Published: June 28th 2005June 27th 2005
St. Peter's Basilica
It's definitely bigger in person.
Today has been a mad scramble. I was planning to do the Vatican in half a day, so I got up early and was down to reception by 8. Unfortunately, checkout was slow (hence the reason for my wanting to checkout last night). Traffic wasn't ideal either, to put it lightly. Did I mention the Rome Metro system is the worst I've seen anywhere? In short, it was 9:30 by the time I got to Termini Station. After a 15 minute walk, fully loaded with by backpack, to the very inconveniently located left-luggage office (I wasn't about to wander around Rome with a large backpack), I discovered a horrendous line. I estimated at least an hour, so I got out of there immediately. Went to the hostel I stayed at my last visit to Rome (Casa Olmata), and managed to talk the proprietor into letting me store my bag there. Only problem: they siesta at 1pm until 4:30pm, and my train was at 3:15. With my getting to Ottoviano Metro Station (the stop for the Vatican) at 10:30, I had a heart-breaking, but relatively easy choice to make. The line for the Vatican Museam was about 3 blocks long - 2
St. Peter's Interior
The level and sheer extravagance of detail is incredible.
hours at least, and I had 2 hours tops before having to head back to get my bag. The Sistine Chapel, Creation of Adam, Last Judgment, etc. would have to wait for my next visit. Hey, I tossed that coin in the Trevi Fountain right?
St. Peter's itself was very good time-wise though. I waited only 15 minutes for security + dress check. The interior is incredibly detailed and opulent. I don't think there's a single patch of bare wall. §the floor is all marble (from around the world, as Italy only has white marble), the walls and pillars marble and gold leaf, and the ceilings-domes are fresco wtih gold trim. I put the camera away after a while, because you might as well photograph every square cm. of the place.
In the end, I did get back to the hotel, at a calm pace at that. Had my first ever McDonald's lunch in Europe across from Termini Station. I was starving, and wanted somethign predictable, close to Termini, and with a sky'high calorie count. McD's did the trick.
The train trip to Chuiso (transfer point) was very nice, as I booked first class. The local diesel
St. Peter's Dome
Beautifully decorated, and quite an engineering feat.
train from Chuiso to Siena, not so much. It wasn't air conditioned, had semi-melted seats, and very nasty air from the diesel engines. It got me there though, with the whole trip costing €16.
The hotel (Soggiorno Lo Stellino) I'm staying at is somewhat incoveniently out of the way, but is very nice inside. The room and washrooms are spotless, and I'm getting a single room for about €30 a night.
There are more photos below