-E.B. White

Sunday, November 6, 2011

ITALY SEPT. 12TH & 13TH - CHECK ONE MORE THING OFF OUR BUCKET LIST!  For at least the last five years we have talked about revisiting Italy, (for Deb it has been 30 years and for Rick more like 40).  Of, course, we crammed way too many cities into a short period of time, but, the trip was amazing and the food and wine was incredible.  Let me bore you with our slide show.  "Could someone get the lights please".

First off, a car in Italy is probably not an asset, but we decided to rent one anyway.  Arriving in Florence, we immediately picked up our Panda Fiat and if the half hour attempt to get out of the parking lot was any indication of things ahead, we were in big trouble.   

Rick checking for dings or dents prior to leaving Hertz rental facility at airport.

When they say "all roads lead to Rome" they are LYING!! Armed with maps(in italian) and no GPS proved to be an exciting challenge for us. What started out to be a three hour drive turned into seven which placed us in downtown Rome in the middle of rush hour (exactly what they suggest you don't do).  We did manage to find the train terminal where we were to leave our car. Now we are paying $50.00 a day for the car, plus $25.00 a day to park it because the old section near the Colliseum where our hotel is does not allow car traffic.  An additional $15.00 for a taxi and we arrive at our hotel, a bit worn out, jetlagged and ready for a large bottle of wine!

Determined to cover the entire city on foot, we were up early and with our tourist map in hand and are ready to attack the day. The Colliseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and several more crumbly things.  
     This is what they suggest the inside looked like - hey even a guy with a hibachi - kinda like modern day tailgaiting only with you being the possible entree.
Midday Gelato fix.
After lunch we headed for the Vatican and evidently so did everyone else. Obviously the tourists were traveling in September as "Rick Steve" (the travel guru) had suggested, due to less crowds and cooler temps.  At this point we are standing admist thousands of people in 89 degree heat (not a pretty sight). 
Thousands of us heading to the Sistine Chapel - hot, sticky, and somewhat irritable.  See that red umbrella sticking up - the person holding it is the tour group leader and we are supposed to keep our eyes on it so we don't loose her. 

and more Vatican Pics

St. Peter's Basilica
and, again, the crowds at St. Peter's Basilica.

The cute Swedish Guards

The Pope's window, but, sadly no Pope sighting

After some nap time in the room, we decided to do the "Night Walk Across Rome" visiting the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.  Again, everybody must of read the "book"and decided to do the same thing. What was written up as "an after-dark walk mixing romance with history" - well this picture tells it all.
Spanish Steps
The Trevi Fountain, and

I love the looks on our faces.  A local hawker, offered to take our picture and we are both worried he was going to steal our camera.  Remember this is our first full day here, we do eventually relax.
Back in our room - Rick studying the map for our exit out of Rome tomorrow and on to Cinque Terre.  More to follow.

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