Italy retro-diary: day 2

The Hotel Brasile had a good continental breakfast. Sara wasn’t all that keen on the bread, but I lapped up cheese and ham and milk. The staff maid had squeaky shoes, and was happy to help me pronounce cento-quindici (our room number: Chen-TOW qwin-dee-CHEE).

Being in a strange city, we decided to head back to the train station and jump on a tourist bus. The weather was being cooperative, and the tactic had worked pretty well in London. Even just walking back to the station we passed a bunch of “Rome”y things, like the freedom fountain, and a 12th century bathhouse.

Stuff we saw on day 2 in Rome

Rome is actually pretty small—the reason the bus took a two-hour loop was mostly because of traffic. Anyway, it went round the old Forum, the Colloseum and the Circus Maximus while we went round taking pictures everywhere. We decided to jump off at the Vatican.

St. Peter’s Basilica is a fantastically grand and ostentatious tribute to the Catholic church (Jesus mostly missing). We saw the tombs of the dead popes (“il Papa”), including JP-2’s with a small crowd of mourners. Then into the huge main area (you’d have to see it to believe it) and back out to the oval Square. Undaunted by this unparalleled tribute to glorification, we tried to find the (literally) grotesque stuff that was supposed to be next door. It was actually quite a walk to get to the entrance of the Cistine Chapel, which we were standing next to. (You have to go through the museum.) Great stuff (no photos allowed, but see the “Map Room” picture of the corridor nearby).

Having seen enough frescoes to last, oh say, 24 hours, we headed back (via the Vatican cell phone store and Cape Outlet). (The Pope’s pizzeria was much better than the one next to our hotel.)

Jumping back on the bus while shooing away scarf, sunglass, handbag and tripod vendors we went around the loop again, jumping off near to where we might find the Pantheon. A helpful pirate near the chocolate store gave directions. Having seen a bunch of his work, Raphael must have been tired in tomb there. Afterwards we wondered the back streets, ate (Sara liked the fish), watched tourists at the Trevi Fountain and hiked back to the hotel.

The Pantheon, and a pirate

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