24.05.2015 - 24.05.2015
We set out this morning at about 9.15am. It was overcast. But this is great walking weather. Bill says that it can also be better for photos. When we got down to the ancients ruins we were in the midst of a large number of Tourists. We went into the narrow streets. Andrew was looking for a place which sells great coffee. We walked past the Pantheon again (crowds of tourists) and came to Sant’Eustachio II Café (I think it is called this because it is in the area of a church dedicated to St Eustace). It was only a little shop and was packed- standing room only – and the people kept coming. The baristas were incredible busy – but the Italians have a wonderful way of working fast but without stress. It is very calming. I am going to have to learn from them. Hope would love this – she does not like me to be stressed. We got our coffee and went outside to enjoy it with a croissant. It was very nice. Good coffee. Bill and I then went to the Vatican and Andrew stayed (he has been to the Vatican before – we suspect he wanted to enjoy more coffee). Bill and I walked over the Tibor River (beautiful at this point as it is lined with luxuriant trees) and went on towards the Vatican. We were disappointed that it was closed today for some reason. So we walked back to meet Andrew We walked past St. Peters. A mass was being conducted in St. Peters and broadcast to the square by large screen TVs. The square was filled with people (and because it was drizzling with umbrellas – it was quite a sight). We watched it for a bit. A murmur of approval passed through the crowd when Pope Francis appeared on the screen to read scripture. We can now say we went to Rome and saw the Pope!
We found Andrew as we suspected sitting in a street enjoying a coffee. We joined him. We then decided to visit the Trevi Fountain. On the way we passed a church with advertised and English mass. So went in to observe. It was conducted by three younger African priests. The acoustics were not good so it was difficult to hear. However we were given a sheet with the words. It was a Pentecost mass, so there was much about the Holy Spirit. They were good words and it would be hard to take offense at what was said. I was very moved when at the end we sang “I need thee, oh, I need thee”. We were led by the Africans and their sonorous voices and there was something heartfelt about the singing.
The Trevi Fountain – one of the most famous fountains in the world. It is a most impressive sight. The fountain itself was not operating as it is undergoing repairs and there was scaffolding on the building. But, with the sculptures etc. you could still see something of its grandeur. The thing about Rome is you don’t walk far before you come across another place of interest. We passed a McDonalds which was packed. Andrew went to use the toilets in McDonalds – there was a bigger queue there than for the food! Public toilets are scarce in Rome – this is one criticism I would raise.
After this we decided to go to The Spanish Steps. We passed piazza Mignanellie, which has a column on which stands a statue of Mary and is dedicated to her alleged immaculate conception. We then came to the Spanish Steps which are impressive because of the Trinta dei Monti Church at the top. The church was covered in scaffolding which took away from the sight (and there was advertising on the scaffolding). The steps were crowded with people sitting on them and soaking up the atmosphere. There is a wonderful atmosphere to enjoy in the city of Rome. We walked up the steps to get a view of the city.
We walked on down to Piazza del Popolo (I’m really getting good at these Italian names)! On the way we stopped in for lunch at Taverna del Corso. We were served by a lady in her 50s but with a great sense of humour – I think I enjoyed her serving us as much as I did the food. Every restaurant experience we have had in Rome has been great – because of the attitude of the people working in them!
The Piazza del Popolo is a great place to visit. It contains an Egyptian obelisk as its central point and is surrounded by beautiful buildings. It is a great square and has quite a history.
After this we decided to go back to the apartment. We got back at about 5.00pm and I was quite tired. We did not feel like any dinner so we called it a day.