Sunday, June 07, 2015

The European Summer Trip, Rome, Day 1

Warning, very slight moto-content in this first post detailing our first day, a long day, where we rode planes flown by United Airlines from Denver, to Chicago and from there to Rome Italy.

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!

source: LINK

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.

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


Artie & Leinen's Grand Adventure said...

Fabulous! St. Peter's is on my bucket list. I talk about it every year when introducing the Renaissance. Was anyone playing music there? I have a friend who was in a brass group that played there. They were in little rooms a floor above playing in four corners of the dome area.
Have a great time, I'll be reading along......

RichardM said...

I've heard rumors that this was an upcoming trip. Beautiful photos and I especially like the inside the dome tour.

Bob Sharon said...

Thats great for you and the family Dom

Sharon and I were fortunate to visit Venice, Verona, and Paris. Take advantage of the rhythm of the Italians enjoy the siestas. And go out at night. You'll find the cities are completly differently in the evenings, plus it's cooler and not as crowded.

Have fun Bob & Sharon

David Masse said...

Dom there is so much to see and do.

One of the amazing things about the Vatican is the scale, which you captured so nicely in those pictures.

Savor every moment.

SonjaM said...

Lovely pictures, I bet this had been on your bucket list for a long time.

Welcome (again) to Europe, Dom & family. I very much hope you all enjoy it to the fullest.

The locked terrace story... sounds so typical Italian ;-) In Germany, the gate would have been locked, too, but I am sure they would have handed you the keys on your first trip up...

Trobairitz said...

Awesome pictures Dom. Looking forward to your next post.

PS - 87 degrees seems lovely, supposed to be 95 here in Corvallis today.

redlegsrides said...

Bridget, thanks, it's quite the church, this crown jewel of the Catholic faith. Designed to overwhelm I think. There was some music going on at one of the naves, but I didn't go by to see.

Thanks RichardM, lots of pics taken, but the church is so large, a lot of the pics lacked context you know?

Bob and Sharon, man it was another sweaty day today, am definitely thinking we need to change the touring rhythm as you suggest but in the evenings, I am working online since this is a working trip.

David M. I will try hard to savor every moment, even the sweaty ones when one's feet are killing one....we walked a lot today, I lusted after the segway tours I kept seeing roll by....

SonjaM, thanks....and yes, things are not quite "alles in ordnung" in Italy but then again, it's one of the things one has to learn to expect....I had not forgotten from my 18 months assignment with the Army, I wanted to boys to "experience it". Broaden their minds you know?

Trobairitz, thanks very much, working on today's posting now. It was almost as hot today but the planned tour didn't quite work out as you'll find out.

Martha said...

Thanks for taking the lead on blogging for both of us. Thing 1 has encountered technical difficulties with his laptop, ok he forgot his charger back in CO. Being the mom that I am (I don't just enable dom), pat is using my iPad and I have an iPhone to play with. So with such a 1st world problem, as having a poor tool to blog with, I am most grateful for you taking the lead on this!
Much love wifey

TZ said...

Awesome first day! Love the pictures.

agent713 said...

Awesome. I had the priviledge of visiting Rome in 2013 and you've brought back some wonderful memories...and some not so wonderful ones (traffic). Enjoy the gelato. I think it's a necessity to endure the heat!

ToadMama said...

Wow. Your photos are stunning. What a magnificent place. Yay for rain, right? What a great Day 1.