Friday, November 8, 2013

Rome, Italy (Part 2)

Well, this is probably the last of the installments from our Italy trip. On our second full day in Rome, we went straight to Vatican City. Now we can say that we have been to the smallest sovereign state in the world! After getting there, we soon began to realize that something was different/not right about it. Taking up almost the entire square were rows and rows of chairs, which we found out later was for "Family Day". I am still confused though, because I believe that the event was actually held on the next day... Anyways there was much less room to get around, and the line was really long. Maybe I misunderstood the things I read before coming, but I thought the line to get into the museum was going to be long, but there was no line for that. However there was a HUGE line to get into the Basilica (or maybe it was just for the dome). After hanging out in the square for a bit, we decided to try the museum. I didn't get any pictures in the museum, because I wasn't very interested in anything except the Sistine Chapel, which we weren't allowed to photograph. I have to admit that I found the Sistine Chapel a little underwhelming... maybe it was just because of the guards constantly yelling at people to stop taking pictures, and announcing for everyone to be silent, not to sit down, etc. Anyways, I am glad that we saw it and I don't feel a huge desire to go see it again.

I am a little ashamed to admit that we followed a tip from Rick Steve's travel book which recommended to sneak out the group exit from the museum to enter straight into the Basilica, and we may or may not have saved like 8 hours of waiting in line (depending on what the line was for). The Basilica was very majestic, but also a little saddening to us both.

We exited the Basilica, sat down in the square to rest and to have a little picture fun.

While on that side of the river, we walked up to a very un-crowded square to eat a nice lunch. Then we wandered back over the bridge to the other side, back to Piazza Navona, and up to a hill/park for sunset.

We decided to explore a less famous area of town and try to find a neat little real-Italy restaurant for dinner. We ended up settling on the first restaurant we found, because we were so hungry. We got there right at 7:00 when it was just opening up (I think we were the first ones there). They asked if we had a reservation, and we timidly said "No...". They said that we could sit at one of the tables but we had to be out by 9:00. It's a good thing we're practically grandparents and that is our bedtime, so we knew that wouldn't be a problem. As the night progressed we slowly began to realize that this restaurant was a really big deal! They had pictures hung up all over the place of famous people being there, and EVERY table was reserved. The pasta I ordered was prepared in the kitchen, then brought out and dumped inside of a giant hollowed-out wheel of Parmesan cheese, stirred around, and then served to me. It was amazing and I could only finish like half of it. It turns out we mistakenly found exactly what we were looking for for our last dinner in Rome!

For our last morning, we woke up and decided to hit a couple of the places that we didn't get to. Some other ruins, the Jewish Ghetto, back to Vatican City because I wanted to try to go up in the dome, back to Piazza Navona (because it's my favorite =)..) and then to gelato for the last time.

When we arrived at Vatican City is when we realized that the event they were setting up for was taking place that day, and it was actually in the middle of the ceremony! We obviously weren't allowed to go up in the dome, so we snatched a couple pictures with the pope and continued on our way.


My favorite gelato flavor was the Stracciatella. Ronnie got Mint Chip a couple of times, and said that he really liked this Oreo one.

After a long, awesome week we were ready to be heading back home. Italy was just as wonderful as I expected and hoped for. We were so blessed to have had beautiful weather, and I really hope we can go back someday. Thanks again to our dear friends that let us stay with them. Ciao ciao!