Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Arrivederci Roma...

Trevi fountain
The Trevi Fountain
Some of the ruins in Rome

Fruit stands are everywhere, even in downtown Rome

Our very voluble guide

More ruins at, I think, the Capitoline Hill

We saw many beggars like this
The Colliseum

Flat Stanley enjoying the Colliseum

Even back then they marked which entrance you should go in, this is 53 if I remember my Roman numerals correctly

Flat Stanley and Randy at the Colliseum

Another part of the Colliseum

St. Peter's

Flat Stanley at St. Peter's

Rome, although it’s a beautiful city, was not my favorite tour city.

We took a Princess tour, by which I mean a tour of about 39 people (in a bus that holds 44, so the seating was somewhat cramped). I don’t know what audience these busses are made for, but Randy and I aren’t it. I have not been on a bus yet where my kneecaps don’t touch the seat in front  and that’s before they are reclined. But nobody has yet reclined the seat in front, thank goodness. Although I think I’d yelp if they did!

Our guide in Rome was somewhat forgettable and I have in fact forgotten her name. We had a short bus tour of the city including a stop at the Trevi Fountain. Yes, I did throw a coin in the fountain so I am guaranteed to return to Rome. The coins are all gathered every Monday and about 2000€ to 3000€ are collected each week for the benefit of the Red Cross.

Then on—on foot—for a stroll around Rome for about two to three hours—or was it twenty to thirty hours?— looking at the outside of lots of famous buildings (all of which I have forgotten) including a quick stop at the Colliseum (no entrance was included in the admission) where the line to get in stretched for hundreds of meters. In the sun. The Italians, however, have perfected the art of making money. There are “guides” who wander about asking who’d like to get in faster; as soon as they have about 50 people pay them—which is pretty quickly—they have a “tour,” and all 50 get to go in the “Preferred Admission” gate where there is no waiting. We only had a half an hour so even paying to be a Preferred Admission wouldn’t help us.

Eventually we ended up (by bus) at St. Peter’s square (which is a circle) for lunch and 3 hours free time. There was a huge line to get into St. Peter’s as it was only open in the afternoon (June 29 is a BIG holiday, celebrating [?] the deaths of Sts. Peter and Paul), and the good news is that Rome was empty, relatively speaking. The bad news is that the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s were closed). The line (or queue, for my Aussie readers) stretched half the circumference of St. Peter’s square AND it was in the sun. We were told by our guide that it would be 40°C (104°F). It wasn’t even close to that, but it was quite hot in the sun. By this time we had realized that none of the people on our tour had the slightest interest in being friendly so lunch was on our own.

The biggest difference between the Princess tours and the private tours (mine, Narelle’s, Marie’s, and a few others), is the friendliness of the participants. It’s like old home week when we gather for a tour and the merriment continues through the tour with only the occasional grump. But Princess tours have 40 people, mostly you have never set eyes on the other participants, and Randy and I have had great difficulty even striking up a conversation on those tours. Hence the lunch on our own

By the time we ate, drank, and wandered a bit it was 1500 and we were back in St. Peter’s square. The line we saw to enter St. Peter’s had practically vanished. Later we learned that St. Peter’s opened at 1300, thus the long line at 1230; had we known we wouldn’t have dilly-dallied around and gotten back with enough time to get into and see St. Peter’s.

A long drive back in air conditioned semi-comfort. Rome, to me, is pretty forgettable.

1 comment:

  1. Q: Is the Bear a Wooden Catholic?
    A: No, he grins it stoned.
    Q: Does the Pope shit in the Vatican?
    A: No, he uses the Saint John outside-the-walls.