When we have each other, we have everything.
Slept until 7 today! Bummed, however, that our rental buddies consumed the milk. Coco Puffs are a little too sweet without milk to go with it. The toast, jam, and juice though held us until lunch.
We naively thought that jumping in the line for the Vatican 45 minutes early would be good enough. Apparently not. We were on a tight schedule needing to check out at 10:30. Fortunately, the "skip the line" guys saved the day again! We negotiated down to 25 euro per person and that got us a voucher for 5.50 euro at their cafe. We only ended up being out 4 euro more because they told us they would make us 18 years old and give us the discounted ticket. We did as the Italians said! Jumped to the front of the line and headed to the Sistine Chapel (the actual chapel...not the same as when we thought we were there and we weren't).
I was amazed at the mass of people walking through this site. It was like herding cattle. The detailed paintings along the corridors surrounding us were a sight to see! The incredible talent was humbling. We made it to the chapel with the help of these cute, older women from the states. They were feisty and moved throughout the crowd with ease. The chapel was incredible! Worth the wait in line if we had the time. Michaelangelo deserves his fame. We saw the famous two pictures of Adam and Eve in the Garden with the serpent and of God reaching to to touch man. There was the painting of the final meal between Jesus and his disciples. Pictures and video were not allowed here as this was considered a sacred place. Most were respectful of that fact. We stood there taking in the exquisitely detailed paintings for quite some time, but my eyes and brain still could not comprehend all the detail I was seeing! Truly speechless!
We booked it back hotel. We were 10 minutes late and surprisingly, the cleaning lady was there when we arrived. We thought for sure we would have time because Italians tend to be more casual on time. Not the case here. Whoops. Grabbed our bags, turned in our keys, and headed to the metro. Quick stop at the farmacia first though ... I had an allergic reaction to something. Pretty sure the sunscreen...will be making an appointment with an allergist when I return.
Hopped the metro to Spagna, where we saw the Scalinata Trinita Dei Monti ( The Spanish Steps). Cool street vendors and I actually wish we spent more time here because it was reminiscent of what I thought Italian streets would look like. Jumped back on the metro and stopped at Barberini. We walked a few short blocks to the Fontana Di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). Unfortunately, they are doing repairs, so the water had been drained and scaffolding was up. It was still a sight to see though. I can only imagine how beautiful it is with water. We passed Fontana Del Tritone on the way back and took more selfies :). A couple even asked me if they could take my picture, but I said "No grazi, gotta take those selfies, ya know?" Oh boy! Last stop on the metro was back to the Termini station.
Once at the Termini station, we found the trains just fine. It was once we got there that we had a bit of confusion figuring out the platform and where to find tickets. We ended up not needing tickets because we had e-tickets, but then the platform situation was funny. People here try to make a living however they can. One woman in a shirt that said "Roma" (written in pen) asked if we needed help. Before we could get two words out, she lead us to a board and asked for 5 euro. I told her "no" and she was pretty insistent. I kept saying "no" and she finally got the hint that I wasn't going to pay her. Then, when we were headed for the train, a man that was standing right next to the door asked to see our ticket and started guiding us to the correct train car. When we arrived, he hopped on the train to show us our seats, but then an actual train employee yelled at him. That is when we knew that he also was going to want money. We skirted him and took our seats. He kept popping into the train and tapping his hand for money so we just ignored him. They are so sneaky!
We arrived in Florence after a beautiful train ride through the countryside. We both took power naps and felt rested upon arrival. Upon first glance, Florence was different than what we had imagined. We pictured it to be more quaint and surrounded by hills. The buildings felt taller and the alleys were very narrow. We checked into Hotel Arriana with no problems. The couple that runs the hotel is very sweet and attentive to details!
Out little room with yellow walls, a tiny sink, and two twins pushed together was perfect for our needs. We cleaned up and decided to head out on the town. We grabbed our map and began walking toward the Galleria Deli' Academia. We ran into an English speaking woman that helped us understand where we were and what we should do for fun. She suggested some short cuts and tips for places to avoid.
We arrived at the galleria thinking it was closed, but we arrived just in time with 50 minutes to spare. There was some amazingly detailed artwork, but the piece that everyone wants to see here is Michaelangelo's David sculpture. Seeing it in pictures is cool, but seeing it in person gives you a whole different appreciation for what he accomplished. He took a slab of marble and sculpted a smooth form of a human. He even detailed the veins running through his arms. It was beautiful. Again, another lucky happenstance to have been able to avoid long lines and go right through!
We were quite hungry so we headed to dinner La Cappana. We enjoyed pizza and relaxation. We are trying really hard to speak the language as best as we can, but we have some interesting moments. When asking for the check, I said "il conto, please." A mix of English and Italian will have to do I suppose! Picked up 3 bottles of wine for 10 euro and will enjoy those over the next few days. Our last stop was gelato at Gelato Caffe. Cute little place! A few older gentleman were watching the World Cup and were pretty chatty. We were able to enjoy the gelato in a little garden area behind the restaurant. Other than having to grab my scoop of gelato to keep it from falling off the cone, we relaxed and appreciated the little patio with a woman running her clothes line from an apartment above us. Headed back to the hotel and after a little Face Time session with the family, it was off to bed!
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Ben, Julie, and Amelia