The Eternal City.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
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Trip End Ongoing


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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Finally some vacation!!! It was about time after close to three months of hard work in Madrid. I have just spent a long sunny weekend (Friday to Tuesday) in the Italian capital with my good friend and travel buddy Alf Kåre. As opposed to the weekend back in February when he visited me in Madrid, we actually got some time for sightseeing now. In fact most of our time was spent walking around this beautiful city taking in all the famous landmarks like; Colosseum, The Roman Forum, Capitol, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and The Vatican (of course including the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Basilica and St Peter's Square). But what is a few days when you are used to having months to "Rome" around??? You definitively have to use your preciously earned vacation time not wasting away hours sleeping. An old but new experience altogether...

There were many highlights, but I think The Vatican Museum including the Sistine Chapel beat the lot. What we didn't expect though were the hordes of tourists. It was a Monday after all. To get into the St Peter's Basilica and the tombs there was easily a two hours queue snaking it's way all around the St Peter's Square. Time is money (or at least it means less time to drink expensive beer on sunny Piazza Navona) when you are on a short city break, so of course the two Norwegain bastards jumped the queue and got inside in less than 60 seconds. Back out again we found out that there was another two hours queue to visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. This queue couldn't be jumped as easily, so we ended up spending a fortune on a guided trip, as it allowed us to skip the queue again. I hadn't even heard about the Vatican Museum (except the Sistine Chapel) before my visit, so were I in for a surprise. What an incredible place (and that's coming from the non-museum freak). Even the guiding was superb and well worth the dough. The only thing that gave it a bitter taste, was that it included a trip to the St Peter's Basilica at the end (through some secret back door). I am sure the Pope spotted us on some surveillance camera while we jumped the queue, and thought Payback time!!!

So, after now having visited the place myself, Rome is in my opinion one of those classic big cities you just have to go see at least once in your lifetime. If I should sum up Rome after our short visit; Incredibly beautiful. Full of stunning architecture, historical buildings and monuments. Very expensive (we managed to find a street side cafe on Via Veneto selling small bottles of Heineken at 8€ per bottle). And finally..., packed with tourists. Easily a place to come visit again and again, but with the somewhat ridiculous price level it may take a few decades before I can afford it (or maybe we could just skip drinking our beer on Via Veneto and Piazza Navona, not exactly known to be the cheapest places in town)...
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