Rome 2012 - Day 4

Submitted by dkranker on Sat, 10/06/2012 - 01:32

Started today by getting breakfast from the motel, hadn't tried that yet, then we got the hotel shuttle to take us to the nearest subway station, which is a service they provide, that also happened to have a Post Office near by.  The motel just charges 5 Euros to shuttle us around like this.  That post office happened to be closed for repair, but he was nice enough to take us to the next, nearest post office.  We took a number and waited unfortunately, and when we were called, found out we could have just bought the box at another counter.  In Paris, you can buy a prepaid box, but here in Rome, they just have the box and you just pay for what the weight is.  He took us back to the room, and when we packed everything up.  We had the motel call a taxi to take us to Vatican city, but we needed to drop off the box.  The driver took us to the same closed post office of course, but we found the other one by roughly the same route (he also stopped off at the Post Office main office, which we drove by with the other driver, but we couldn't ship from there we found).  We got to the post office and we  shipped back what we didn't need for the return flight or bought new for souvenirs.  We then made it to Vatican City.  We'd seen the signs for the museum, but we went straight in the main entrance to see about buying tickets.  It was free to get into St. Peter's Basilica, so we went though there security, quickly walked the church there and then were put in front of the gate for a museum of just St. Peter's relics.  This didn't appear to connect to the main Vatican Museum.  We took a look at the map and walked around the walls of the city (state).  Along the outside of the walls, people are selling purses, a kind of gel-ball toy that flattens on when you throw it down, then it forms back into shape.  Keychains, and other junk, and you have to navigate though several of these stands.  There are several beggars as well, some with deformities or amputations.  When we got to the museum we went though a security check again, the line was not long, it was late morning by this time, getting close to noon.  It's a long way to get around the city walls, through security, then there are several places to get tickets, all spaced out, so you actually get through fairly quick.  We couldn't have bought an audio guide after this, but the line for it was long, so we opted to skip it this time. The museum was packed in the first section, which was all Roman sculptures.  We got to see paintings and other artifacts collected or given to the Vatican.  We crossed the courtyard at one point, we'll need to research the large bronze sculpture in the center, neither of us were familiar with it, but we took a few pictures. One of the next stops also was the Sistine Chapel, we weren't supposed to photograph anything in there, but we managed to get in a few shots.  Many of the descriptions were only in Italian, or Latin, but we could make out some of the meanings.  It reminded us a lot of the Louvre, where most everything was described in French, but occasionally, particularly if an American group was the donor who paid for restoration on a piece, you'd see a full description in English.  We got to see a couple more areas and then grabbed some lunch in the Vatican cafeteria.  We were just going to get burgers, which is what we ordered, but were served fried chicken sandwiches, when we asked, they said they were out of beef.  A very disappointing lunch, but we checked out a few gift shops and got a cab back to the colosseum and forum area.  We'd hoped to get tickets here at the forum and then be able to get into the colosseum, but the forum was already closed, we tried several different entrances and the Colosseum closed as we came up to it.  We walked around it one more time and summed up the site.  We took in a view from a hill to the southwest of the Colosseum, then later walked down to where they had carriage rides to get prices.  They all left by the time we made it down, so we waited for one to return, $80 Euros was the cheapest, and $120 was another, way too expensive.  All the identical gift shops with their mass produced trinkets began closing up, and then the people who sell the scarfs started to come out and try to sell them.  We didn't want to stick around for the people to come out, who sell the green glow-in-the-dark toys they fling up in the air.  They sold these same junky glow-in-the-dark toys in Paris in the plaza leading up to the Eiffel tower, so it seems like any time you're in a populated area at night, they try to sell these to you for 1 Euro.  Sometimes they're very annoying with their pitch, and they really cheapen the scenery you're trying to enjoy. At the Plaza del Popolo last night they were trying to sell these as well.