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Published: October 2nd 2012
Another day to tour, shop, tour, eat, shop, tour, drink wine, shop and then rest at the end. First we had to change hotels. We made it over to the Sheraton Golf Resort by cab, only to find out we were in the wrong building. The hotel shuttle took us to the correct building where we could store our luggage and check in later in the day. Then hotel shuttle bus drove us to Rome Downtown Center to drop us off at the new bus stop by the Saint Maria in Comedien church. We didn't see the 110 Open bus stand at the bottom of the hill so we hoofed it back to stop 5 so that we could catch the next bus and tour St. Peter's Basilica. The bus was a little slow and it seemed we stood around for a good 45 minutes. Upon arrival, we found seats inside the bus instead of on top. That was okay because we had toured the area and just needed to make it one stop north.
The line into St. Peter's Basilica was winding, but I didn't think it was bad because I had toured it a few years back. Gia
& Francesca were a little nervous that we would be in line for hours. We went through security and walked through the maze of crowd separators. In about 5 minutes we were at the top of the steps by the entrance of the Basilica. Our cameras were none stop for the next 20 minutes as we toured through the beautiful, awe inspiring structure, filled with religious relics and notable artifacts. By the time we reached the exit, my feet were already tired from the marble flows. Oh joy, only 2 more hours of walking, touring, walking and touring before we would sit down for lunch. But wait, we had bus tickets! We hopped back on the 110 Open line and made our way to the next stop.
We had zigged instead of zagged the previous day when we were in the northern part of the city center. This time we had a mission in mind: 1) we had to find Piazza del Popolo for the tour pick up we were scheduled for the next day; 2) we had to find the GAP store for Gia; and 3) most importantly refill our wine-o-meter. We made our way around and around
the shopping areas. There were some "temporary" stores that turned out to be some discount stores with interesting finds. Plus, we found Florence area leather shoes & bags, wine shops, souvenirs, gelato stores, pizzerias, and so much more! Did I mention that there are street dispensers for condoms in Rome? The only place we had spotted these dispensers was in this district. Kind of funny but interesting that this country felt STD protection important in such a strongly (Catholic) birth controlled society. No purchase necessary with our group! We had more important things to buy like leather shoes, rain boots, or fancy pantalones!
We did stop for lunch when we made it into Piazza del Popolo. The Cafeteria Wine bar on the north part of the Piazza seemed to have the best selection of wine to compare to Ricco's “must taste” list we had been working from the past days in Italy. Everyone had a yummy lunch and the wine was superb! Recharged to complete our shopping excursion in time to return to the hotel by cab and check into the hotel we darted off to our respected tasks in mind. Each of us returned with fun things to
share back home except for Ricco. Then he decided to make a purchase at "Sir GAP" of the under garment nature! We made our way back up to the taxi stand. But, before we marched that way, we separated one last time to fulfill the needed shopping list from the items we had spied in the previous visited shops. Oh, but we aren't done shopping! There were still 3 days for Ricco & Gia and 6 more days for me & Francesca for shopping. Plus, there is plenty more to see and do over the next few days.
Back at the hotel, we checked into our rooms. The size was good, but the hotel was a little stingy on towels. I had to wash out a few items of clothing before too many more days passed. Francesca unpacked while I washed clothes. Ricco prepared the night wine for tasting as Gia decided to find something to eat at the hotel restaurant. The food wasn't so good, but the wine was exceptional. We are learning more about Italian foods, delicious wines and we are enjoying all the really good tastes, too!
Ciao, Ciao Bella!
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