Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rome Day 2 & 3 - Travel Log

Our second day in Rome was spent at the Vatican City. The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and it is only 100 acres big. I wanted to send postcards from the Vatican post office but it closed the moment I stepped foot in it. So all I got was a photo of the Vatican post box which surprisingly was yellow instead of the conventional red.

Breakfast at our hotel was pretty good considering it was inclusive with the hotel bill. They served a whole range of Italian pastries and orange juice. I wanted to "ta pau" some pastries for our walking journey but decided not to. Too malu lahh..hehe..

Our journey to the Vatican City started off at 9.30am when we boarded our tour bus.

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It looked ancient on the outside but it was modern on the inside.

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St Peter's Basillica

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Another photo of St Peter's

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Can you see the window in the middle of this grand building? That is the Pope's window :)

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St Peter's Square

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Bernini designed this fountain at St Peter's square

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Check out the queue leading to the Vatican City. We had to queue up for nearly 45 minutes to get through the check point. Each visitor has to go through a metal detector and our bags had to be electronically scanned. No passports were needed to enter the Vatican City.

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The Swiss Guards. See one of the guard wagging his finger? He is telling tourists not to take any photos of him and his colleague. They do look funny don't they? They look like they are wearing pantheloons. However, they are the Pope's guards and are very highly trained. So, don't look down on them just because of their clown like uniform.

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Inside the Basillica. It was huge inside. There were many paintings and chapels within the Basillica. It felt good to stand at the place where John Paul II was lying in state in April.

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Here lies John Paul II. We couldn't get a close up because the guards shoo'ed us away.

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The Basillica's dome. The highest church dome in the world. We paid 4 Euros to walk 320 steps to experience its grandeur. The climb up and down the stairs was a nerve wrecking experience for me. The sairs were very very narrow and the walls felt like they were going to fall down on us anytime. The air passage was small and it breathing was difficult. I could hear other tourists complaining that they are feeling dizzy. Once you make your ascend, it is impossible to turn back and walk down again. You just have to finish your climb. The climb up was well worth it because we got to see a spectacular view of the St Peter's square.

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St Peter's square from the dome.

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Rome's skyline from the dome.

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The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel was our last stop for the day. We spent about 3 hours in the Basillica including the queueing time to view the Pope's tomb and the climb up the dome. We nearly couldn't make it to the Sistine Chapel because the last entrance was at 3.45pm. We were there are 3pm.

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The walk up the Sistine Chapel. Words cannot describe the beauty of it.

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One of the many painted and decorated ceilings in the chapel. Each of the paintings looked 3D to me but it was actually only 2D. That is how good the artists were then.

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Mosaic flooring of the Chapel

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Sculpture of a naked man

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The famous Michaelangelo ceiling which depicts the story of Adam and Eve. Photos were not allowed in that particular area but we managed to snap a few anyway by facing the camera upwards at our knees. This was the place where the Cardinals gathered together for a conclave to elect the present Pope Benedict.

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Via del Corso

We finished viewing the Sistine Chapel at around 5pm partly because we were chased out by the Vatican officials. It was their closing time. After that we took a taxi to Via del Corso, famed as the 5th Avenue of Rome for some shopping. I stepped into Prada wanting to purchase a bag pack for my sister which she requested but the model that she wanted wasn't there. There were no price tags on the display items.

DAY 3

Our third and final day in Rome was spent seperately. Vinz and I joined Choy, York, Jinn and Clare to do the Mouth of Truth before going seperate ways.

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The Mouth of Truth. Legend has it that when if you are asked a question and you put your hand inside the mouth of sculpture and you tell a lie, it will eat your hand up. I asked Vinz...
"Baby..do you love me?" and he answered yes. His hand is still intact :)

After the Mouth of Truth we went back to Via del Corso for some shopping. I bought a pair of jeans from United Colours of Benetton, a small purse and a piece of sexy lingerie.

It felt good to be back to UK. Everything seemed orderly and the weather was cool. I don't miss Rome as such partly because of the weather and partly because everything was just too ancient for my liking.

I am waiting for another batch of photos from Phillip. He brought his digital SLR with lense as long as a papparazzi's. So...wait up for more photos!

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