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I got a chance to go to Rome last weekend while Suzy was in Germany. It was a fun quick trip. I flew Airitalia. It seems like you are in Italy as soon as you step onboard. The Italians do not think the lines apply to them. The buzz on the airplane is a bit different than normal. After listening to Dutch for such a long time the sound of Italian is a welcome change.

Soon after getting my room and my bearings I headed down to the Trevi fountain for a slice of pizza. It lived up to expectations. I would be happy getting by on just the pizza. After that a quick drink at a pub.

The English have two great exports: the English language and their pubs. It seems like you can go nearly anywhere in the world and find a bit of comfort at a Brit pub. They are happy to have English speaking customers and there is a good chance to see a football or cricket match while you are at it. Rome is no exception.

I started first day full with a run to the coliseum. It is hard to believe it is real. It reminds me of something you might see in Las Vegas or Disney world. I am not sure how such a structure can be just standing there after a couple thousand years. Running is a great in a new city. You can see a lot in a short time. Even a crazy busy city like Rome can be see with a short run.

After a quick breakfast I was off the Vatican. With a bit of rain in the air it was good day to be indoors. On the way I stopped for coffee. I wanted a chocolate pastry but some how ended up with a cappuccino and hot chocolate. This turned out to be a good choice. It may have been the best cup of hot chocolate I have ever had.


Then a quick stop at a bakery where I ordered two cannolis. I ordered two mainly because can not remember how to day one and due it is fun to say Doo-ay!. So tasty. Onward toward St Peter’s Basilica. On the way there are many churches and statues that would be the centerpiece of most towns. Finally I arrive at St. Peters. It lives up to the postcards with soaring ceiling art, flamboyant marching Swiss guards and a church service in the middle of it all. I waited in line for the cupola with some Brits talking about their superior queuing abilities. The trip to the top is an adventure even for one who used to rock climbing. 500 steps to the top. The last 300 are within a narrow spiral staircase. The crowds and small space would give anyone claustrophobia. On and on we climb and then finally we arrive at the top. It was worth it with all of the Vatican and ancient Rome laid out below. The rain could not dampen to moment.
da pope's crib

Up next was the Sistine Chapel. A long walk around Vatican wall leads to the entrance to the Vatican museum. It is amazing what they built so long ago. It really puts the catholic religion into perspective. The hallway is covered in tapestries from the 1400s and the ceiling is an unending series of amazing paintings from the renaissance. Finally the chapel proper with the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo around 1500. Its scale is amazing but the images are smaller than imagined. I pulled out my camera for a shot. I was just zooming in on the sections where the god and man touch when the guards points to a sign of a camera with an X and almost takes my camera. I guess you have to pay attention to the signs and gates. I got warned a couple more times by Vatican guards. I think they thought I was going to steal the Pope’s oranges. They do not have much of a sense of humor it seems. The rest of the trip went quickly. I was able to take home an great stove top espresso maker. It is a bight yellow and shinny. It really is a Ferrari of stove top coffee. I think it might replace my French press at home.



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