June 24, 2019: Touring Rome

Monday. GT2 Day Sixteen. Rome.

Today is our one full day in Rome, our only day for actually seeing the city. We saw only a few blocks last night, other than our drive to the apartment from the airport, and today we have to see it all. So to start off the day, I got up and walked next door to a bakery that we had found last night and picked up a real Italian breakfast of Nutella filled cornettos (croissants) for everyone. Then we got out pretty early and walked an extremely long way around Vatican City, over the river, down a few blocks to where the “Big Bus” would pick us up to start our day of hop on, hop off tours. Just walking to the bus first thing in the morning proved to be pretty exhausting. We were so hot before we even got started.

So first things first, we rode the bus for a full circuit to get the “lay of the land” so that the girls would see the whole city tour before getting off of the bus to actually do anything. We sat on the top of the bus. I could not sit up front with Dominica and the girls, it was just too hot. I tried, but I could not cool down. The bus was not full so I got a seat midway back on the left and got a nice breeze and was able to take pictures pretty well.

On the second time around on the bus we got off at the Spanish Steps and went to see that and took some pictures there. It was so hot and bright, very hard to do anything. We had heard that it was going to be about 34C in Rome today, but while we were on the steps the local pharmacy sign showed that it was more like 38C or 99F! No wonder we are feeling so hot.

We did the steps. Then we walked towards the Trevi fountain. On the way there we stopped at a little shop and the girls got tukey salad sandwiches. Dominica got whatever sandwich came without onions. I got penne arrabiata, which I have not had in a very long time. Mine was pretty good. No one else was super excited about theirs.

We walked to Trevi, and took pictures again and again the girls did souvenir shopping. It was so hot that I just took pictures and then retreated to the shaded areas to rest.

From the fountain we walked to the Pantheon. Not a long walk, but the heat is really getting to us. The Pantheon is free, but has been taken over by the Catholic church and the guard almost didn’t let Madeline enter to see it because of her outfit. What a pain, especially on days so incredibly hot. And not even to see something Catholic, but just a pre-Christian architectural wonder. Completely inappropriate, but at least they let her in. But disgraceful how they treat what should be a public work. But shows how openly in Rome Catholics have embraced that the Catholic church is just the Cult of Jupiter renamed and rebranded and mostly reverted to its original form, even sharing the same monuments and places of worship and “Pantheon” of deities. It’s an interesting place to see the new Jupiter and the old side by side conflicted, but united.

After the Pantheon we were tired of walking. Back on the bus for a little while to the Colloseum. We got off there and did pictures. We had considered touring it, but Emily rightfully decided it was too hot for that. So just pictures and back onto the bus. Then we rode the bus for a few hours because the girls were all feeling too worn out to get off of the bus and walk back to the apartment. So we did a full tour of the city about five times today on the hop on, hop off bus. Really, the main attraction was that the bus was not so hot and had free wifi on it. So the girls were not listening to the tour, nor watching too much from the bus, but were just using it as a semi-confortable place to be able to be on their phones. A bit disappointing as later it turned out that they had not listened to the tour through even one time in all of that time as we couldn’t discuss things from the tour as they had not heard them.

Once we finally disembarked from the bus we went looking for dinner. The girls are already tired of Italian and wanted Chinese, something more familiar from home. We learned that Madeline really likes Asian fusion, but calls it Chinese (making it pretty challenging to find what she wants.) But Emily has not had Asian fusion and likes Chinese. We tried to find an Asian fusion place, but our location near Vatican City limits the selection a bit. We did find a nice Chinese place called Er Primo that was close to our apartment and the highest rated Chinese restaurant in the area according to Google Maps. So that was an easy choice.

Dinner was good. Madeline got sweet and sour chicken. Emily got a chicken in pineapple sauce dish. Dominica and I both got pineapple and pine nut fried rice. The food was quite good. Our fried rice was nothing like how are rice is fried at home, but very tasty. The girls were shocked that that was all that we ate. But this is one of our standard Chinese meals.

After dinner, Dominica found a crepery near Vatican City so we walked there. The three girls got crepes, but these were not the best that they have had on the trip. Maybe they were the worst. I tried a bite and didn’t like them. But I am not a crepe fan in general. They have to be perfect for me to care.

After crepes Dominica walked us to Vatican City and the girls got to go to their third country of the trip! That was very fast, there is not much to do there other than to walk through, marvel at how it looks, take some pictures, and head home.

Back to the apartment and off to bed. Nearly everything that we have has now been uploaded! The family and friends back home can not just see little snippets on Flickr and Instagram, but can now watch the long form discussions on YouTube. Way more content there, in much higher quality.

Tomorrow we leave Rome in the morning. We are renting our last car of the trip, hopefully a Fiat 500L, and driving all over Italy. First down to Naples and Pompeii where we will be tomorrow.


Vatican City.