Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rome Day Tre

Day 4 in Rome will officially be known as the "day of the strike".

The Italians have regularly scheduled strikes at least one Friday a month according to Oldest Son, so we knew this one was coming, it just showed up in a different form than expected.

We planned a day at the Vatican Museums and then later in the afternoon we would walk over to our pre-purchased, special tour of the coliseum. We expected to walk all day  and so Oldest Son and I headed out the Vatican Museum line about 9 AM with our prosciutto sandwiches and fruit for lunch.

We were surprised to see the 990 bus since there was supposed to be strike but we hopped on it for a few stops. While on  the bus, oldest son overheard a woman talking in Italian with the bus driver that the strike didn't start until 9:30 AM. How timely.

This was actually good and bad since The Chancellor stayed behind at Apartment Maximus and we were to gather information about the walk and relay it back to her. Now all we could say was "there was this bus..."

The line to the Vatican wasn't bad by Vatican line standards. Oldest Son and I were in the security checkpoint by 10:30.

In 2006 I had been in the same checkpoint and had to check a tripod, so I knew not to bring one of those again or it would be arrivederci tripod. But, what I had forgotten was that I had a laptop security lock in my bag and wasn't I surprised when I saw it on the x-ray of my bag. So was security and I was sent in the direction off the controllo bagagli.

I knew where this leads. I end up with a ticket and no bag, a ticket that I will later lose.

So I simply got out of line and went into the Museum. It was sort of scary how easily this was done.

By 11:30 we had made our way to the Sistine Chapel where it is still absurd but this time I took pictures and movies of being there. Of course this too is against the rules.

Here is a picture I took of the last judgement by simply pointing the camera in the general direction of the wall:
Rome2011-Day3 035
At the exit of the Museum I saw I sign for the baggage claim and I made Oldest Son ask in Italian if they still had my tripod from 2006. No, I did not have a biglietto. He was embarrassed to ask but they made an effort to at least look. The guards say that if you mail them the ticket, they will ship the item back to you for free.

Nice to know - now.

By 1 we called the Chancellor and had her make the walk to St Peters from Apartment Maximus.

We were a little concerned about letting her make the walk on her own but she clearly did not want to see the Vatican again since as far as she was concerned, she had checked that off in 2006 during our first trip here.

According to Google Maps, it's a 30 minute walk and Oldest Son and I had planned to map it out with pictures along our walk and we really had good intentions - until the bus came.

View Larger Map

We told her we would meet her at the Obelisk in St Peters but we found ourselves directly in the path of her walk so we thought we would call her to get a status update and try to meet her. This seemed like a good idea at the time - really. Of course what we could not predict was her exact path and somehow we missed each other.

Oldest Son and I realized that too much time had passed and headed to the Square and the original meeting place of the Obelisk.

As we are walking, we see TV film crew ahead talking with someone.

Guess who.
Rome2011-Day3 047

They interviewed her about what her take was on the royal wedding and when she didn't have one, they told her to make something up.

From there we made our way to the Coliseum where we discovered it very difficult to tell if it is opened or closed from a distance. We learned that you really have to be right on top of it to see that the iron gates are all closed and there is an absurd number of people outside it and none inside it.

They were on strike.

We emailed our tour company and rescheduled for the following Friday.

Lesson for the day: prescheduled items are good in the beginning, bad at the end. (imagine if we scheduled the Coliseum for the end of the trip).

All day 3 pictures are here.

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