|Everyone has a painting like this over the door.|
Sunday, February 20, 2011
I know this entry is very late, but “better ----- than never!” So… Here goes.
Our trip to Rome over the holidays was GREAT! It was everything we hoped, and much more. We spent six full days there. Many people had told us that was too much time, but Lynn and I found plenty of things to fill days with, and were never bored.
We had a very early (6:00AM) flight on Dec 27th from Sofia. But we were in the center of Rome by 10:00. After dropping off luggage at the main train station, we immediately began to explore the wonders of Rome. Our very tentative plan was to just try to get a feel for things on Monday. But that did not happen. We went to the coliseum first. The size of things was what amazed me. How did people build these colossal structures 2,000 years ago without cranes, bull dozers, and modern equipment? We decided to get tickets for the Forum, Coliseum, and Palatine Hill Monday afternoon. This was not part of the plan, but it turned out to be an excellent decision. As we moved thru the week, we realized our first few days were almost “tourist free” compared to the number of people arriving later in the week. By Thursday, Rome was exploding with crowds of New Years’ party people. Doing the most popular attractions early was the best thing for us.
Our second day was the Vatican. We had signed up for a tour on the internet. Although there can be as many as 20 people on this tour, Lynn and I were the only ones that day. The tour generally lasts three hours, but Andre (the guide) spent four and a half hours with us. Sometimes things just “go right” and we certainly were lucky that day.
One of the things we enjoyed most was jut walking the narrow streets (more like wide paths), and stumbling upon piazzas, fountains, and beautiful churches. There seemed to be a cathedral in every piazza, and each one was prettier than the last.
Lynn had found an apartment for us to stay the week and it was great. It had a functional kitchen, separate bedroom, and living room with a couple of comfortable chairs. Most important, it was in a perfect location. We were a few hundred meters from the top of the Spanish Steps. When we booked it, we did not realize how good the location was. But we could be out most of the day, come back and cook dinner, and then head out for another “exploration walk” after dinner.
In addition to the Vatican, Forum, Coliseum, and Palatine Hill, we managed to see most of the famous churches, squares, and old neighborhoods. We visited the catacombs, and spent part of a day at the Roman Civilization Museum ( a place most tourist seldom go, but we loved it). New Year’s Eve was spent at Popolo Piazza, one of largest piazzas in Rome. It was not as crazy as Times Square, but there were many thousands of excited (ie drunk) Italians there, and many of them had fireworks to toss into the crowds. We were safely on the hill overlooking the piazza and it was just fun!
Many of the places we visited did not allow flash photography. But, Lynn got some amazing natural light pictures of beautiful art. Without trying to bore you with a travel log, I will put some of them at the end of the blog. There are not any good pictures of Lynn and I. It was much colder than we had expected, ad we were bundled up in layers looking like little kids in winter or the “Michelin man”.
Rome was wonderful. We recommend it highly. Although we are not sure how much fun it would be in the high tourist – hot summer season.
Thanks for reading