DAY 10 - CONTIKI TOUR 3 Rome
21.01.2007 - 22.01.2007
This morning after breakfast we caught the subway system into the city of Rome which was a very interesting experience. Imagine 50 people waiting on the platform and then the train arrives, completely full and 50 people squeeze in so that everyone on the train ends up being squished up against the windows and we then travel several stops before exiting the train. Trains in Rome are always full. Plus you have the extra worry about security as we were told pick pocketing on the trains was extremely common - we can understand that cause you are all so close together.
When we finally arrived at the Colosseum we did a walking tour of the Roman Ruins with a local guide. Along the tour we saw such wonders as the Arch of Constantine, the Roman Forum and the Monument to Emanuele as well as hearing some of the history about the Collosseum.
After we finished the tour, Josh took us to the Vatican City. As we didn't have a lot of time we headed directly for the Sistine Chapel and were amazed by the artwork we saw on the way to the Chapel. The Chapel itself is absolutely amazing. It is hard to believe the logistics of actually painting such a masterpiece which contains approximately 300 different scenes and figures. It also contains such notable works as the creation, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the Great Flood. It also includes the painting, The Last Judgment. The work is massive and spans the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel. The Last Judgment is a depiction of the second coming of Christ and the apocalypse. The souls of humanity rise and descend to their fates as judged by Christ and his saintly entourage. It is a breath taking piece of artwork.
After the Sistine Chapel we were able to go through the group entrance into St Peter's Basilica which is the Pope's principal church. There are over 100 tombs located within St. Peter's Basilica and some of these include 91 popes. It has the capacity to hold 60,000 people and is regularly used for services.
After the Vatican City we headed back into Rome to have some lunch before a group of us went to see the Colosseum. We both really wanted to see the inside and although we were short of time we are so glad that we did. The Colosseum was originally capable of seating 45,000-50,000 spectators, it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. Although heavily damaged over the years, there are alot of remaining structures that help to depict what the Colosseum would have been like in Imperial times. It was definately a highlight of our time in Rome.
After the Colosseum we went to see the Capuchin Monks which is a collection of over 4,000 bones of Monks that have been creatively displayed into different displays. Even the light fixtures have been created out of the bones of the Monks. It was very interesting although a little creepy.
We decided that we would walk to the Spanish Steps and after seeing the Steps, we walked down Via Codotti and Via del Corso two of the main streets in Rome before heading back to the Colosseum where the remainder of the group was waiting to go back to the hotel.
Arriving at the hotel we had a quick dinner before collapsing into bed. It was a very long, busy day but we saw so much and are so glad that we had the opportunity and experience. Rome was definately a highlight of our trip.