even more amazing if you have been living in the Middle East for a while - as it is 60% pork based. So after a few plates of this and that - oh and just one more thing.... we were ready to go. It was only 0800 and the free Hotel shuttle bus was going to drop us close to a Metro station.
The previous day's learning expierience on public transport meant we were almost instantly getting off the metro close to the Vatican Museum.
You did not have to ask yourself are we close. The number of tourists alone told us that we were close. The Walls of the Vatican mean that you can only see the Vatican's walls - but on turning toward St Peters square - the line of columns starts to become visible and then almost un-expectadly you are standing on the edge of St Peters square.
St Peters square looking quiet.
Juliet in front of the Vatican.
The reason of arriving quite early was to beat the long queues... but we were already standing about 1/3 around the circumference of the square (the Square is in fact an Oval).
The line moved quickly and we observed some most excellent queue jumping techniques... some of the italians were v v good in this.
After an airport security scan, we then were free to enter the Church (it is not a Cathederal) and to stare with awe at the impressive building, with it's many lovely works of art inside.
Juliet checked what time the next mass was, and we organised our time so that we were able to attend; There was obviously some important function about to happen - Pentecost it turns out, and the Pope was going to be leading the service. The TV crews and chairs were being set up.
Having finished with the Vatican we then started a leisurly stroll towards the river - initially planning on seeing a Castle. This walk was interupted when the ever darkening skies yielded rain. So we took refuge in one of the many restaurants that abund here - only to bumb into a small group of Filipino's who were also visiting the city.
After a pleaant lunch, we continued to the Castle, only to find a long line outside, which did not seem to be moving, so we continuted our walk arriving at the National War memorial about an hour later.
Here we had a rest - whilst looking at the ruins of ancient Rome - before continuing on to the Colleseum. The increase in tourists and people dressed as Ancient Romans was now exponential.
In rome there are lots of tourists - all of who want to see the sites - so you get lots of queues. You also get companies that specialize in selling "jump the queue" tickets - and with any business that "sells tickets" you get street touts - which are both funny and amusing in equal amounts.
Content with seeing Ancient rome (we will be going there for a day out soon) we headed rather weirly back to the hotel (stopping for a quick cafe break).
We had thought that this would have been the end of the day, but Juliet's cousin happens to live in Rome !! So we went out to meet him and his family - and spent several pleasant hours at their appartment close by.
To see all the pictures please go to... here