May 5

Trains…

First, the Vatican (St Peters) was amazing! Incredible. Also, you can climb up to the top of the dome…  first, you climb to the base of the dome, where you’re super high up on the roof and you can go inside (like a birds eye view of the church). Then, these super narrow stairs get you to the cupola (sp?).

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG
Yes, absolutely, I was too scared to hold my camera out outside of the bars from the very top of the dome.

So our trip to the Vatican: our bus came, no problem. Then our regional train shows up, no problem. The Vatican is the second stop. So first stop, no announcement but as we’re pulling out: a sign that says “San Pietro Basilica” (our stop). So we overshot where we wanted to go. The next stop is super far and the next train coming back the other way was awhile. So our grand plan to get there early-ish and maybe beat the lines… not so much…  It wasn’t a bad line: I can’t remember, an hour or so…  and it’s in line in St Peter’s Square. At any rate: Yay! Happy fun time at the Vatican. And then we stopped for lunch and the place had wifi (which I haven’t had while I’ve been here: you’ll recall the key fiasco…  I found out the day after I got here (a) Italian mail isn’t reliable (as in it might not arrive ever or it might take a long time) and (b) UPS cost 60 euro to Germany (it’s like $15 to mail it USPS) so I emailed to see if it was okay to wait until I got back Tuesday and said that I didn’t have internet but I’d check the next morning for a message. I checked: no message. I figured it’s fine. But now (two days later) at the restaurant, I check and he’d sent a message in the afternoon on Sat (after I’d checked) saying they have people staying in the apt on Friday and so could I get the keys to him Thursday?  AHCK!!!  It’s 3pm Monday. I’m traveling all day Tuesday. Maybe it can get mailed overnight from the US on Wed? Miraculously, a DHL truck drives by. We find a DHL express place near to where we were. 33€ later and the keys are in the mail, (DHL) next day to Germany.

More train drama: this morning, we take a bus to the regional train station for me to get a train to the airport. There’s some discussion whether my metro pass which allegedly covers Rome metro buses, metro, and regional trains is good for the airport (it’s not by the way). My friends believe it probably is …  a train official guy about halfway into the trip checks tickets on the train. The train guy doesn’t speak English and spends much time explaining that I needed a separate ticket to the airport. Which I understood the first three times. I’m trying to find out what I’m supposed to do. It’s okay. I paid the guy 13 € (the ticket to the airport was 8 € so I’m assuming there’s so fine involved…  maybe?). He gives me a receipt. I think I’m good but he’s trying to tell me something about the receipt and the airport. I am so not understanding. Train guy polls people in the car to see if anyone speaks English (they do not) and so he gives up. I’m thinking maybe I need a ticket to exit the train station to the airport? I think maybe I would’ve except I followed the whole hoard of people coming off the train who went out through the “in” gate.

Interestingly just now on my flight to Munich from Rome, I halfway slept and realized I can’t tell if I’m on a plane or a train or a bus or the metro…  all sort of the same sensation…  I’m SO excited to be going home.

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