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Published: April 30th 2015
Thursday 30 April
Yes, Asterix you may well have been right. To be fair though, most of the madness we witnessed today can be put down to non-Romans.
After an excellent night’s sleep we caught a train into the city and then connected to the Metro line to go to the world’s tiniest country: Vatican City. If we thought the Dubai and London Metros were nuts we hadn’t seen anything yet. When we arrived, we soon established that the queues were ridiculously long. We hadn’t managed to get tickets online beforehand so decided that, with a 3 year old in tow, we would opt for convenience. We found an official tour who would allow us to skip the lines to get into the Vatican Museum and Galleries, the Sistine Chapel, and then St Peter’s Basilica as well as give us info on the way for €50 each for Heather and I (no charge for Zachary) so we did this. Had we not done it, we would have not seen it at all and that would have been a shame.
Even with the line skipping it was still hard going. The place was
absolutely jam packed – even our guide thought it unusually busy for a Thursday (perhaps the fact it is a holiday tomorrow contributed). So while we got to go in an admire all the magnificent sculptures, artworks, and tapestries there was no real chance to stop and read anything or admire for too long because you would soon be run over. But we did see it, and we got to go inside the Sistine Chapel and so one of our two major goals for visiting Rome was achieved. It was all a bit much for Zachary who fell asleep at one point as we carted him around but he quite enjoyed the Basilica.
After a few hours we were back in St Peter’s Square where there are people selling crap everywhere! We headed out and managed to find some very nice paninis for lunch before taking a slightly circuitous route back to the Metro station. Busy again, but not as insane as this morning, and we moved quickly to connect to our train. This was extremely packed and Zachary lost the plot when he discovered that a) he couldn’t sit down and b) there was no top
deck on this train. Some kind person let him sit and he sat still and quiet the whole time! It was an express service back to Zagarolo which was nice and then we decided to try walking back to the hostel. We wanted to check this out as in order to make our connection to Venice and then Castelfranco Veneto on Saturday we have to be at the local station at 7:30am. Sadly there is no taxi or other transport service available so we’ll have to walk it. For most of it there is no footpath but it will be downhill and flat. It will be a pain but it can be done. It should take 15-20 mins but we’ll aim to leave at 6:45 to give ourselves plenty of time.
I then went to the local supermarket to try and rustle something up to cook for dinner. It was only small and options were limited. I did, on the whole, think meat was cheap. Veges were okay but very very limited in supply. A 500g punnet of lovely looking strawberries was only €1.59 which has to be a great deal!
Heather managed to
figure out how to work the gas stove in about 5 seconds (I having given up) and we attempted to eat our sausages and pasta. Zachary lost the plot completely though and we ended up putting him to bed by 6:30 and he was quickly asleep. Poor fella is already shattered so the week-long stay coming up is well-timed. The plan tomorrow was
to go into the city and visit the Colosseum, Palatine, Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain. Bad timing however as the Palatine and Forum are closed for Labour Day. We may still be able to go to the Colosseum but we’ll have to see how long the line is. At least all these sights are an easy walk from the central station and I have details of a self-guided walking tour we can do. However, we’ll see how Zachary is in the morning and he and Heather may opt to stay and check out the old town of Zagarolo. There is a toy museum in the palace there. Not sure if it is open on the holiday – neither the web site or the brochure specified – so if it is that will probably be the
plan while I battle my way through the 80 million people crowded into the city centre!
So for now we’ll finish the bottle of local wine I just bought and then off to bed. We shall see what happens tomorrow.
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