Monday, July 8, 2019

FIVE DAYS IN ROME, Part 1: Guest Post by Paige Arnold

Colosseum, Rome, Italy
My granddaughter Paige (age 13) and her parents recently went on a trip to Rome, and while she was there Paige kept a diary of their activities. Paige is a competitive swimmer, so although she was on vacation, she tried to fit in practice when she could. I thank her for sharing her thoughts and photos of the trip with The Intrepid Tourist.

During my spring break, my family decided that we would take a week-long vacation in Rome.  We stayed in an Airbnb right in the center of the old city, where tourists were abundant. 
Monument to Vittorio Emmanuel II, with statue of Goddess Victoria riding on a quadriga
On the first day, my dad and I wanted to find a place to swim.  I was going to be missing a full week of swim practice at home, so we had to find somewhere so that I could keep myself in shape.  We were originally going to swim at the Olympic pool, which was relatively far away, so we had to take the subway, then walk around 14 blocks from the station.  It ended up that the pool was only for people age18 and up, so we crossed the river in search of someplace else.  We tried another place, but it was for members only, so we retraced our steps in hope of finding yet another option.  We then happened across a little place with a pool under a big tent where we could pay to swim, and swam there for about an hour. 
The Colosseum was completed in 80 A.D. It is the largest amphitheater ever built.
After that we returned home and rested for a bit before going out to see the Colosseum from the outside.  
One of the many cats that live near the Colosseum.
Our Airbnb was about a two-minute walk from the Colosseum, so we walked through a nice little park and got there quickly.  We looked around a bit, then decided to go eat dinner at Ristorante Pizzeria da Michele, a place which was very nice and where the waiter was very patient and helpful. 
Entrance to the Vatican Museum.
The second day, we went to the Vatican.  We went on a 2 ½ hour walking tour which showed us the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.  The whole thing was very crowded, but it’s what you’d expect from one of the most visited attractions in Rome.
Statue of Boy and Duck with grapes inside Vatican Museum.
The paintings on the Sistine Ceiling and walls were beautiful, which is amazing since the artist who painted them, Michelangelo, wasn’t even a painter.  He was a sculptor. (No photography is allowed in the Sistine Chapel.) 
Statue of a face in the hallway leading to the Sistine Chapel
After gazing at the art in the Sistine Chapel for fifteen minutes, we walked right next door to St. Peter’s Basilica.  
There were many, many statues and the tour guide (who spoke fluent English as well as Italian) told us stories about some of the individual pieces, such as “La Pieta”.  Afterward, we went outside to the balcony and looked at the courtyard below. There were lots of nice decorations around, because Easter was coming up and the Pope was to come. 
In St. Peter's Basilica
Then we went to have lunch at a little pizzeria not too far away, which I thought was great.  Something that surprised me was how thin the crust was. It was like pizza toppings on top of a tortilla!  The thinness of the crust made the pizza even better, because since it was so thin you could eat the whole thing and not feel sick. After that, we walked for a while and took a bus back to the apartment. The buses in Rome, or at least some of them are very crowded. The upside of that is that when everyone is packed into the bus like sardines into a can, then you don’t have to hold on to anything, since there’s nowhere to fall. 
(The last two photos are by Matt Arnold. Part 2 will post next week.) 
Street scene near our apartment

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