Archive for July, 2010

Honeymoon – Day 11 – Vatican City, Italy

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in Vacation

We got up and grabbed a cab to Catelo San Angelo, just outside Vatican City.  The castle was a beautiful museum to explore.

When we finally made it to the Capela Sistena, we looked up, expecting the famous “finger of God” painting to fill most of the ceiling.  Imagine our surprise when we saw it… just one among many paintings on the ceiling.

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Of course this photo doesn’t exist, even though it’s an iPhone non flash photo, since we weren’t allowed to take photos in the chapel.  But then again, it’s possible I stopped in at a confession booth on the way out. 😉



Cheers
C




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Honeymoon – Day 10 – Ancient Rome, Italy

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in Vacation

We woke refreshed and ready to explore!  We had bought what’s called a “Roma Pass” at the Termini the previous day.  The easiest place to get your Roma Pass is at Tobaci (tobacco) stores.  The Roma Pass gives you 3 days of travel on all public transportation such as rail and bus, as well as free entrance to two museums and discounts at subsequent ones.  The best thing about the Roma Pass however, is that there’s an express line for it at museums.  This can save you a LOT of time at the Colosseum.

We were having trouble figuring out the bus schedules in Italian the day before, so I made the command decision to simply cab it.  It’s way less stress and besides, cabs aren’t that expensive in Rome as they are in the US.  We got a cab ride from our hotel to the Circo Maximo (Circus Maximus) where the chariot races used to be held.  The ride cost us 35 Euros.  Now even though that is still pretty reasonable, I think we got taken a little bit on that ride.  I’ll explain later.  Back to Circo…  This used to be a glorious structure that looked something like this:

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The Circus used to entertain as many as 300,000 raging fans in it’s hey day.  I guess you could call it the Nascar of ancient Rome.   Nonetheless, there isn’t much left these days.  This is about all that remains today.

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An aerial view of Circo Maximo and a ground view.

From Circo we were adjacent to Palatine Hill where emperors such as Augustus had their palaces.  Lots of awesome things to see here…



The 102 degree heat was a major drain on a physical level.  We had some more sights to see.  We had about a mile hike to the Pantheon, followed by a half mile hike to Fontana de Trevi(Trevi Fountain) and lastly another half mile hike to the Spanish Steps.  I wasn’t sure we could make that hike in the searing heat.  I noticed a Taxi zone and headed over to a group of drivers chatting in a group.  I opened with “Buon giorno.  Pala inglese?” and found a driver, Fabrizio, who spoke decent enough English.  We negotiated with him to drive us to our remaining spots, wait for us while we get out and take photos, and then finally drive us back to the hotel.  I have to say, the most comfortable we had been in Rome, was in the cool air conditioning of Fabrizio’s cab!



Cheers
C




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Honeymoon – Day 9 – Traveling to Rome

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in Vacation

We docked in Civitavecchia, Italy this morning.  Jess and I headed to breakfast before debarking to make our way to Rome.  The good news is that I FINALLY found the cheese in the Ham and Cheese Omelet.  See below… 

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OK, OK, I only found the cheese because I put it there myself.    I was never able to actually get a Ham and Cheese Omelet on the ship.  It always turned out to be a Cheese Omelet instead.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed our final ship bound breakfast and then debarked for Rome.

We debarked with Wendy and Dale Rutherford, our new made friends from Scotland.  The four of us made our way to the train station where we caught the train to the Rome Termini.  The Termini is the central train terminal in Rome, kind of like a hub is for an airline.  Now on our way from Rome to Civitavecchia we took a car.  It ended up costing us 150 Euros.  Taking the train saved us a bundle.  Cost 9 Euros.  The train ride was hot and uncomfortable, but we were chatting with Wendy and Dale so time passed quickly.

Once we got to Termini, we were looking for an information station.  There wasn’t any to be found anywhere.  We walked up and down the terminal, but couldn’t find anything.  Finally, we were so hot and muggy, we decided to get something to drink.  There was a McDonalds right outside and across the street.  I proceeded to stand in line to get a Coke and a milk shake.  I had to check the name twice during the 10 minutes I was waiting for two drinks because the McDonalds I know isn’t that slow.  Oh well… 

Finally, Jess and I decided to grab a cab to our hotel, the Cardinal Hotel St. Peter.  Cost 20 Euros.  We booked into our room.  It’s a lovely room.  We only wish we could keep the AC running to cool the room when we’re not there.  See, the room is powered when your room key is inserted into a slot reader inside the room.  When the key isn’t in the slot, the room has no power… but that’s OK… it’s green. 

We spent the rest of the day next to the pool, planning our excursions for the next two days and recharging our batteries.  We decided to do Ancient Rome the next day, followed by Vatican City the day after.



Cheers
C




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Honeymoon – Day 7 – Genoa, Italy

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in Vacation

Ah, beautiful Genoa.  There is so much to see here.  We also found the shopping to be very affordable here.  Again Jess and I headed out on our own.  We saw the castle on the hill, the Castello D’Albertus, and hiked our way up there to go see it.  We found out that its Monday today.  Guess what.  Museums are closed on Monday.  Now why couldn’t we have docked in Toulon on Monday instead?  Anyway, picture time…



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The coast of Portofino.

Good bye Genoa. Next stop Ajaccio, France.



Cheers
C




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