Warfield European Adventure 2005 travel blog

Well, today we made our way to Vatican City with the intention of seeing the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, we didn't plan our time here in Rome very well (I blame the night train from hell and wasting a day catching up on sleep). It turns out that the Vatican Museum closes early on Saturday, plus Saturday is one of the most crowded days. We went anyway (in the morning) intending to stand in line. We got in line and started talking to a couple of guys in line with us who were from Kansas. We were talking about how the line wasn't that bad and how it was moving pretty quickly and that luckily we were shaded by the Vatican wall (by 9am it was already sweltering out, plus we had long pants on and shirts to cover our shoulders). Anyway, some people behind us realized that they were in the wrong line (and so were we), that it was the line for people who had signed up for tours, and that the individual line was coming from the opposite direction. So we got out of line, along with a gazillion other people, and started marching towards the end of the other line. We could not believe how long it was!! It went around the end of the corner, then down the street, corner again, street again. And this wasn't a single-file line, this was a "line" about 5-7 people wide. Plus now most of the line was in the direct sun. I remember reading in Rick Steves' that the line moves 100 yards every ten minutes. Well, it didn't seem to be moving all that quickly. So we decided not to wait (neither did the two guys we were talking to). But, hey, we saw the Pope two days ago, right?! yeah.

So, we made a quick walk through St. Peters square and looked around there. By then we didn't even want to wait in line there. It was so hot out, plus with the sun and heat my allergies have been acting up. We headed back home, changed into cooler clothes (the ones we wore that morning were already drenched), then went to the Collesium.

Our ticket to Palatine hill the previous afternoon included entry into the Collesium by 1:30 the next day, so we got to the Collesium around noon. It was pretty spectacular, but DJ and I both thought that Palatine hill and the Forum were more enjoyable to explore. The Collesium was grand, but once you're inside, you're just looking at just the one structure. Plus there is so much scaffolding all over the place, it kind of takes away from the beauty of it. It was awesome, though just not someplace that you spend that much time in. (plus, again, it was hot) Oh, but as we were about to leave we saw these two guys undressing out in the open and getting into judo outfits. Then they made there way towards the middle of the area (as close as they could get with the scaffolding). Then they were just posing and looking around and waiting. DJ thought they were goin to get their pics taken, them in their judo uniforms in the Collesium like they are all tough.

Next we made our way to see the Pantheon. First things first, when we got there, there is a big fountain out in front and we cooled off our faces with the nice cool water (along with everyone else). Then we went inside. The inside dome is so cool, especially with the sun streaming though the hole in the top. I took pics, of course, but I know they won't look the same as actually being inside. At the base of dome, the concrete is 23 feet thick, then near the top it's only 5 feet thick, plus near the top the concrete is mixed with lighter material like pumice (I think). This is the dome that all others are modeled after, such as St. Peter's Basilica and even the White House.

OK, at this point I was SO miserable with allergies, it took all my effort just to make it back home. I don't know if it's something in the air, but being in the sun really sets them off. As soon as I'm inside and it's cool, then I feel better. Enough whining, then. We made it home and both took naps after being drained from the sun. DJ then went and got our train reservations for tomorrow's ride to Bari where we will catch the ferry to Greece. We then did some laundry and lounged, got take out dinner from downstairs. Then there was all this commotion coming from outside and when we looked out the window there was this giant bicycle parade. I don't know if it was planned or not. I'm thinking it wasn't an official parade because there were still cars trying to drive and mopeds (LOTS of mopeds in Rome), but there were so many bikes that the traffic had to stop. Some cars would try and go, but then people on bikes would purposefully ride and park in front of the cars so they couldn't move. That set off lots of honking (more than is normal in Rome, there's constant honking here), then everyone on the bikes were dinging their bells and whooping to compete with the cars honking. It was pretty entertaining (we let out a couple of whoops from the window). Finally the bicyles left and traffic resumed. And then a few minutes later the clouds rolled in with thunder and lightening that we watched from our window. And it started pouring out. It was so refreshing, but it didn't last long at all. And that's where I end my night.

I hope to check in at some point in Greece, but we'll see. We take a train tomorrow to Bari, then catch an 8pm ferry to Patras that gets in at noon the next day (Monday), then we will catch a bus to Nafplio, which I think is about 2-3 hours away. It will be quite the trek, but then we get to relax. No plans but relaxing for a few days. Everyone take care!!

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