Good evening England, this is Rome calling!
I’d like to give a quick shout out to a couple of readers in Middlesbrough if I might!? They are my Grandma and her friend Mavis. They are both in their golden (or is it silver?!) years - and both put many people I have met half their age to shame with their technical prowess! It’s so cool to think that my Granny is reading this on her iPad 1,400 miles away. So, HELLO YOU TWO! Glad you’re enjoying the blog… Now to today…
We did The Vatican today. Well, I say “the Vatican” loosely as we can’t get into most of because we aren’t ‘chosen’. The tourist sector of the Vatican (which is it’s own country I found out today) is tiny and split into the museum which leads out to the Cistine Chapel and St Peters Square next to the Basilica.
We began the day by going through an airport style security check to even be allowed into the Vatican. X-Ray scanners, body pats, the works. Seems a bit over the top if you ask me - but then Jeebus does need protection from 'Zee Germans!’ I guess. We then wove our way between the tour groups - oh that reminds me, we have another Americanism for you!
At the entrance to the place there was a massive staircase and an escalator. The tour guide behind us was leading a group of yanks and explained that “you’re the lucky ones - last week everyone else had to walk up the stairs. I had so many complaints about it”. The best one of the day though was at the top of escalator where a sign explained all the exhibits. Listing every hall, statue etc etc in order. One yank waddled past at read them all out one by one, then proclaimed to the group “OOOOH. PIZZERIA! THEY HAVE PIZZA!!!”. What a bunch of fat, lazy tourists they are. Anywho - back to us.
We wove our way between the hundreds of fat Americans, room after room of honestly quite boring statues and tapestries until we made it to the Cistine Chapel. Really quite a remarkable feat to have painted the whole thing by hand. The first thing that strikes you is the SIZE of it! It took me two photos to get it all in. You’re not supposed to take photos, but my little camera which has taken all of this holidays photos proved it’s worth again as the guards didn’t notice it’s tiny little lens next to all the idiots waving their big Canons and Nikons around!
We then mooched our way out of the chapel and tripped over a really cool double spiral staircase. Only of one of the spirals was in use - but it was a very cool bit of architecture. Next we walked back to Italy (it took 1 minute from here - so not far but we crossed a border!). Then round the corner to St Peters Square.
Again, the size of the place is what hits you. It’s an enormous public space - and I can imagine quite exciting to be there for something like a choosing of the Pope or something. By this point, we were very hot and sweaty again as the mercury touched 34C again today.
We had an adventure getting home, by bus. We managed to find one that actually went from right next to the Vatican to right outside of our flats entrance road! You find out pretty much ANYTHING with an iPhone if you know where to look (an App called “Roma Buses”).
I’ve included a picture of our lovely little apartment here in Rome. Tonight we cooked beefburgers and bought some rolls from the little shop across the road. Dinner and lunch tomorrow was purchased for a grand total of €16 euros. Not too bad really. The apartment has cost us €85 a night and is about 30 mins on the train / metro from the far side of the City. As you can see it has a cool little quirky staircase and kitchen facilities. A washing machine and air con (needed it here!).
Tomorrow morning we’re off to Herculaneum and Capri. That’s if we get there at all because there is a train strike tomorrow. God only knows what fun that’s going to entail - but we’re going to make an early start and it’s only 1 hour down the road to Napoli from here. Fingers crossed and here’s to hoping that we get to Capri in once piece where we are going to hire some little scooters to go whizzing around the island! What fun!