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Published: June 24th 2011
Early Morning St Peter's
Not the greatest time of day for the photo subjects!
Our day started early today as we had tickets for the Vatican Museum at 8.30am. I had stayed up very late getting organised to check out, and of course, woke up at 4.30am then couldn't get back to sleep. It didn't matter at all though, as somehow the energy of Rome keeps you going. We set off to find a taxi with one last stop at the Trevi Fountain as one can never get enough of it, really. We love this place, so it will be hard to tear ourselves away. If there is ever a 'next time', I will know that we should spend at least a week here! Our taxi driver was a bit of a rogue, but nice all the same! I had forgotten to check whether he had a meter (and therefore negotiate the fare), so the bill for the 15 minute drive was higher than our tour of Rome at night last night! Taxis are very cheap compared with Melbourne though, so it wasn't disastrous.
We rounded a corner and shouted for the driver to stop as there was the most fantastic view of St Peter's Basilica in the distance. There were no crowds as
it was so early, so we stood and drank it in. Our hearts sank as we arrived at the Vatican Museum, as the queue was around the equivalent of a city block, and it was already hot. Luckily, I decided to ask the guard which queue we should stand in with our reservation voucher, and he ushered us straight to the front door! I'm amazed that there are no tours for people with children to the Vatican. We ended up buying the audio tour, and the very kind lady at the desk circled the things on the map which she thought the children would love, as there is no way anyone could see everything in one visit. Interestingly, Hugo loved it, and listened intently even though I felt much of it was above his head. It just seemed to help him focus on specific artworks, rather than get overwhelmed by the volume on display. We decided to start with the Sistine Chapel and then go back and do what was possible in the time we had. Great decision by Frank, as we were almost alone when we got there, and enjoyed the serenity until the tour groups began to arrive.
Our other favourite areas were the "animal room" in the Museo Pio Clementino, which is full of animal sculptures, and funnily, the hallways! They have magnificent ceilings, and the cupboards lining them are full of amazing treasures but you barely notice them. We only realised because some staff were doing an inventory of one as we walked past, and we stopped to watch. Hidden behind that one door were ancient statues, a gold tray from the 17th century and various other trinkets! Unbelievable.
It was time to go far before we were ready, so after sending postcards from one of the smallest countries in the world, we set off down the huge circular exit for St Peter's Basilica. Here is where I really went wrong. As entry is free, I hadn't booked tickets, but those who had booked tours skipped the line, which by 11am was snaking backwards and forwards across the enormous courtyard as far as the eye could see. It was already 30 degrees, and people in the queue were collapsing, so Frank and I made the executive decision that we needed to skip seeing inside, and head back to the hotel for lunch. We had to
Vatican Museum Hallway
As we walked down this hallway we barely noticed the cupboards lining it, until we came across staff making inventory of one of the cupboards. They are absolutely full of treasures - we saw ancient vases, gold trays, and a carved statue in our glimpse inside.
make our 2pm appointment to pick up our car.
In contrast to our trip in to Rome, the driver arrived to pick us up looking like something from "The Godfather", in a suit falling off his shoulders and a van which had broken air-conditioning, broken springs in the seats and, as we found out once we'd driven off, pretty average suspension. The driver avoided every motorway (tolls we suspect), and took every little winding back road in Rome. By the time we were half way to the Peugot office at Fiumicino airport we were all pretty hot and bothered, and Hugo was threatening to be sick. That stopped the driver immediately - right in the traffic, so the blaring horns added to the tension! A little further down the road, we pulled into a concrete factory which the driver assured us was the right address. Frank and I glanced at each other, reminded again of "The Godfather". We both said later that exactly the same thought crossed our minds.
As we had no mobile phone, I begged the driver to phone Peugot, who were surprised that the confirmation e-mail we'd received the night before hadn't told us they
had MOVED! On we went, eventually ending up at the right place and picking up a brand spanking new Peugot wagon and beginnning the next chapter in the day's adventures. They, however, deserve their own entry............
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