Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 3 in Rome, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and St. Peter’s Basilica

I started my day with breakfast around 9:30 am, the plan was to go to the Colosseum, the forum, and Palatine Hill, with my German Hostel Mate in the morning and see the rest of the sites on my list in the afternoon.   We left the hostel a little after 10 am, when we got outside we noticed it was sprinkling, people had umbrellas.  My hostel mate went back to the room to get her umbrella; I got mine out of my backpack.

When we were about halfway to the Colosseum, it started pouring.   We were a good distance from the hostel by then, we were not going to turn back, we continued walking towards our destination.  The bottom of my jeans got soaked, my shoes and socks got soaked.  We took shelter from the downpour on Capitoline Hill, under the overhangs of the museums. 

Lynnae at the Capitoline between downpour 
The rain stopped momentarily, we thought we would be OK continuing our walk to the Colosseum, then the downpour resumed, plus thunder and lightning.   We decided to go to a café and wait out the storm.  We went back up Capitoline Hill and went to a café, finally the clouds broke, and the sun came out.  This time we were confident it was safe to resume our walk to the Colosseum.

I saw the Colosseum for the first time this morning; I walked around Rome all day yesterday, not realizing how close I was to the Colosseum.  Was impressive seeing the Colosseum as we walked towards it, I wanted to take pictures, could not believe I was finally seeing it in person. 

Lynnae as we approached the Colosseum 
We had a little trouble getting into the Colosseum with the tickets I pre-booked online, once we were it in, it was great.  Amazing to see this ancient Roman architecture up close, we did not spend a lot of time in the Colosseum, enough to look around, imagine what ancient Rome looked like.   We walked to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum after the Colosseum, they were also impressive.  These are the things I always think about when I think of Rome, and I finally got to see them in person.

Lynnae on Palatine Hill 
After we saw the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, we got lunch, it was about 2 pm by then.   Next we went to Fontana di Trevi, it was easy to find this time.  I threw a 5 cent coin over my left should with my right hand, which they say guarantees I will return to Rome someday.  

I headed for St. Peter’s Basilica after leaving seeing Fontana di Trevi.  I decided I would stand in line as long as it took to see St. Peter’s Basilica today, I am in Rome after all, and who knows when I will be back. I waited about an hour to get into the Basilica, it was worth the wait. The Basilica is amazing, probably the most beautiful I have seen during my tour of Europe. 

Lynnae & German Hostel Mate at Roman Forum 
After looking around St. Peter’s Basilica, I got in line for the walk to the top of the dome.  The wait to climb to the top of the dome took about half an hour, again, it was worth the wait.  There were two options walk up 320 steps to the dome for 5 Euros or take the elevator for 7 Euros.  I chose the walking option, I am not sure how long it took, maybe half an hour, people were walking at a pretty slow pace the first half up.  I took a couple second break at one point, I started walking quickly up the steps, they kept getting steeper, I needed to catch my breath.

Lynnae in St. Peter's Basilica 
When I reached the first stopping point on the climb to the dome, I thought I had reached the top.  From this point, you can look down into St. Peter’s Basilica, while I was up there, mass was being held.  I watched for awhile, was difficult not to, tried to take some pictures through the cage, and then after about 15 minutes was ready to start going back down. 

I followed the arrows to exit and there were more steps and people climbing them.  I followed, the climb got really steep at this point, the man walking at a brisk pace behind me, slowed way down as he realized the stairs were going on and on.  When I looked back and first saw him, I was surprised by his pace, thought I may have to get out of the way and let him pass me.  Finally I reached the last part of the climb, there was a rope hanging down to assist climbers in pulling themselves up to the top.

Lynnae atop St. Peter's Basilica Dome 
The walk to this point was worth it, spectacular views of Rome and the Vatican, it was packed up there too.  I walked around the entire dome once, pausing to look out at the city and take pictures, then I began the trek to the bottom.   There were more great sights to see on my way down, I took more pictures, then went down the last part of the stairs at a fast pace, it is always easier going down than climbing up. 

Lynnae in front of Dome at St. Peter's Basilica 
I went back to my hostel after seeing  St. Peter’s Basilica, I was satisfied I had seen everything I wanted to in Rome on this trip.  I ran into my German hostel mate on my way into the hostel, she had gone out and looked at different churches around the city, there are many beautiful churches in Rome.  I talked to a few other people from the hostel, then went and got a quick dinner, and packed my bags for my trip to Barcelona tomorrow.

Day 3 in Rome Photo Album

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