Friday, March 11, 2005

When in Rome, do as the rodents do--Part III 

We were blessed with some truly fine weather for our third and final day in Rome. Since our plane wouldn't be leaving until late that night, we left our bags at the front desk of the hotel and went out for one last day of sightseeing.

We went to the tobacco shop around the corner, and I bought day-passes for us to use the bus and metro system so that we could cover lots of territory with minimal walking. We smooshed our way onto the over-crowded Bus 64 (infamous as a haven for pickpockets) and headed for St. Peter's, whose huge size amazed Pellet and Cheezer:

We opted to take the 6 euro trip to the top of the dome, which includes an elevator ride and then some 300+ steps, instead of the 4-euro trip, which is steps all the way. When you get off the elevator, you go inside the dome where you can look down over the church:

From there you start climbing what has to be the world's skinniest staircase to get to the top of the dome. As you get closer to the top, the curve of the walls forces you to lean inward as you climb. The view from the top is breathtaking, but it was cold and windy up there, so we didn't stay for long:

After we visited the top of the dome, we went into the church to look around and then started making our way over to the Vatican Museum. We stopped on the way for a lunch of authentic (expensive) Italian food. My lasagna was really good, but the kids were not impressed by their pizza. It wasn't nearly as good as the cheap stuff we had eaten in Naples the night before under the watchful eye of Staring Man.

If there is a prize given for fastest tour of the Vatican Museum, we deserve it. In good tourist fashion, we blasted past centuries of art in order to get to the Sistine Chapel. We admired the magnificent ceilings and then decided to use what little remained of our energy reserves to take the rodents to the Colosseum:

The kids were excited to find our old friend Nero hanging out in the sunlight:

I swear, I fantasize about hopping in my car and driving down to Rome to get that cat.

We couldn't resist one more visit to the Forum:

With the clear blue sky as a background, the Forum seemed even more magnificent than it had on Sunday. Here, for example, is the Temple of Saturn in front of the dome of Santi Luca e Martina:

And here is the Temple of Antonius and Faustina:

We still had several hours to kill before we needed to be at the airport, so we headed back toward the Hard Rock Cafe, stopping by the one souvenir stand in Rome that had the calendar I wanted, which featured photos of Roman cats. I know it probably seems rather weak to go to Italy and eat at an American restaurant, but after our disappointing lunch I wanted another successful meal. The Hard Rock was indeed a success, especially the hot fudge brownie sundae we enjoyed for dessert. The rodents were pleased:

Rather than re-live in reverse the frustrations we encountered getting into the city by bus, I decided to splurge on the 40-euro cab ride. We collected our bags from the hotel and set off via taxi. Our driver took us past the Forum and Colosseum; getting to see them lit up at night was worth the cost of cabfare!

Our flight home was uneventful, and we landed in Germany shortly before midnight. I was horrified to discover that it was snowing pretty hard, but I managed to get us home 2 hours later without going into any ditches or falling asleep at the wheel.

Ever since we arrived home, I've been busy doing laundry, working on my pictures, and . . . packing. Tomorrow at noon we leave for 5 nights in Copenhagen!

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