Saturday, November 12, 2011
More Travel by Margot Justes
The second day in Rome started with a scrumptious breakfast at the Sofitel. Just the selection of coffee was impressive, from an espresso, to cappuccino, a French Press or settle for the American brew. I started with the French Press, got my own pot and steaming hot milk...day was off to great start.
Next came the bread selection, from flaky croissants, to baguettes and everything in between, to puff pastry sweet rolls. I was in heaven. Let's not forget the cheeses, from a triple cream Brie to goat and pecorino selections. Let's just say I was going to have to walk a lot. They even had dates and figs, along with eggs, omelets, sausages, fruit, and the usual gamut of buffet selections. I ended my meal with a cappuccino and a sweet roll with ricotta cheese. I did finish the pot of coffee first...it did not go to waste.
Next on the agenda, was a tour to the Vatican. To save time, I booked the tour with American Express while still at home. The bus arrived promptly and off we were to the Vatican, or so I thought.
Instead we were deposited at the offices of the tour company and waited while they figured out how many buses they would need. Buses and tourists were everywhere, sort of like the United Nations-many languages were heard and it was fun trying to identify them. I even followed a couple who spoke French. I tend to do that whenever I hear the language, besides not much was going on.
About twenty minutes later we were assigned a bus number that was supposed to be for English speaking tourists. We headed toward the bus, the number matched but the language did not-Spanish-read the big sign. We stopped in front of the bus and waited.
A little debate ensued between the tour guides, signs were switched and we boarded the bus, a bit apprehensive we hoped it was the right one. When the guide spoke in English we heaved a sigh of relief; we were on the right bus and finally on the way to the Vatican.
Even with a tour group, there was a delay in getting in. We first had to stop and get our headsets, make sure they all worked; when you have a bus full of people it takes a bit of time. Not to mention there were many tour groups.
Once we were all set, we followed the guide and headed toward the entrance, always making sure her red umbrella held high could be seen. You do not want to be separated from your guide, and believe me, it is easy to do.
The winding double line moved slowly, but no one seemed to mind. The tour guide stated that 25,000 tourists visit the Vatican daily. I can understand why, it is an amazing place and impossible to see in one day, much less 5 hours.
Till next time,
A Hotel in Paris