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Published: June 22nd 2017
Geo: 41.8955, 12.4823
Today we got up early to go to Musei Vaticani in hopes of viewing the Vatican Museum and ultimately the Sistine Chapel. As we voyaged out, the lack of people and the forewarning that today was Epiphany led us to draw the correct conclusion that the museum was closed. We continued on, however, and finding this to be true, made our way into St. Peter's Square. Soon bells started ringing, an organ played, and Pope Benedict ? appeared before us on a giant TV screen. Here we were, unexpectedly, in the middle of a special mass to celebrate Ephiphany. Barb and Jeannette were especially moved by the experience. We stayed through the consecration part of the service, and were amazed by the quality of Vatican sound and TV.
Leaving the masses (no pun intended), we moved toward the Forum Romani/Colosseum, where we joined an English-speaking tour guide who was pretty humorous. Fortunately for time's sake, we ended up inside the Colosseum fairly quickly and were able to avoid the long lines by joining the tour. Inside, we heard tales of brutal gladiator fights, the execution of Christians, and of naval battles staged on the Colosseum floor. It was also surprising how much of the original Colosseum eventually made its way into the construction of St. Peter's Basilica. We visited both the main and upper level and took many pictures on what turned out, weather wise, to be the nicest day of our trip.
Departing from the Colosseum, it was off to the Forum again, this time from a different direction and from the other side. Things took on a different perspective and many more pictures were taken.
In search for lunch, we headed down via del Corso, Rome's main street and then veered off toward the Pantheon. As the crowd of people continued to grow, we found our way into Pantheon Café & Bar, where we enjoyed Italian-style pizza. Who'd have thought it would have so little sauce and such thin crust?! Nevertheless, it was very good and filled us up more than we had intended.
From here we took a walk around the square, where many more people had gathered as part of the Epiphany celebrations. All of the major stores were closed, but all of the markets and eating places were open and doing a great business. There were people and entertainers everywhere. It took us a lot longer than expected to venture back to our closest Metro stop at the Spanish Steps as the throngs of people just kept growing and heading toward the central part of the city. It reminded us of July 3rd in Chicago! It was all great fun, but we decided not to venture out later into the large crowds again and, instead, chose to enjoy our last evening in Rome in a more quiet area around Hotel Pinewood.
After some blogging and rest, we ventured out for an evening of fine dining and celebration, awaiting the long journey that would face us in the morning, and to our first tastes of Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Fiumincino), Toronto, and finally, the Windy City.
P.S. We are still not sure why we bought Metro passes since they were only checked twice the whole time we were here!
Hope to see everyone soon!!
P.P.S. "Going to the bathroom in Rome is a pain in the butt."
Why, you might ask? Let us tell you the story of the polterwattercloset (sort of like poltergeist=throwing ghost)...
In the Colosseo Metro stop we were once pleased to see the letters "WC," as in "water closet." Little did we know the adventures that would unfold at this site. Our first experience was last night. A boy and his girlfriend were going to use the WC. He used it first, at a cost of .50 euros. Next, she slipped in just before the door closed to save the other half of the euro. Shortly thereafter, we heard the WHOOOOSH of Niagara Falls (something like a dishwasher sound, but coming from the WC) and a girl's shrieking voice. "Are you ok?" her boyfriend yelled? "Noooo, I'm not alright!" she screamed back. Soon, an orange light began to flash and an alarm sounded. The door opened and out walked a girl who had been "watercloseted" to knee level. The poor young thing had fallen prey to the toilet equivalent of a self-cleaning oven, aka toilet room/life-sized dishwasher.
On the second day, we found ourselves again at the same toilet shrine (continuing the trip-long theme of "toilets and churches"😉 where a line had formed, even longer than the previous day. People toward the rear of the line seemed a bit perturbed, not knowing the pandemonium that would soon enfold beyond the sliding stainless steel door they were so anxious to pass through. "Abandon hope all ye who enter here" came to Jake and Barb's minds later in the day.
The ladies, after their first night's experience with the beast, smartly rolled up their cuffs on day #2. (Little did they know what was in store for them this time!) For Jeannette, the WC door decided to slide open on its own whilst she was crouched upon the throne. Jake, meanwhile, was trapped in the confines of WC#1 and helplessly heard his mother's shriek from beyond the stainless steel door. Somehow her door closed and she managed to finish her time inside and escape safely. Barb was plagued in another way. During her "throne time" the lights mysteriously extinguished. "I can find the button," she thought to herself as she planned her escape, but alas, the door opened on its own. It was time for all of us to bid adieu to our possessed WC, scarred forever with its memories.
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