Friday, October 14, 2011
Sunday, Roaming in Rome
After our serendipitous Saturday evening, we woke Sunday morning to another sunny, beautiful fall day in Rome. We are truly the “Lucky Lunds”!
Our plan for the day: Another market, of course!
The evening before, I had very carefully plotted our bus route, taking exact notes as to closest bus stop, bus numbers, etc. So off we went, a nice early start to the day. We found our bus stop, gee--that was pretty easy! All that on-line research pays off!
We waited. And waited. Hmmmm....no bus. Then we noticed the street was blocked with yellow police tape. Guess our bus wasn’t coming down this street! Well, we’ll just walk--can’t be that far, can it?? It really wasn’t so far, we walked for about 45 minutes, crossed the Tibur River and found the market--it’s hard to miss!!
The Porte Portese Market is held each Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s a huge market; I’d guess around 200+ booths . There’s a very wide variety of goods, everything from soup to nuts! There are many clothing and house ware vendors, a few produce vendors and several booths with snack food--one needs some energy to shop this market! But what I was really interested in were the antique booths. There is one specific area of the market with many vendors selling vintage and antique items. Lots of great furniture, ancient artifacts (legal?) very interesting old books and prints, and many tables of small glass ware and silver. It was great fun to look, and of course I found several treasures just begging to come home with me, but darn those luggage allowances!!
It was VERY crowded in the market, and we’d read many warnings about pick pockets, so we didn’t take out the camera. It was wild, hectic and a fun morning, and we felt we’d seen a slice of life in “real, off the tourist track” Rome!
As we were on the other side of the river, we thought we’d explore the Trastevere area of the city. This is a very old area of Rome, with lots of charm. In fact, we’d originally reserved an apartment in this neighborhood, but there were some complications with the owner, so we had to change to the one in the Colosseum area. After wandering this lovely, charming, quintessential Italian neighborhood, I was sad that we weren’t staying there. Here’s wonderful Trastevere:
We chose one of the many, many cafes, and had a lunch of pizza and some of that great red house wine--seems to be our usual choice these days. It was just O.K., and we had our first and only grumpy waiter! He must have been having a really bad day, but we still enjoyed our meal in that beautiful neighborhood.
After lunch, we slowly made our way back to our apartment, taking another “long way around”!! We dropped off a few grocery purchases, and decided we’d do a quick dry run on the Metro out to the Vatican. We had tour tickets for the next morning, and weren’t sure how long it would take us to get there.
So off we went, to the closest Metro stop. Well--were we in for a shock! We’re so spoiled by the Paris Metro experience--very clean, efficient and civilized. Rome falls a bit short in the Metro department.....
The stations are dark and dirty, it’s confusing and poorly signed. The cars are filled with graffitti. And the worst...the first car we rode smelled just awful--stale urine. Yuck!! There was rough, rude pushing and shoving, we were packed in like sardines--just NOT fun! We survived, but it wasn’t pleasant. They could learn a thing or three from the French!
We made it, relatively unscathed, to our Vatican stop, it was about an hour from our apartment. We thought we might as well have a quick look at St. Peter’s Square as long as were there. Wow--not very many people at all for a Sunday afternoon. We just waltzed right into the square, and on into the Basillica!
And here is where words fail me. I can’t even begin to describe the beauty of this church. It’s over the top elegant, stunning and humbling all at the same time. It is beautifully maintained, I didn’t see a speck of dust anywhere! We spent over an hour in the church itself, enjoying the relatively small crowds. We even caught the end of a Sunday Mass, it was a lovely sound echoing through St. Peters.
It was now early evening, we'd spent over two hours in St. Peter's Square and the church! We were both tired and hungry, and cooking dinner didn't sound at all appealing. We found a nice restaurant near the Vatican, and had (surprise!) pizza and pasta, and the "house red".
Another ride on that less-than-lovely Rome Metro, and we're back in our neighborhood. It had been a long, wonderful day in Rome!
Here’s just a couple of “teasers", many more to come tomorrow:
Those cute Swiss guards:
And an exterior view of St. Peters:
Tomorrow: Our tour of the Vatican Museums, The Sistine Chapel, and 320 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Dome. Now you really don’t think the Lundburys could resist a climb, do you?