As I type this, we spent most of Saturday, and most of Sunday, awake. We tried sleeping on the plane but between periodic turbulence, the seemingly incessant use of the flight attendant request button and accompanying loud tone and just general discomfort in cattle class, we didn't succeed in getting much sleep.
Still, we survived, and after a somewhat long wait to get past passport control at the Leonard Da Vinci International Airport in Fiumicino, Italy we got ourselves a cab and rode that into Central Rome, the Eternal City. And by Eternal, I think they mean the traffic!
It's early summer here in Rome and the temperature today reached 31 degrees Celcius, or 87 degrees Farenheit and very humid!
We made it to our hotel just fine and after sorting ourselves out a bit, Martha, my son Miles and I went up the B tower's stairs to find "the view" shown in the hotel's advertisement pamphlet. Of course, B Tower faced the wrong way, so we made our way down via elevator this time and then ascended on the A Tower's elevator. Found the door to terrace locked. Down we went, located the keys from the hotel's front desk, and finally got out onto the terrace for this view of Saint Peter's Dome in nearby Vatican City.
View of Saint Peter's Dome
We rested for a bit, but knowing we had to try and stay awake in order to adapt to this new timezone and get over jet lag, we went out for a walk to "explore".
It really didn't take long at all for Martha and Miles to have
to take a Gelato break!
After the gelatos, we wandered over to a nearby gate that allowed one inside of the Vatican City. The below row of columns lead one's eye to the centerpiece of Saint Peter's Plaza, the massive Church itself! There were, hundreds of tourists, queued up in the hot afternoon sun, trying to get into the church to have a look around. We, did not join them.
Instead, we contented ourselves in some sweat-soaked picture taking
in the middle of the plaza.
We meandered around a bit and finally got back to the hotel where after a brief rest period, we gathered up both boys this time and went out for a late lunch/early dinner.
Our first dinner choice was a nearby ristorante which had garnered good reviews on trip advisor but it turned out to be closed on Sundays! Doh.
Nearby was a pizzeria and since it advertised air-conditioning, we picked it as the backup choice for pizza. Turns out, the food was mediocre at best, the AC pretty much non-existent, so our first dinner in Italy didn't turn out so well.
Ah, but the fates would turn things around for us. We escaped the pizzeria, and out into the narrow little streets near the Vatican under a very mild rain; really just the occasional drop or two but it really drove all the tourists indoors!
We went to St Peter's Plaza and the place was darn near empty in comparison to the earlier crowds! We hurried into the the queue and within a minute or so were taking a tour of Saint Peter's dome, man that was a lot of climbing of narrow stairways but the views from up there were breath-taking!
A couple of views of parts of the long set of
stairways leading up to the top of the dome. There was a portion,
where you could feel you were walking along the curved edge of the dome itself!
Before we went to the top of the above dome, we walked along a walkways
ringing the dome from below. Quite the view of the church below but
there was a very high, mesh fence, made out of 1/8 thick wire that precluded pictures
from this balcony area.
A nice view of Saint Peter's Plaza/Square from the top of the dome!
I believe we walked all the way to the top portions of the curved dome above.
After the dome, it was walking about part of the roof of the church itself. We could get pretty close to part of the row of statues the decorate the top of the archway columns which sweep from the church out, creating Saint Peter's Plaza/Square.
A view of the backend of the main sculpture/art work which I believe is
built over the
SE corner of the church itself.
SE corner of the church itself.
Patrick, Martha and Miles at one of the small "domes" which
cover the center holes of one of the several domes within the church.
We made our way careful down the stone steps; descending down from the top of the dome, to the main level of the church.
We wandered about this incredibly beautiful church, me taking photos while Martha toured the church using an audio tour guide app she'd downloaded beforehand.
Took a lot of photos, these are the ones that turned out best at the job of giving you a small hint of the beauty of the inside of this church.
One last shot, a lone Swiss Guard on sentry duty near the gate which we passed as we left the confines of the main church.
Now, as to the slight moto-content I alluded to at the start. The best way to get around the city center, where the Vatican City is located, is by scooter it seems. They're everywhere and while helmets seem to be a preferred option more often than now, there's not a lot of safety riding gear being used by the scooteristas.
Could be the muggy heat, could be because most of the riders were young men with young women riding pillion while trying to hold down the hem of their short skirt, maybe they're bolder than I am.
The scooters can park just about anywhere and do and I would say 99% are "rode hard and put away wet", which didn't make for artsy pictures of scooters.
I did however spot this old Airhead Beemer:
Next posting: The Colosseum!
Previously, I find Valencia's pic on Ebay