Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Third day's a charm!

Our third day began with a morning of lounging around the apartment.  We lingered over breakfast of yogourt (which is so much better than what we have back home), a handful of crunchy cereal, an orange and some juice...and were just generally slow to get moving.  Not surprising since neither of us slept well!  But then we headed out to Castel Sant'Angelo to tour its bastians and learn of its history.  Well not so much learning on my part, am afraid!  I found it fascinating, but mostly in a "look, something shiny" kind of eye being caught by the texture of the rooftops, the patterns on the doors, the amazing views of the city...

We had an okay lunch in  Il Bar Restaurant Le Terrazze near the top of the Castel. Great views...mediocre restaurant.  I have no idea why we were presented with a several page menu...because it turned out they had only three pasta selections available, or a couple of sandwich choices.  Not being in the mood for carbonara or hot and spicy pasta, and not being a huge fan of clams, I opted for a sandwich...tuna to be specific. (My other choices were ham and cheese, or tomato and cheese).  Dry, dry sandwich without a lot of suggestion?  Give their tuna sandwich a pass!!  In fact, I would say go here ONLY for an espresso (or capuccino etc) and to enjoy the view in a shady and breezy locale.

Next we rode the bus to the Vatican museums.  We accidentally went through the (empty) line up for group tours - seriously, we didn't do it on purpose - and were quickly inside to purchase our tickets.  The place was (duh) jam-packed with other tourists.  We basically zipped straight on through the first few rooms, since were mainly interested in seeing the Raphael rooms and the Sistine Chapel.  Raphael's School of Athens fresco was just as stunning as we'd remembered.

After we pulled ourselves out of the Sistine Chapel (no photos...the guards were just too darn omnipresent!), we exited the Museums through a different route than we'd taken when there a few years ago.  We went through several rooms of modern art (or at least art from a more modern time period, no clue what style or movement or whatever it was.)  A few pieces caught my eye, including a wooden relief of Jesus in a boat.  Along one of the corridors, there were some old marble tables, which were gorgeously intricate.

Eventually we found ourselves at the spiral ramp/staircase and exited the building...this staircase is really cool.  I had seen pictures long ago and remember being disappointed not to see it last time (I greedy am I?  Seeing the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel weren't enough for me apparently, I wanted to see a staircase as well! lol)  In my defence...hey, this staircase is really cool!!  When we got out to the street, I looked down the sidewalk, jammed with people, and thought man, that sun has got to be baking hot beating off the wall of Vatican City (the sidewalk ran along the wall, which is HUGE.)  So Mom and I crossed over to the shady side, all the while pitying those wilting in the heat on the sunny side.  We came upon one of Rome's ubiquitous and oh-so-refreshing fountains so we stopped to splash ourselves and have a drink (the spouts have a hole a few inches from the end, so when you plug the end with your finger, a stream of water shoots up to form a drinking clever is that?!)  We also stopped for gelato, also refreshing, especially limone...such a tangy burst of yummy!!  We had thought to climb the cupola of St. Peter's but we missed it by thaaat much.  Closed just minutes before we got there.  

So we hopped bus instead ,wound our way up and over Gianicolo hill and found ourselves in Trastevere. I asked Mom if she was okay with a visit to the Santa Maria in Trastevere...indeed she was. After mildly losing our way, we came upon this old church, one of the oldest in Rome. The piazza reminded me a bit of Santa Annunciata in Florence...sketchy but full of life and pretty cool in a down to earth kind of way.

The church is beautiful, but my interior shots are not really worth posting (only had my cell phone camera with me, which takes fantastic pics, but not so good in dimly lit church buildings or when close ups are in order.)

After this unexpected delight, it was time to head 'home'.  We made our way across the river (after again mildly losing our way!), then caught a bus back to via Crescenzio.  The Tiber was lovely this evening, still as glass and reflecting the clouds.

We ate in, once again winding down by relaxing with a glass of wine on our terrace, admiring the parasol pines and the warm night air...ahhhh, heaven!


sandrac said...

What IS it about Italian yogurt -- I never tire of it! (yet another reason for an apartment rather than a hotel!) And I also love that spiral staircase at the Vatican Museums. Sounds like a really wonderful, Roman day!

Anonymous said...

If you think Italian yoghurt is amazing head over to Athens and indulge there. *smile*

Trekcapri said...

Hi Anne, I am really enjoying the photos that you're taking and hearing about your wonderful explorations. Always something fun and interesting. I also love that sprial staircase shot. I really get in awe looking at the Sistine Chapel. So amazing. The water fountain sounds pretty cool.

I'm glad to hear that you are both enjoying yourselves. It sounds like you have a wonderful balance of sightseeing and relaxating times. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. Keep on having fun...

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