Friday, June 22, 2012

Lo-Tiv-Ro Tour Day 8

This morning is Sunday and the city is quiet as most Romans are headed to church and most tourists are still in bed. Audrey and I get around early and head out to the Capitoline Museums and the Forum to get our site seeing done before the heat of the day saps us of all energy. Our first stop was Trevi Fountain as at this hour there were no crowds and we could actually get some shots without others in them...for me it was heaven as I'm not a big fan of the crowds that we are facing all the time:
This is an example of another one of the themes that I've noticed in my pictures, which is all the interesting cornices and carvings on all the buildings there:
Here is a shot of the Rome Capitol building, near the Musei Capitolini, our destination.

This is the ruins of an ancient (pre-Christian) apartment building right in the middle of downtown Rome, how cool is that?
For those of you desperate for proof that I really was there, here is a picture of me on the steps:
Shot of the Forum from atop Capital Hill.
Another shot as we are approaching the Forum.
Capitoline Museum. These museums were designed by Michelangelo.
The She Wolf of Romulus and Remus.
And again in topiary form:
Inside the Forum ruins:

Ruins of the House of the Vestal Virgins:
After Audrey and I finished up in the Forum, we went back up to the museum to wander around in the coolness. However, we first went to the cafe for a drink and a rest. From the terrace of the museum, you could see out across the city and see some of the private terraces:
I swear this is Sylvester Stallone....or maybe Constantine.
Here is a statue found in the museum. I personally am a little confused by this statue as I wonder if this is just not complete...
Lots and lots of pictures of the travertine floors, which made me see many a quilt possibility.
The foam finger of the know they had the Olympics and had to root for their teams!!
Another drinking fountain in Rome.
At the end of the day, Audrey and I went back and found Lisa. We then went out in search of a place for dinner. We found a nice place and I ordered their Caprese Pizza...I figured it would be a combination of a Caprese salad (yum) and a pizza, which is was and it was yummy:
We did not go to My Restaurant, however, because the prices were out of our range...What can I say, I'm not a cheap date!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lo-Tiv-Ro Tour Day 7

Today we visited the Vatican Gardens. Our tickets were for the 8:30 AM tour so we dragged ourselves out of bed early and headed over to the Vatican. In order to go into the Vatican, and many of the churches, you have to dress with respect, which includes having your shoulders covered (e.g., no tank tops without a shawl or sweater) and your knees have to be covered (e.g., no shorts). The day started out beautifully but quickly warmed up to steamy.

The first stop on the Vatican Garden tour was a to scale version of Vatican City:
We then headed out to get a look at the gardens and learn some history of the Vatican.
 Here is one of the many, many fountains that can be found throughout the gardens (yeah, more pictures of more fountains):
 They even have a recreation of the Grotto of Lourdes:
Pope John Paul II was recognized throughout Vatican City. Here is a sculpture in the garden that was created to commemorate May 13, 1981, which is the day that Pope John Paul II was shot.
This is called the Jubilee Bell and it was rung during 2000 Jubilee. This occurs ever 25 years and is a time when pilgrims come to Rome and the Jubilee Doors (or Holy Doors) are opened and if you walk through the doors, or touch the doors, or something along those lines your sins are wiped away. 
 Here is a shot of St. Peter's Basilica from the back:
There are approximately 900 residents of Vatican City, here are a few of them walking through the gardens on their daily business (yes, they are nuns).
Another shot of St. Peter's.
After the garden tour, Audrey headed off to find the cafeteria and Lisa and I headed off to the restrooms and I needed to stop at the post office to mail some postcards. Unfortunately, we all were separated from one another and I never met back up with them. While I went searching for the cafeteria, I came across this ramp that I thought had the sign pointing to the cafeteria, so I went down it.
 Turns out it was for the exit, so I went back up it.
I found this courtyard that leads from the Vatican Museum to the Sistine Chapel. There is also a cafe here, however, it was NOT the one that Audrey went to, nor was it the one that Lisa went to and waited. We were all waiting at different cafes within the Vatican Museum. They eventually found one another again, I, however, headed back to the hotel and then did some wandering on my own.
I climbed the Spanish Steps on my way to the hotel. If you will recall, I had a shot previously from the top.
Here is a shot from part of the way up...the crowds on the Spanish Steps would get crazy.
After stopping at the hotel and waiting a while to see if my companions would appear, I headed out to explore the Borghese Gardens. One of the features within the Borghese Gardens is this Water Clock:
 Across from Borghese is the path down to the Piazza del Popolo.
On my way down to the Piazza del Popolo, I came across Il Genio di Leonardo da Vinci Museo. Because I needed to find a place to cool down, I decided to take a look at what was involved and was pleasantly surprised. I spent a couple very quiet hours in a cook, dark place looking as some of the machines that da Vinci dreamed up that other mechanical engineers created based on his drawings and descriptions.
 Some of da Vinci's notebooks:
A shot of some of his machines. The really cool thing was that some of them were actually hands on so that I could touch them and try some things out.
After I left the museum, I walked around the Piazza del Popolo. Notice the "twin churches" across the way. They aren't actually twins but very similar.

I then decided that I needed to stop for a little gelato on my slow way back to the hotel.
And, since somebody has been asking for pictures of me, here is a shot of me reflected in the glass of this window. I'm not really certain what I'm taking a picture of, but there I am.
I made it back to the Spanish steps and climbed to the top again. As I arrived at the top, I ran into my traveling companion Lisa who was out getting some pictures. We decided to go to this little wine bar at the top of the steps that overlooks the Piazza below and have a glass of wine. While sitting there I looked over at the tower of the church and noticed that the clock is actually a sun dial:

 After our wine, we headed back to the hotel to get Audrey and find some dinner. On the way back, we noticed this doorway on our street:
 Finally, we got Audrey and found a place for dinner. I'm sure dinner was tasty, I probably had pizza or pasta, but I finished with this lemon and raspberry tart.... YUM!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lo-Tiv-Ro Tour Day 6

Today, we finally make it to Rome. Before we leave, however, Audrey meets this gentleman whose workshop was across the street from our B&B in Tivoli. He was a sign maker and was a mute, but very happy to let us come in and take photos of him and his work.
Our hotel in Rome was very near the Spanish Steps. Here is a shot from the top of the steps. The crowds haven't quite started to build yet.
Our first action, once we checked into the hotel, was to catch the Metro and head over to Vatican City and then work our way across Rome hitting some of the big sites. Here is St. Peter's Square:

Changing of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican. I missed seeing the changing of the guard (or even the guard) at Buckingham Palace as I was a sleep on the bus, but I did catch them here.

One of the many drinking fountains throughout Rome. The water was cool and clean and tasted great, especially on a hot day.
 A shot of the Tiber River.
 Castel Sant'Angelo in the distance.
Gelato sign on the street as we wandered across the city.
Piazza Navona:
Another drinking fountain:   
 The Pantheon:
Raphael's Tomb:
 Crowd inside The Pantheon
Where I will be shopping when I decide to really start pursuing my Pope dreams:
Trevi Fountain:
By the time that we made it over to Trevi Fountain, the crowd was crazy and as you can see, the Piazza where the fountain is located really isn't that large of a space. We opted to camp out in a little cafe off one of the side streets and grab some gelato and wine.

We then came across MY church (S. Andrea Delle Fratte) on the way back to the hotel. It turns out that the church was just around the corner from the hotel and became one of our landmarks.
We were all pretty tired by the end of the day and had to get up and around early the next morning to make it back over to the Vatican for our tour of the Vatican Gardens at 8:30 AM.