Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Roman sunset, Vatican in lower right
Just got back from Rome. Had a wonderful, if exhausting time. I’m a little torn on how to describe it – as previous commenters have noted, long, drawn out descriptions of my suffering seem to be the main draw here. And while there was plenty of that earlier in the week (subject of a later post) Rome was incredible.
The only anguish (other than in my feet) was mental, on the second day. We (Amynah, my sister and Andy, her fiancé) were trying to get into the Vatican museums. The lineup was incredibly long. As were approaching the end of it, a shady looking guy with a Russian accent approached us with an offer for a thirty Euro tour that would get us in two hours earlier than everyone else with an accredited guide.
Not wanting to stand around in the late-September heat we agreed, even if we were fairly sure we were being taken for suckers. We trooped to the office of “No Name Tours” (honestly the name) and picked up our radio devices through which we would hear our guide. We were then escorted to our guide, who had bribed a Korean guide to let us in ahead of his group. Our group was then brought in six at a time – which fooled no one, and led to someone behind us telling our guide off.
Ceiling in one wing of Vatican museum, which will have to do in lieu of the Sistine Chapel, which I wasn't allowed to photograph
Our guide also proceeded to get into an aguement inside the museum – while his radio was still broadcasting to his charges – with another guide. He then explained that he and the other guy have a history “but it’s ok, we’re friends, sort of.” Anyway, despite all of this, he was quite knowledgeable, and very entertaining, if not entirely intentionally. If you’re ever in Rome, I highly recommend them. Their office is in the back of a van in the dark alley by the Papal dumpster.