We did it! Rome in a day, well a lot of it. Got up this morning and used the excellent bathroom facilities on the camp site which I must explain more later, then set off for Rome. We started with the vaticn city and slipped into a free tour with an Irishman called Michael, They wouldn’t let me into the Cathedral at first because my shorts were too short but the tour guide was used to this and had some unfashionable polyester trouser-like things for me to put over the top.
The Cathedral was huge! Wehn you’re standing inside and looking up you don’t really realise the scale of it because it was cleverly designed to look smaller than it actually is. There are borders of letters all the way up and as the words get higher the height of the letters gets bigger (up to 12ft!) so the perspective is deceptive. It’s over 100m altogether which is huge!
I was very unimpressed to see nuns selling souvenirs and outraged at the wealth of the Catholic Church. Then there was the dead pope displays. The recently deceased John Paul was still on display but also a pope who died around 40 years ago! Being a pope though he “doesn’t decompose”. Hmm.
We then paid a fee to go to the top of Michaelangelo’s dome and first look into the church and then look out over Rome. Even if you take the lift there are still 300 odd steps to climb and we took it too quickly and exhausted ourselves. The view was spectacular though.
We then went off to see the other famous monuments in Rome such as the Colleseum and the Pantheon, among many other ruins. At the colleseum we had our photo taken with a man dressed as a gladiator,
“gratis” he had said. He then proceeded to ask for €5, I pretended not to hear and walked away.
There was one very odd ruin which was full of cats – there were loads of them! Actually our favourite building was a tomb, we’re not sure of the name but it was the tomb of an important King and it is a huge building with statues and guards.
After a very expensive day we were looking for a meal in Rome with a negative budget. All the supermarkets were closed and we stood outside the Pantheon surrounded by posh restaurants and a McDonalds. Now there has been a MCDonalds in every city we’ve been to so farand we’ve managed to avoid them. On this occasion all we’d eaten was a banana all day and we had no option. I VERY grudgingly and after muchg debate ordered a Big Mac. We ate a McDonalds sat outside one of the most famous ancient monuments in Rome.
We then made our way back to the camp site. At a bus stop two women asked us to take a man called Michael with us because he was confused by the metro being closed. He followed us until about 1am in the morning and when we got to the camp site he suddenly said “I’m on a different camp site” !!! The poor man had to make his own way to the other side of the city in the early hours of the morning.
We got back to the tents, dumped our bags and went in search of a beer. Turned out the bar wasn’t really a bar at all but more like a minimarket, but we found beer anyway and sat talking to a couple of Irish lads.
They told use that one of the failed suicide bombers had been arrested in Rome earlier tat night. That was scary because:
1) I’d only been saying earlier that the metro in Rome was probably one of the least safe places to be at the moment.
2) I’d been sat next to a man on the metro with a rucksack on his lap, reading Arabic to himself from a book.
3) The reason for using all the buses was that half the metro had been closed with no explanation.
Oh and in an extremely nice woman had given us tickets for free travel on all Rome public transport with a day left on them!