Here’s part 2/3.
We woke up the next day after the overnight rain storm and welcomed the sunshine with open arms! The forecast said that it would be a morning of showers before another storm right through the evening and night. With the sun still shining we headed out with our hopes high.
^ messing around at the bus stop, taking pics of the trees reflected in the puddles… =)
Just as we were getting off the bus, in Vatican City, the rain came pounding down. We ran straight into the first cafe to get breakfast – Novo Caffe.
As soon as we sat down I knew we’d made a mistake. The menu, translated into six languages, totally screamed tourist trap. The prices were also pretty high but as we’d already sat down and got comfortable, and crucially, it was dry inside, we decided not to leave.
We ordered the house special breakfast to share. In fairness it doesn’t look too bad, it was a bit rubbish, though. All the ingredients tasted quite processed and plastic. The blood orange juice was probably the best part of the meal, kindly pretend that I didn’t forget to snap a pic of it below!
As the rain eased off, we made our way over to St Peter’s Basilica…
It is HUGE. We’re talking 46 meters in height, kinda huge. And that dome, that’s 136 meters high, and 2 meters in diameter. Colossal.
Also, those clouds look ready to burst open with monsoon rains!
^Mr Man’s iPhone pano.
The storm and winds last night seem to have knocked over all the chairs.
Check out the ceilings at the entrance. So elaborate.
Such high ceilings.
^Just wow, I wish I actually knew something about photography so I could do it justice.
When we eventually stepped out and realised it was raining, hard, we decided to climb the dome later instead.
We headed round the corner to the Vatican museum.I can’t tell you enough to book in advance. The queue really and truly is monstrous. Luckily we had made a booking online the night before and strolled straight past the line, winding all the way round the block, to the entrance. Also, we decided to pick up a pair of audio guides and a map – enhanced the experience so much. The place is huge, you can spend the entire day there just exploring and learning about all the various artefacts. I won’t bore you with the details here and now, though.
We kinda cruised through, though, spending longer in a couple of areas of interest, because it was really, really busy! And uh, that kinda ruined it.
Ancient Egyptian area (Roman’s conquered Egypt at one point):
^ see what I mean about it being busy!
^ pretty busy. Looks like people had the same idea as us, to escape the rain!
Sphere within a sphere, symbolising how fragile and complex (all the cogs) the world is.
Aaaaaall the art:
And no shortage of jaw-dropping ceilings:
This corridor, in particular, the gallery of maps, was very cool – Venice and Italy below:
Copies of old scriptures and books.
And finally, the famous Sistine chapel, Michelangelo’s masterpiece, depicting various biblical stories. You’re not really supposed to take pics here but uh, Mr Man managed to take this one on his phone before realising he wasn’t supposed to. In fairness, a fair few other people were guilty of doing so too.
Also how cool is the exit staircase…?
From one staircase to the next, we headed back to St Peter’s Basilica to climb to the top of the dome. There are two options, take the lift then climb 330 steps (slightly more expensive, 7Euros) or do the whole thing, something like 550 steps and save a couple of bob, at 5Euros. We opted for the latter, hoping that we’d build an appetite for lunch / just wanted to accomplish something in life, you know?!
A journey of 550 stairs, begins with a single step. (Too cheesy?)
First stop, the interior balcony, it’s even more magnificent up close. It was designed by Michelangelo, but due to his death, he was unable to see it through.
And so, so big, we’re talking 40+ in diameter.
^ those are pews, so high up that they are almost unrecognisable.
^ the detail.
And then, the second set of steps. Boy oh boy, that is where things get pretty tight, winding, claustrophobic, narrow stairs went on, and on, and on. The ceilings got lower and the walls curved inwards. At one point there wasn’t even a hand railing, just a rope on a spiral staircase. I had to have a break and have a
KitKat puff of my inhaler. Must be even worse in the summer. I was way too busy praying that with each twist the end would be in sight to remember to take any pics on the way up. However, eventually that ordeal came to an end and it was so worth it (thankfully, the rain had also stopped!):
I mean, you’d have never had known that only a few hours ago it was basically monsoon season. Breathtaking. Also, mountains, so picturesque.
Mr Man’s iPhone pano (he got a bit precious about his phone and needed some coercion to stick it out through the grills to take this pic) and even after all that someone’s fingers are in the shot…:
And, the not so sunny side:
After drinking in the fresh air, we prepped for the descent.
Made a quick stop at the midway level for a breather after the stifling stairs.
And with that, we headed back to Trastevere in Rome, in search of some lunch.
I absolutely adore the colourful, pastel buildings with the cute window shutters.
We headed to I Suppli, I’d read online that this was the place to be for pizza, and despite the glaring neon green sign, it did not disappoint.
It’s basically fast food, Italian style. Pick your pizza of choice, say when, and they’ll slice from a huge slab, weigh and heat it up for you. Either grab and go, or, hover around the few small tables (no chairs) and once you’re done, off you potter
We ordered a pea, mushroom and mozzarella arancini to share.
Twas lovely and crisp with good flavour, interesting choice of long grain rice rather than risotto. I only wish they’d actually heated it!
And four different types of pizza to feast on:
Crisp, thin based pizza. No chewy crust. (Seriously, someone get me to Naples, because that’s where the beautifully charred, slightly chewy, slow-risen, crusts reside. Or so I hear.) The toppings were amazing. Surprisingly the marinara topped the list with amazing flavour: simple tomato sauce, done well. The potato was also yum, nice bit of carb on carb action. Might need to try and recreate this at some point.
In any case, it was delicious! Thoroughly recommend!
Just as we stepped out, I felt a drop of rain. It got very heavy, very quickly:
Seeing a cute little gelato parlour, gelateria del viale, we headed in.
I wanted to try them ALL. It took me forever to decide on flavours, Mr Man, however narrowed down on his selections: pistachio (personally, never been a fan, but he loves it) and hazelnut (dreamy).
About four years later, I decided I’d opt for the cherry swirl (true love) and dark chocolate + hazelnut (tasted even better than it sounds).
With the rain showing no sign of ceasing anytime soon, in fact, getting heavier with thunder and lightening, we headed back to the flat to dry off and, obvs, rather predictably, Mr Man decided it was an opportune time for a nap.
Later that night we popped out to find some dinner, basically only walking a few metres from our doorsteps, to avoid being soaked to the skin again, to a little family owned place called, Al Biondo Tevere. We were the only ones there for the first half of our meal.
Feeling a little ill, and in need of some vitamins, I ordered an orange juice, Mr Man followed with the fizzier equivalent.
First up, starters, the bruschetta was perfect. Peppery olive oil drizzled over juicy, fresh tomatoes on toasted bread. So simple, so good.
The fried pumpkin flower was so so. The batter was decent but I think they needed to have changed the oil it was fried in.
Mr Man’s tomato pasta was perfect, a great, balanced, tomato sauce. So good.
The mushroom pasta was also pretty damn good, however, I did expect a cream based sauce and was left slightly disappointed.
For dessert, Mr Man picked a cherry tart which he thoroughly enjoyed. I went for the affogato which was basically just magical. Still dreaming of this bad boy. Vanilla and chocolate ice cream, topped with meringue, with an espresso poured over the top.
The perfect end to my meal, and my day.