This morning we had to get up early as we have to depart for the Vatican at 7:15am. We got up and we were the first to be in the Topdeck Breakfast room again. We had breakfast with another Topdeck Tour group that was doing the Italian experence. Breakfast isn’t fancy pretty basic.
We said our goodbyes to some of the group as that was there last day. Many were catching flights that day. Bec the American was sad because she got along with a lot of people on this trip and she said it was the best group she has been on tour with. We lost about 17 people, some were staying at the hotel with us before others moved on to other hotels.
From our Hotel we caught the metro to the Vatican and had a short walk to meet our tour guide Mela she was Sweedish but had the looks of an Italian local. She was also 7months pregnant. She gave us our ear piece and radio so we could listen to her talk. We walked to the Vatican. Once we got there we had to find the line for entrance there were heaps of sights. However what we saw was nothing in the scheme of the number of things there is to see at the Vatican.
Some of the exhibits we saw that I can put a name to though are the Sistene Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica, Hall Of Tapestries and also a Statute of a Torso that was foundthat was found being used as a leg for a table. There were lots more but I don’t know the names and can not find them. I’m sure Rhain took enough photos to work them out later.
After the Vatican we went and had pizza for lunch with a few people from our group. After lunch we then caught the Metro back to the Colosseum. Tickets were only $12 euro so we lined up for tickets. After getting in we had a quick look around. Took the photos we wanted and left. Everyone was too tired of tours do another one.
After the Colosseum we took the Metro back to our hoteland had a rest before dinner. Dinner was not included tonight so we organised dinner ourselves and went to a restraunt around the corner from the hotel. After dinner some went out bowling but Rhian and I went back to the room. I had the worst nights sleep ever. Woke up freezing then the extra rug I got out made me hot. Was not a fun night.
We checked out of the hotel very early this morning. We had to get the bus loaded early because of road closures due to the UCI World Cycling Championships. The race ran straight past the front of our hotel. I don’t need to say just how much I wanted to hand around the city and watch the racing. If we had a free day here then I would be as happy as a pig in shit.
However was not to be and we had organised a walking tour of the city by a local. We met the local shortly at 9am. The guide showed us around the city and told us the history of some of the buildings. This is Florance. There is nothing of major importance. We were shown the Fake David statue. Florance had a lot of statues. Where ever you looked there was a statue of someone.
After the walking tour we visited a leather shop. We were shown how leather boxes were made and how to tell the difference between real and fake leather. Still don’t think I can pick the difference the likeness is so close only a real expert could pick it. The speaker also told us that many stores mix both real and fake leather products together so as to make it even harder to pick the real products from the fake ones.
The walking tour finished around 10:30am. We had a couple hours to explore on our own and find lunch before the bus trip to Rome. Rhian and I stayed with a group from our tour and we found lunch at a small Pizza shop down an ally way. After lunch everyone else in the group wanted Gelarto. They found a store and got their fix. After this it was time to make the long walking jorney back to where we were supposed to meet the bus. The bus was meant to meet us on the circut for the UCI Team Time Trial. Racing had finished at this time and so the bus was actually allowed on the circut to pick us up. However I didn’t get my request for the bus to do a lap of the circut.
On the way to departing Florance we made a quick photo stop then hit the road to Rome. We arrived in Rome around 6pm. We had enough time to get off the bus, drop our bags into the room and then head out on another walking tour of Rome by our tour leader Kristy.
We did a lot of walking on this tour but we did see (from the outside) a large number of the sights of Rome. Some of these included
Piazza del Popolo
Fontana di Trevi
Gelateria Della Palma – According to our tour guide this is the best Gelarto in Italy. I think it tasted like any other ice cream.
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II
Museo di Palazzo Venezia
After our walking tour we finally caught the subway to where we would finally be having dinner. It was 9:45pm by the time we got to the restraunt and everyone was hungry. Some had to wait an hour and a half for food but it was worth the wait.
After dinner Rhian and I caught the subway back to the hotel for a well earned sleep.
Today was an early start as we had a long drive day on the bus. The alarm went off at 6am. Enough time to get organised packed have breakfast and bags to bus. We made our way from Engleberg to the Italian border. During the bus leg back through the 17km tunnel Kristi though a good bus game was to have some talk about tunnels for the entire 17km. Bec got up and told a story which made no sense but it is safe to say the end of the tunnel could not come quick enough.
Yesterday I almost had my first encounter with the bus toilet but I managed to hold off until we reached the autogrill which was our lunch stop. After our lunch stop our tour guide began telling us the history of Italy and how it came to be. Within half an hour of Florance we made a detour to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We had around 50 minutes here so we used the toilets that cost us $0.50 euro and took the typical photos with the leaning tower.
After the short bus trip from the tower to Florance we checked into the hotel. In Florance this weekend is the UCI World Cycling championships for all discipline . I only wish we were staying tomorrow then I could watch it. Unfortuantly we are leaving around lunch time.
After having a quick shower then we walked to the restraunt for dinner. Being Italian entree was cold meats and bruchetta with red wine. Main was spagetti bolagense with more red wine. Most of the tour group went out to karoke but Rhian and I went back to the room and too bed. Rhain was too tired to do anything.