Arrived in Rome on the “Red Arrow” five minutes late on Wednesday even though we had been traveling around 150 miles per hour the whole non stop trip from Florence. we connected with Yost and Sam and made our way to The Green Apartments. http://www.greenapartments.it/. I found them online through trip advisor I think. Nice two bedroom, two bath with a small kitchen and a beautiful terrace (where I am sitting writing this on a beautiful Thursday night) which it shares with the other three apartments. And if hold your head just right you can see the colisieum! We have been very pleased with the accommodations….phew. I have been like that Travelocity commercial (where the guest(s) are holding their breaths waiting to see what their hotel is like only to open the doors to be relieved) at every stop on this trip.
After relaxing for a bit, we headed out along with Yost and Sam’s friend from DC who is in Rome staying at a boutique hotel but not cruising with us….but doing some touring while we are all here. We first dropped off our dirty clothes at a laundromat for pickup before they close, then had lunch, pictures below of my gnocchi and Mike’s lasagna, then stopped by a supermarket and picked up a few things for the apartment and some to bring home. Unfiltered olive oil (makes the tastiest caprese salad when NC tomatoes are in season, sea salt (it was less than a quarter for a 1/2 kilo box and some basalimic glaze that was something like 2 bucks! Quess we are gonna have to pull out the foldup suitcase.
After dropping off our purchases at the apartment, we took an open topped circulator bus that visited the major sites. It was a beautiful day so it was most enjoyable way to get acclimated to Rome. For dinner last night, Ken had made reservations at the restaurant that is always the number one or number two listings as having the best carbonara…OMG, it was so good. Unfortunately, I failed to take a picture but it was very good. For our secondi, Mike and I split very tasty Osso Bucco….are you seeing a trend?
This morning (Thursday) we had 9:15 tickets for the Vatican Museum. After spending a good deal of time in the Sistine Chapel, we successfully snuck out with a group through the “secret” door that takes you directly to St. Peter’s without having to walk all the way back through the museum, around the building and back through security just to get in the church. When we exited the museum, we noticed the line to go up in the cuppola was only 10-12 people long, so we decided to do that first. You have a choice of paying five euros and climbing all 578 steps or paying 7 euros and taking an elevator to the bottom of the dome…and then taking the 321 stairs the rest of the way.
We took the elevator and boy was I glad we had been doing the elliptical for the last three months. Those are a very tough 321?steps. The first section is a pretty tight spiral that takes you up the height of the base of the drum….probably 35-45 feet? You go round and round and round. Then you start going sideways up the dome it self …the stairs stay flat but the walls curve in on you on one side and away from you on the other, then you reach a point where you do switchbacks for five or six times…and just when you think you cant go any further, you go into another very, very tight spiral section. I had lots of trouble because the steps were so much narrower than my feet and it was so low and tight. Luckily, it was probably only 10-15 feet high so it didn’t last as long as the previous spiral. But it was worth it when you got to the top. Beautiful views of Rome and the sense of doing it! I was especially proud of Mike since he really doesn’t like heights but he was a real trooper….thankfully none of us are claustrophobic since everywhere was so tight and enclosed.
After enjoying the view, we did it all in reverse but on pace down on the roof, partook of my favorite part of St Pete’s, the rooftop snack bar and gift shop. Yes, Mike bought his brother the tackiest pope souvenir and I had an espresso and a papal croissant. We then spent a good bit of time inside the basilica itself. I am always awed by its size, decoration and the crowds!
We left Vatican City and headed to Piazza Navona to meet Ken for lunch. We ended up going over and eating at the Pantheon since it was our after lunch plan…but due to today’s holiday, it was closed. So, we hope to go tomorrow after the Coliseum. We came home via the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps where the crowds were both crazy. We had a relaxing evening, we invited a group from Chicago who are going on our cruise who I have been chatting with on Cruise Critic to stop by for a glass of wine. We had a nice time sitting on the terrace meeting in person. After they left, we went just down the street and had a plate of pasta overlooking the coliseum.
It’s been a busy but fun two days!
Mike’s Lasagna and my gnocchi with ragu served on a parmesan cracker – yummy but not as good as that we had with crab in Venice. ( of course that is like saying, that chocolate cake from the bakery isn’t as good as the carrot cake you just made….both are still pretty dean tasty!)
Pictures from the bus ride
Ossobucco from dinner and the restaurant where we ate
View down from the lower part of the down and around the dome. All the art you see is mosaics…the last picture is a close up to show the tiny stones making up the “painting”
Photos from the climb up to and from the cuppola and roof
The last picture is of the dome taken on the roof. If you look closely near the top, you will see a rail, if you looked at the second to last picture, you will see a close up of that rail and can maybe make out some people up there. That is where we climbed to.
Inside St. Peter’s
Trevi Fountain, pantheon, Spanish Steps and the view of the coliseum tonight during dinner.