Aboard!

We boarded about 45 minutes late but are now at our seats and they even have the all important air vent! Yay! And best of all, they just handed out menus and dessert is an Ice Cream Sundae….I still get excited about ice cream on a plane.

Philadelphia here we come!

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In the Lounge.

Got out of the van at 8:34 and checked into the lounge at 9:34. So an hour to find the correct checkin counter (why is that always the most difficult part in an European airport?) which of course was at the opposite end of where we entered the building, checkin, go through USA only security, then walk back to where we started, them passport control leaving the EU, then walk through the huge duty free, then walk past 10 gates, then upstairs, wait on a train, ride it ala Orlando, exit train, then walk past four gates, then ride elevator down to lounge. Phew. .82 miles before 10 am, I’m tired already!

Last Supper!

Just finished our Last Supper (on the day THE Last Supper is being celebrated)!

We had a huge lunch but Mike & I decided we needed to have one last bowl of cacio e pepe before we left Rome. Lois ate a snack while Mike and were still too full so she decided to say in.

We decided to go back to the same place we ate our first supper since thy had a great appetivo-$5 for an aperol spritz and bruschetta. Of course we got here after happy hour so it cost more but was still tasty.

Mike and I split the Cacio y Pepe (cheese and pepper) pasta, We wish we could figure out what they do to make it so creamy. We can’t make it nearly as good at home.

I promise I’ll work on blogging about our last two days while on the flight home and post them as quickly as I can.

Our ride to the airport picks us up at eight in the morning so we need to (as my Daddy used to say) Sleep Fast!

Arrivaderci Roma!

Vatican City

Our first real day in Rome was spent in Vatican City. We had 9:30 entry tickets to the museum and arrived there (along with at least 4000 others) right at that time. With the tickets already bought we walked right past the throngs waiting and after the very Italian process of trading one piece of paper with a bar code for another one, we were set to go in.

We used Rick Steve’s audio app and followed his tour all the way through to the Sistine Chapel.

Mike snuck some pictures inside. Shhh, don’t tell Francis.

Leaving the Chapel, we headed up the elevator to the base of the dome. Last time Mike and I were here almost six years ago, we did the climb all the way to the top. You can read about that here: https://cruisinwithclay.com/2013/04/25/rome-in-a-whirlwind/. Unfortunately most of the pictures have been stripped out to save space. But I don’t think I have it in me to make that climb ever again…at least without an on call ambulance.

But I do love walking around the drum of the dome, especially for anyone who hasn’t visited St. Peter’s. From this position, one can see just how huge the dome is, how high (448 feet -more than a football field!) above the floor it is and how intricate the mosaics are that decorate it. From the floor, these mosaics appear to be paintings or frescos.

From the dome we went out into the roof. Here is the site of my favorite souvenir shop where the nuns assure you that their trinkets are better than the ones elsewhere in Rome because they have been blessed by the Pope. When you push it, the agree that in reality they are blessed with his “authority”. I envision some poor first year priest stuck in a warehouse in the belly of Vatican City blessing box after box of St John Paul II rosaries and Pope Frank key rings! Lois purchased some souvenirs and a beautiful cross for a friend in Virginia.

The roof is also the location of my favorite restroom in Rome. Lois enjoyed her wait in line there and Mike was lucky and got to see what has to be one of the last stand up toilets in town.

I was amazed (appalled?) at the condition of some of the roofs-while I know maintaining a huge Church must be expensive, you’d think they could get rid of the weeds!

The roof is also a favorite of mine for gaining a sense of scale. The statues which line the roof are 18 feet tall but from the plaza below they appear pretty small.

The roof also let’s you see some of the incredible decoration on the exterior of the dome.

After the roof we finally went inside St Peter’s- the largest church in the world. As you can see in the title picture above, Lois was (as expected) blown away. We visited the Pieta, the new (at least to me) Chapel where St John Paul II is now buried and his former burial site with the other popes under the altar before leaving the church.

After a quick walk through St Peter’s square we headed for lunch.

That was the last time Lois was smiling for awhile. We accidentally took her on a death march for lunch. We were trying to get to one of our Airbnb’s host restaurant recommendations but after the Vatican Road Rally, she (and Mike and I too) were running on empty. Unfortunately when we got there, it was of course closed but luckily there was another place across the street. After we all shared pizza and salad, we all felt much better.

We didn’t feel better enough to walk back to the apartment but thankfully there are plenty of taxis in Rome. We got back to our apartment about 4:30 and all crashed.

A tiring but wonderful day!

Rome

We (as well as our overstuffed luggage) survived the RyanAir flight from Barcelona to Rome. (Less than $50 each including a checked bag and an extra legroom seat so a pretty great price methinks!)

Arrived uneventfully to our Airbnb and after settling in headed out to finally get Lois the pasta she kept wanting in Spain but that I made her wait for. The picture above was our aperol spritz that we had with delish bruschetta.

We shared a big salad and three fried zucchini blossoms. Both were yummy.

Then we each had a bowl of pasta. We probably should have just order two and shared them. Lois had fresh fettuccine with pomodoro and meatballs.

Mike and I halfed n halfed the two Roman classics-carbonara and cacio y pepe. Both were so good!

Off to bed now, feet hurt after our three miles mostly in airports today and tomorrow is the Vatican!