ericaamber

Rome, the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2013 at 5:09 am

Bullet points that summarize my day:

 

* I’ve always wanted to be a gladiator, and now I’m pretty sure that’s my new career path. I just need a few hungry lions and a gladiator school

* Tour guides were unbelievable, I learned SO much and they managed to keep our group together amongst thousands of random people, even when two people on our tour weren’t feeling well and one guide left to take care of them!

* Rome is ridiculously cool.

* Unless you have nerves of steel, don’t sit at the back of a bus in Rome

 

Right from the moment we got on the bus, our guide Marco was engaging and energetic. He had lots of interesting facts about Rome, most of which I actually listened to, he was so interesting I didn’t start bus-napping until we were halfway there! At the train station we picked up our main tour guide, Rosa, who is a treasure!! That woman seriously knows EVERYTHING there is to know about Rome, and possibly the world. You could really see that she enjoys her job, every fact or story was told with such gusto that it was impossible not to get caught up in her excitement. First stop was the Colosseum, which was unreal. I’m a big gladiator fan so I loved all the stories she had to tell about what it was actually like in those days. It was really breathtaking to be walking down cobblestones that still have indents from chariot wheels, places where Julius Ceaser and Cleopatra once walked! The site was quite crowded, but Rosa kept us with her like a careful mother duck with our first guide, Marco, following up in behind to make sure no stragglers got lost.

 

From there it was on to Vatican City where we had an hour of free time before meeting back to go inside the Vatican Museums. The museums are amazing. 7 km of galleries!! I took so many photos on this tour that I depleted the batteries of two fully charged cameras and my iphone. Here is where it got REALLY crowded. There was one woman on the tour who got overwhelmed, or claustrophobic or something right as we went into the museum and Marco had to take her and her friend outside for a bit. They did manage to rejoin us for the end of the tour, however. I generally have a problem with crowds of strangers touching me/crowding me/breathing my air but the Vatican was so amazing that I managed. Rosa did not stop talking the entire day, I learned so much!! Next came the Sistine Chapel, which was incredible. There is no talking or photography in the chapel, which meant that there were thousands of quietly awed people just staring at the amazing paintings. It was a very surreal experience.

 

From there we continued right along to St. Peter’s Basilica, also unreal. There was some kind of ceremony happening when we got there so not only was the light shining in through the ceiling onto us, but there were priests singing which echoed through the Basilica and really made the experience even more amazing. Again, Rosa had stories and facts and somehow managed to connect with each person on the tour, despite being surrounded by so many other people. Walking out into the courtyard, Rosa gave us an outside overview of the buildings we had just explored. After a half hour of free time in the Vatican shops, and several more stories, Rosa said goodbye (she lives next to the museum) and we boarded our bus to head back. Let me tell you, I got a quality bus nap in on the way home, for the most part. Sitting in the very back seat of a bus in Rome proved to be quite disconcerting as there always seemed to be a car/motorcycle/scooter/pedestrian 1 foot away, aimed DIRECTLY at me…it made for a startling awakening more than once.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEurope

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