Leg 5 – Europe – Rome – Day 3

Castel Sant' Angelo

Well, what a difference a 9 hour sleep makes.  Ah……….  it felt like we had slept for weeks after we woke up this morning!!

Breakfast this morning was again delightful however, The Princess had an allergic reaction to something and her cheeks and throat swelled up after breakfast.  Not a good start to the day after a nice sleep!!

We paced ourselves again today because we were only intending to tour the Vatican (Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s).  With this in mind we left the hotel around 11 am and caught the bus to the Termini.

We had a quick “heart-starter” cup of coffee (no Starbucks in Rome!!) in the Termini  before boarding the Metro (underground) to the station near the Vatican.

We decided to see the Sistine Chapel first.  I thought this was going to be a short tour through a small chapel.  Well, how mistaken can one be.  Indeed, the Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museum and the museum is an incredible place that is as interesting (if not more so) than the Louvre.  We toured the Louvre just over a year ago and we found it to be staggeringly overwhelming.  The Vatican Museum is substantially smaller but truly fascinating.

It is full of “apartments” and Chapels and they are all too incredible for words to describe.  And what does one say about the Sistine Chapel?  “Go and see it”!!  It is awe inspiring and I cannot do it justice.

From the Vatican Museum we braced ourselves for the walk through St Peter’s Basilica. We had walked into and out of several basilicas over the past two days but nothing (I mean nothing) can prepare you for the sheer size of St Peter’s.  This structure is a testimony to man’s ability to dream, design, construct and maintain the most staggering building that has been put on this earth.  The “WOW” factor is beyond the scale when you walk into St Peter’s.  Please do yourself a huge favour and visit Rome and St Peter’s basilica – regardless of your religious persuasion.  You will be inspired.

After walking through/around St Peter’s we entered to “Tombs of The Popes”.  This was very special too.  To be able to walk past the resting place of each of the Popes and St Peter is an incredible experience too.  The history is hard to comprehend.  Again – a must visit place.

From St Peter’s we walked back toward the Tevere River and past St Angelo’s Castle then off in search of Piazza Navone and the Pantheon.  Enroute we entered a few more basilicas (some of them are literally metres apart!!) listened to masses in German and Italian and said some prayers before continuing our walking tour.

Walking through the streets of Rome at night is a truly special experience so we soaked up the atmosphere as we navigated our way toward the Pantheon – another incredible structure that makes one wonder how such a building could be constructed and still stand intact for over 2000 years!!

From the Pantheon we caught a bus back to the Colosseum in search of some presents.  Unfortunately the shops were closed.  However, we were able to take some night photo’s of the Colosseum- another special experience!!

The express bus back to our hotel ran past the Colosseum so we boarded it and returned to the restaurant that we dined in on the first night we arrived in Rome.

We tried something different tonight and, again, we were not disappointed.  The food and the service were great.

We arrived back in the hotel around 10pm and took some time to pack our bags ready for our return trip to Hong Kong tomorrow.

Into bed at a reasonable hour tonight although we will need to get up around 7am.

Until tomorrow!!

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