Sharing is not always a good thing
Italy is a different kettle of fish. The hotel in Paris was pretty nice, oddly laid out rooms by NA standards but nice. Our first Italian hotel was interesting. Nice. Small rooms. No wifi. It wasn't working we were told, but it would be fixed in the morning. The morning clerk looked surprise when we asked. Wifi? No wifi. Sorry.
Ok. We thought we would find wifi somewhere. Not in Italy. Not Rome anyways. The Internet cafe around the corner from the hotel, the one that closes at 11 pm, closes whenever they feel like closing so we were a little disappointed when we went there after dinner. Carp diem, seize the day, or in this case, the opportunity when it arises. Oh well. If you are reading this before our return you know we did find wifi.
We had a wake up call for our first day in Rome which was not really needed. Starting at 6 am on our street people started assembling their kiosks for the day's market. Clothes, electronics, fruit and veggies, trinkets and more were being offered up for the right price. This was no Moss Street market, this was the livelihood of these people eeking out a living against the backdrop of little shops and a high end bakery. We did not have time to practise the art of bartering because we were off to see the Colosseum.
The Colosseum was packed with tourists like us all wanting to see this piece of history. Check out Rick Steves short on YouTube about the Colosseum as you will get a better idea about it and see it without fighting the crowds. But there is nothing like experiencing the real thing crowds or no crowds.
After the Colosseum we headed to the Vatican. A long line moved quickly and we were in St. Peter's Basilica. All were moved to be in the same place where the Pope resides and holds Mass. After, we walked out of the country back to Italy to have lunch, then back into the Vatican to see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum. While in the Sistine Chapel a priest appeared at the alter and blessed the crowd. He invited people to come to the alter to be blessed by him, an opportunity some of us were able to take. We felt privileged and honoured to be part of that. I won't bore you with how amazing the artwork is or what a beautiful experience this part of the trip was but know that if you make it here I am certain it will be an experience you won't forget.
Time constraints tho forced us to leave there sooner than we would have liked. The day continued a little altered from our itinerary because people had been going flat out since we left and we needed to slow down a little. A few of us have caught colds from one another due to out close proximity but no one is complaining, and it is a testament to the kind of people we have on this trip as students ask each other how they are doing knowing that a few have not been 100%. We are lucky to have such great kids. A few more sights, dinner, and off to bed for our last sleep in Rome.
The bus ride to Assisi was beautiful in parts. The countryside is similar to ours but with different plants and animals. Assisi itself was beautiful. We have been blessed with good weather and in Assisi it was hot. The basilica was stunningly beautiful and our guided tour informative. A great calf workout climbing the hill for lunch along narrow one car lanes lined with shops and eateries. Above Assisi there were patches of snow, yet shorts and t-shirts would almost be appropriate in town.
After Assisi we left for Florence. The hotel has wifi hence the double blog tonight. The hotel is strange. Room 315 is on the first floor, 301 is on the 3rd floor, and to get to the ground floor where one of the rooms is you have to go to the first floor first, then down the zigzag hall then down some stairs. I think someone studying rat cognition designed this place. Old but nice. Some of the rooms are quite large, and a room of 3 boys have a heart shaped tub in their bathroom!
Another Italian 3 course meal and a walkabout and we are off to bed.
Tomorrow we are back to a full on touring day.
Caio for now
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