For the next three days, we will visit some of the sights that we did not see on our last day of our Group tour.
Our hotel (Hotel Pincio) includes a nice breakfast out on a terrace. We have the standard breakfast: Croissant, Rolls, Yogurt, coffee, tea and juice. Our terrace overlooks the rooftops of our neighboring buildings. In the distance I believe we can see the Vatican. Our Hotel which is located in Rome’s City Center, is within walking distance to most of the major sites. It’s been pretty warm in Rome so we wear something light.
First we walk to the Spanish Steps. I was surprised that they have since put these large flower pots on the steps. I sort of preferred the steps without them as it blocked a lot of stairs where people could be sitting. We want to recreate that famous Audrey Hepburn scene in the movie Roman Holiday, so we buy a gelato and take pictures while eating on the steps. I know pretty “dorky.” Next we walk down Via Condotti Street to admire the very expensive shops that line this famous street. Next we visit the Trevi Fountain to throw that “traditional” coin into the fountain to help ensure a return to Rome. It’s amazing how this grand piece of art is tucked away in the middle of the city. We both take turns to toss our coins.
Next we visit Piazza Navona! We take a few pictures and buy some souvenoirs. I see a young artist and admire his scetches. I buy three of them (Trevi Fountain, Vatican, Spanish Steps).
On our way back to the hotel, we decide to stop in a restaurant to have an early dinner. It has been extremely humid these past two days which is something I did not expect and didn’t pack for. Dinner was good. I had a Pizza Margarita (aka “cheese” pizza).
Today is Wednesday and we decide to go to the vatican to watch the pope’s public audience. We wake up early so we can arrive there by 7:30 a.m. We find a seat that is as close as we can get to center stage.
As we sat for nearly 2 1/2 hours, I ask myself. “Why did I lug my sun block lotion thousands of miles across the world only to leave it in my hotel room while I sit here baking in the hot sun?” Just a thought!
St. Peter’s Square is soon becoming full with tourists eager to watch the new pope. Afterall there was quite a bit of worldwide attention as of late regarding his election.
Everyone is pumped. They are well coordinated with same hat colors so they will be visible to our new pope. Groups huddle together practicing their cheers and waving their country’s flag and special banners. Except for the notorious “stadium wave” and “face painting”, the crowd excitement seem to be pretty similar to those you would find at a world cup or superbowl. There is a lot of pride with the people that attend these public audiences. I remembered it to be the same way when I first came in 1993. Just imagine, I’ve now seen two popes in my lifetime.
Pope Benedict finally appears in his little pope mobile. The crowds climb on their chairs to catch a glimpse of him as his pope mobile rounds the square. I must admit, I was caught up in the excitement. I hop up onto my chair and start snapping my camera to try and catch him as he rolled by.
Soon the crowds settle down and they do their usual special greetings. As groups are named, you hear big roars from the audience. When a group form Los Angeles was named (they were also sitting near us, me and my friend let out a huge whooo, whooo! Pope Benedict “waved.” How exciting!
Pope Benedict is a pleasantly soft spoken and articulate man. You almost feel comforted by his voice. At the end, he blessed the people in the audience and our family and friends). That was actually quite moving for me.