We had a very relaxed morning today, not going to eat breakfast until 9:30. Unfortunately the breakfast at the Hotel Nizza is similar to that of the hotel in Germany. We will have to survive on cereal, toast, and croissants for a few more days. After breakfast we got ready for the day and then spent some time relaxing in our room, which in hindsight was brilliance.
At 12 we made the walk over to the train station and boarded the metro for a short ride and then a short walk to the walls of the Vatican City. We didn’t waste any time, using our pre-ordered tickets to enter the museum. Our tour guide yesterday told us that if you spent one minute looking at each piece in the museum, it would take you 20 years to get through the whole thing. After today I would say I definitely believe that! There were just so many amazing things to look at, including statues, paintings, pictures, and anything else you could imagine. Some of my favorite exhibits were the Ancient Egypt collection, the tapestry and map halls, and a collection that featured culturally significant items from different cultures all around the world. And of course there was the Sistine Chapel. It was crazy to finally see the amazing paintings on the walls and ceilings of that small, beautiful church. They had a short prayer ceremony while I was in there, which made the experience even more special. We spent almost two hours in the museum and I feel like I didn’t even see half of the treasures kept in there.
After exiting the museum we had to walk around the walls of the city to the entrance. The middle of the city was far less crowded than I had anticipated, and was still decorated for Chirstmas. There was a huge tree and a beautiful nativity scene right in the middle. We immediately got in line to climb up to the very top of St. Peter’s Basilica, which was not something any of us were looking forward to. 551 steps and a small amount of claustrophobia later, we reached the top and stepped out onto a small walkway. The views were absolutely beautiful and made the climb up at least a little bit worth it. Coming down was another story however. The winding staircases made me extremely dizzy and it took all my strength not to pass out or throw up. The stairs end right inside the Basilica, which was also amazing. There were some very interesting statues and carvings inside, but I was more interested in getting outside and getting some fresh air. Sitting by the huge fountain outside and breathing deeply for a while made me feel much better.
After everyone had finished in the Basilica we walked back to the metro stop, to head back toward the Spanish Steps on our way to the Pantheon. It was almost a mile walk to get there, and by this time we were all exhausted. The Pantheon was definitely cool, it’s structure, the statues and figures inside, and especially the hole in the roof. What wasn’t cool was the walk back to the metro and from the metro to our hotel. By the time we got back we were tired and hungry and went to the restaurant closest to our hotel for supper. I ordered some amazing pizza and a huge bottle of water. After supper we came right back to the hotel to relax and do some necessary sink laundry before bed.
With almost 12 miles walked today, we are all more than ready for bed! Tomorrow is an early one as we head out to Pompeii! Talk to you soon 🙂