Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday, Rome DRAFT

I don't think I'll be coming to Rome again. It's just too big, noisy and crowded. I've never seen so many people!
This morning, after arriving on the 7am train from Firenze to Rome, I decided to take the Metro (subway), instead of a taxi, to the Vatican. Cost: 1€ for 75 minutes of travel time. I took the A line and noticed stops for both Spagna (Spanish Steps) and the Trevi Fountain.
It took me about 45 minutes to make the walk to the Museum entrance: all around and to the far back of the thick fortification walls, which surround the backside of the Vatican.
I found the Vatican Museums to be extremely commercialized. Gift shops were at every corner. I wanted to rent an audio guide, but when I reached for my California driver's license, it was gone! Not stolen, but still gone. In its place I found the Internet Train card I purchased on Tuesday in order to print out the Vatican entry ticket voucher. I relaxed knowing it was probably still there. So, I wasn't able to take the video guide. I instead used the (heavy) detailed guide to Rome I had brought with me.
(note: I picked up my Drivers License last night. It was sitting in a lost and found shoe box at the Internet Train shop, along with lots of other lost IDs.)
The Sistine Chapel was worth the trip here. There is natural lighting only. Luckily the rain cleared up before noon and the second time I saw it, the colors were really bright.
Somehow, I missed the Raphael Rooms so I went full circle again, going through the Sistine Chapel twice. On the third try, a sympathetic guard led me on a short-cut and pointed the way up the stairs. Then I saw my mistake. The Raphael Rooms are off to the left before one takes the stairs down to the popular chapel. I wonder how many people inadvertently skip Michelangelo's rival.
It was a real thrill to see so many works of art today, in person. No picture taking was allowed in the Sistine Chapel, but I was able to photograph my favorite works of Raphael. In one picture, he has painted in both Michaelangelo and a self portrait of himself.
I caught the Metro back to the Spagna station and walked to the Spanish Steps. I think there are brightly colored flowers growing in pots on the stairs during the warmer months. Today, the steps were deserted of both people and plants.
I didn't spend more than a few minutes there. I backtracked to the Metro to use my still valid ticket to travel onto the Trevi Fountain stop. But at the last moment, I noticed signs showing it was possible to walk to Via Veneto, famous for shopping. I walked and walked underground, finally reaching the surface, but I found myself at a Parking Garage and Mall entrance.
I decided to go back. I was just too hungry. By the time I reached the automated gate for the Metro, my 75 minute ticket had expired. The ticket purchasing machines are easy to use. I pulled another 1€ coin from my pocket and took a ticket. (This morning I transferred a few coins to my inside pocket to eliminate the need to open my purse in the Metro.)
It was 2 o'clock and I was famished! After exiting at the correct stop, I ate a very good Spaghetti Carbinara at a small restaurant. Very expensive! 15€ for the pasta and an orange drink.
I look a small map from the restaurant and walked about four blocks to the Trevi Fountain. The area was absolutely packed with people!
What a delightful happy place. I saw a sign designating this place as a world treasure. Now I understand why it attracts crowds. It's magical! I hope I was able to capture its feeling in my pictures.
Around 3.30 (15.30) I caught the Metro back to the train station in hopes of fast as possible.
I paid extra to leave Rome two hours early. Moments after having the ticket in hand, the departure time changed from 10 minutes to one hour and ten minutes.
I'm now leaning up against a wall with others waiting for both the 17.00 and the 17.15 trains to Milano. Both have been held up.
Traveling alone in a new place is a little tiring. One has to constantly be attentive to signs and points of reference (to retrace one's steps) while still absorbing the new scenery.
Ok! The train to Firenze via Milano is now assigned a binario (rail platform). I need to stay awake on the train after this long day. I don't want miss the SMN (Firenze) stop and find myself spending the night in Milano!
Sent from my iPhone

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