Vatican City... So Beautiful... (17 December 2007)

12:06 AM

17th December. We were so excited to be in Rome. We woke up early and fresh. Breakfast was included in our hotel. We went straight to coffee room at level 2. Cold breakfast was provided. Croissant and baguette were served. There were cereals as well. Italy coffee was nice.

First stop, supermarket. We were so thristy so we bought 6 bottles of mineral water. We brought the mineral water back to our hotel and only brought one bottle with us. Well, we had wasted enough time, so we hurried to Termini Metro station.
We bought Metro ticket from the vending machine. It is EUR 1 irregardless of how far your journey is. And the system is certainly much better than last time where you need to validate your ticket. If you plan to visit a lot of museums and take a lot of Metro, you are encourage to buy the Roma Pass.

There are only two lines in Rome Metro. We took Line A towards Battistini. It was peak hour. This was good experience. The train was so packed. Luckily we were at Termini, which is also an interchange station. A lot people alighted and also a lot of people waiting to get up the train. We managed to stand in the first few people. So we managed to get up the train. But certainly there were people pushed us, and also we needed to push others. We also heard a few people complaining, in Italian. So we can't be bother since we can't understand whether were they scolding us or others. We alighted at Ottaviano.

There were quite a lot of people walking towards Vatican City. Just follow the crowd.
When we reached Vatican City, we were not sure which direction was the queue to Vatican Museum. Vatican Museum is so famous, we were expecting to go there early and queue.
Smart enough again, we chose to follow the crowd. When we reached, we saw there was a long line already. It is advised to reach Vatican Museum early in order to get in front of the line.
The museum will close early during winter.

After one hour plus in the Q, we finally managed to get in. We paid EUR16 each for the entrance fee. We were quite blur as where to start. Later we decided to start with Sistine Chapel. Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Room are among the most famous in Vatican Museum. I must say Vatican Museum is very very impressive, it really worth the entrance fee. Although I am not a person who know how to appreciate arts, but the collections are very impressive. There are a few halls with collections of arts from famous artists. And the halls are all very grand. It is like a Palace with all the glittering decoration.

We followed the signpost towards Sistine Chapel. It was very crowded. We managed to squeezed our way through and on our way, we managed to take a few pictures. The ceiling of Sistine Chapel is the creation of Michelangelo. Among the showcase on the ceiling is the God Creates Adams. The Last Judgment, another masterpiece by Michelangelo is on the wall of Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo took 7 years to finish it.
Taking photo in Sistine Chapel is prohibited. But there are a lot of tourists every moment and it is so crowded, the guards will not able to prevent anyone from taking photo.
It is advisable though, not to take any. Should you be caught, you might be escorted out from Sistine Chapel.
Also worth to mention is the Spiral Staircase when you want to go out from the Vatican Museum.

Vatican Museum is must if you ever visit Rome.

It was about 1pm when we finished Vatican Museum. Have our first lunch in Rome in cafetaria in Vatican Museum. We had Pizza. The pizza was average.

After lunch, we walked to St Peter's Basilica. It is one of Must See in Rome. It is the greatest of all churches. Indeed it lives up to its name. Michelangelo contributed much to the design and architecture of the Basilica. The Dome is famous in Rome skyline. Entrance is free, except you want to visit other rooms like the Treasury.
It was a awkward that there was a big Xmas tree in the middle of the Piazza.

You should not miss the Dome. The view from the Dome is magnificent. View of Piazza St Peter's and Rome will definitely attract you to take a lot of pictures.
We didn't have a chance to go up the Dome, partly we can't find the way up even after asking the people there (so shame of us) and we were behind our schedule.

Next on our schedule is Castel Sant'Angelo. It was also a Mausoleum of Hadrian. Much so, it is a fortress and castle built in 14th century.
It is facing the Tiber river. The Tiber River is pretty with the Rome buildings as background.
Along the way, I took a lot of pictures of St Peter's Basilica. It is very beautiful.

We planned to take Metro to Piazza del Popolo, but we decided not to as Rome is best explore on foot!
We walked along the river, passed through Piazza del Tribunali and Palazzo di Giustizia and continued towards Ponte Margherita.
We crossed the bridge and Piazza del Popolo is right in front of the bridge. The timing was quite nice, but too bad it was drizzling. We took a break at one of the restaurant nearby. Our ordered our first cup of expresso in Rome. Taste Great!! If you want to order coffee in Rome, there is one stand at the bar or 'dine in'. The price is different.
So, if you want to have a cup of quick drink, order at the cashier and get your coffee served at the bar.
After coffee break, it is about sunset. We missed the St Peter's Basilica Dome, this time we didn't want to miss the Pincio Garden. We found the staircase leaded us up to Pincio Garden.
The view of Piazza del Popolo from Pincio Garden was awesome. We spent our time there to wait for the night to set in. This is exactly as we planned. To have a day and night view of Piazza del Popolo. The picture above shown the night view of Piazza del Popolo. Romantic right? :)
Both of the camera battery were drained. So, we had to return back to hotel to have it charged. Luckily we had taken most of our precious moment in Rome Day 1.

Based on the DK book, we went to one of the recommended nearby restaurant run by a family to have our dinner. Rome restaurant usually open for dinner after 7:30pm. So, we had to wait for about half an hour before we had our order taken. We ordered Spaghetti, Tortellini, Pork Chop and White wine. I enjoyed it very much. The bill was reasonable too.

After dinner, we went back to hotel and turned ourselves in early for our Historical Rome, Day 2.

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