Sunday, November 4, 2012

The 15 Hour Day

Our group ditched the trip planned for Tivoli and opted to stay in Rome and cover lots of ground. We started at 7:30 on a driving tour of the city passing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Spanish Steps (that I climbed), the Supreme Court and stopped to tour Castle Sant' Angelo, a former prison of the Vatican but know owned by the country of Italy as a national museum. The view of the city was spectacular from this vantage point.

Next was a guided tour of the Coliseum followed by a visit to the Forum. It started to drizzle and was late afternoon so we had to make a choice; go back to the hotel and come back for our 7:30 dinner or make a cocktail stop if we could find a spot for 33 people. Our guide was able to get the glass enclosed outdoor cafe opened for us at the Hard Rock Cafe and we all rested up and unwound for a bit.

We then went to a fabulous 6-course dinner complete with wine at the top of the Spanish Steps that had an outstanding view of the Vatican.

Friday we were up early once again to be at the beginning of the line at St. Peter's Basilica. The lines at the sites in Rome are unbelievably long with an excess of 30,000 visitors a day. We timed it right and were in quickly.

It is absolutely beautiful inside and out. We were able to attend Mass in a side alcove and receive Communion. It was emotionally touching. I kept thinking of Jesus' words to Simon Peter: "Thou art Peter (which means rock) and upon this rock I will build my church."

And then it was time to leave. We bid farewell to our tour guide and our bus headed to the port of Civitavecchia and our ship.

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