Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Surviving the heat, Rome Day 2

Even Cathy found it pretty brutal today. It hasn't reached the stupid levels of heat that I encountered while camping in PEI during a 40C heatwave back in '02, but it's still pretty brutal. It's the kind of heat that can sap your ability to do a lot, when all you want to do is crawl into air conditioning.

Today was the Vatican. We booked a tour to see the Vatican Museum as guides recommend you do that rather than spend upwards of 3 hours in the brutal heat, waiting in line. Which is a good plan. It makes sense. The downside is if you're late and miss you tour, then you've wasted a whole lot of money.

We didn't miss it, but it was a near thing. The plan was solid. We got there about 90 minutes early and walked around St. Peter's. Which was amazing. So amazing we lost track of time and then got lost. I thought once you were in the Vatican, it was a simple matter to just cut through it and get to the museum.

Ummm, no.

So after a lot of running, we barely managed to make it to the tour. But hot, sweaty and with rubbed feet was perhaps not the best way to start. Little did we know we had begun a three hour Vatican Death March. It was a great tour, don't get me wrong. Lots of fantastic artwork, great bits of history and a good tour guide. But the crowds inside the museum were insane. Coupled with the heat, it kind of sapped the good out of you.

I think it's kind of sad that when you hit the highlight of the tour, the Sistine Chapel, and you're so exhausted, hot and feed up with the insane crowds that you don't really appreciate it.

I'm not saying we hated it...it was just one of those things that even if the crowds had been a bit smaller, it would have been all right. We got there at 9:30 am and the place was still silly with people. I can only imagine what it was like later in the day.

After that, we sent our Vatican postcards (perhaps coming to a mailbox near you soon), grabbed some lunch, picked up a few groceries and then came back to the hotel room to sit in the glorious air conditioning. After that, some more gellato, a quick picnic watching the sun set near the Colloseum and then back to the hotel to rest the feet.

As for tomorrow, I think a bus tour of Rome is in the plans, plus finally getting into the Colloseum.

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