Thursday 9 October 2008

Playing Tourists at Vatican City then more shopping

Everyone seemed to sleep well last night, so much so we were a little slow to rise with most of us making an appearance at about 8am.

Breakfast in Rome is very different to what we are used to. Typically it consists of a pastry and a tiny cup of strong coffee. The biggest latte I’ve been able to get (when asking for a very large one) is about the size of the average kiwi coffee cup. I’d kill for a latte in a bowl! So, forget the cereal and toast – it doesn’t exist. I looked in a small supermarket and the closest thing I could find to cereal looked like rice with fruit flakes. It wasn’t rice but some form of seed I guess. Those hungry go for a Panini or similar at a cafe for breakfast.

Next we took the underground to Vatican City. The underground is much more modern and better engineered than London or New York. I suspect Rome’s was built a lot later. The carriages are perfectly level with the platforms and they are really smooth to ride.

When we got to Vatican City we made our way into St Peter’s Square and a queue to get into the Basilica had formed and went right around the inside of the square. Again there are clear skies and the sun is harsh and hot. I'm trying not to complain because I know it is stormy back in NZ but man it is hot and gritty.

Fortunately the queue moved quite quickly and after ¾ of an hour or so we entered the Basilica. It was a visual shock to see such beauty inside a building after being outside in the harsh light and having spent yesterday looking at ruins.

Unfortunately they were preparing for a service and we could only mill around near the entrance before we felt we had to leave.

We left the square and queued to go to the Vatican Museum. The queued there for what seemed ages. It was a massive queue that would have stretched 400 metres long and 2-3 metres wide. We stalled for ages and Carl scouted ahead. We tried out the tiny radio telephones that I’d bought to use at the tournament which passed a bit of time. They seemed to work ok when the guys actually spoke English into them.

Jeremy and I decided we didn’t have the patience to spend another couple of hours in the queue and we decided that we’d just like to walk and check out some shops.
Apparently about 15 minutes after we bailed out the queue moved and they got into the Sistine Chapel... ce la vi.

Jem wanted to find the shop where I bought a present for Jan yesterday. He’d seen something there that he’d liked and hadn’t since found anything else. So, we had vague ideas where it was and set off. Found the subway and jumped off near the Spanish Steps. It must have taken us at least an hour of walking around to find the tiny shop we were after. We walked past it once without seeing it. We asked a policeman to show us where we were on our map... this was only about 10 metres from the shop! He could not show us on the map where we were... sheesh! Eventually we found it.

Fortunately Jem found something in the shop that he liked (oh and it is really awesome if you are reading this Kat). We might need another bag to fit it in though.

Back on the subway and back to our B&B by 3pm or so to chill out. Mark, Carolina, Richie, Jem and I chilled out for an hour and a half talking, looking at photos of the Honduras trip while the heat of the day passes.

The internet cafe is open again now and a few of the team have headed down there to check emails and send messages home. I guess we will soon too.

We must be near a hospital here because every 10 minutes or so an ambulance goes past with it’s siren on... I am so sick of sirens. Here they are just like leaving your horn on all the time with an additional wailing tone as well. On the other side of the square from us there have been preparations going on for some type of MTV rock concert. Hopefully it won’t be tonight.

Tomorrow morning we need to be up early, packed and off on the subway to the main train station for our 4 hour trip north to Rovereto. The high speed train leaves at 9am. We’re really looking forward to that... no walking and hopefully plenty of countryside to feast our eyes on!

Cheers for now