Posted by: mdmusingsie | July 20, 2011

Adventures on the Metro

This morning we headed off to get our train tickets to Barletta before more sightseeing. We went to the Metro (subway) station which was a quick way to get to the train station. Being the tourists we are, we were waylaid by what appeared to be a well meaning man who told us the trains were on strike but he could help us get tickets to Barletta. After following him at a near sprint pace through the station he led us outside to an obscure entrance/exit and pointed to another metro station, then tried to sell us plain Metro tickets for 10 Euro. By this time we were on to his con and called his bluff (claiming we lacked sufficient cash). He was persistent but we resisted and then he wanted money for his time. Some of us may have been born on a weekday, but it wasn’t today. The guidebooks, signage and other travelers warn you to be wary of pick pockets and two of our group of four encountered some. Again, the good gals triumphed and we made it safely to the Stazione Termini to buy our “proper” train tickets.

Next stop on the Metro – the Vatican. There are two stops and we unknowingly chose the one with a hundred and fifty stairs to get there (not exactly sure of the count, but it looked like that many). One of our little group has knee problems and was not going to navigate that well. A bit wary of receiving assistance from strangers at this point, we decided to stop a nun and ask if there was an easier way. She directed us to a city bus which we could ride with our day pass Metro ticket. The bus arrived quickly and after allowing the driver to rest for 10 or so minutes, he tried unsuccessfully to get the bus moving again. We had to laugh – it was certainly turning into a day of adventures. Just as we decided to hoof it another bus arrived and off we went.

The line to the Sistine Chapel, had it been end to end, would have stretched for several miles and did wind its way out into Piazza San Pietro. None of us were inclined to stand in the direct sun for hours, so we took a few pictures and headed back to a place near our hotel for lunch and, of course, gelato.

Well, I got my wish for a little rain as we trotted off under a light shower to the Trevi Fountain after dinner.  The rain wasn’t annoying at all, but the street vendors hawking umbrellas in your face ever 15 feet certainly was.  Selling umbrellas to folks from the Pacific Northwest is akin to selling ice to Eskimos. Despite the weather (felt good to us), it was packed with people throwing their coins and snapping photos. If I ever do return to Rome (which is what’s supposed to happen when you toss the coin) I hope it’s during a cooler time of year.

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