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Old 05-24-2012, 03:04 PM   #691
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Wow if that's where your welcome dinner is it's gorgeous! You guys really lucked out with the weather, hope it stays that nice for the rest of your trip!
Technically, it wasn't the welcome dinner, just the welcome reception, toast, and the ceremony of the pins. Dinner was downstairs, excellent, with plenty of coke light (and wine). We had a wonderful time visiting and then a very generous man treated everyone to gelato.

The weather has been gorgeous, sunny all day today. As for tomorrow, the card in our room said the high tomorrow will be 22c/55f. While I'm pulling for the latter, I will be very happy with the former.

We all received wdwinfo/disbaords/Disunplugged/Dreams Unlimited travel canvas tote bags with the USB logo superimposed on Italy. I'll post a photo if I get permission. I dont want to create an international copyright incident.

Tomorrow starts early, so arrivederci for now.
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:12 PM   #692
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Nice!!! I use my London/Paris canvas bag all the time and get so many compliments on it. I love it!!!

Gorgeous view!!

Laurie
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:22 AM   #693
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The weather has been gorgeous, sunny all day today.
I'm very happy for you. Weather in Rome has been awful in the last month, but if seems that the summer arrived two days ago.
Rome in Spring and early Summer is wonderful, really the best time of the year to visit, I'm sure you'll enjoy your stay.
Benvenuti a Roma!
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:26 AM   #694
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Day 2

It is 12:16 right now. We are on the bus to lunch (pizza) having visited the forum and the coliseum. Both were well, overwhelming. Our local guide, Cristina, is not just good and knowlegeable, but entertaining. Marco and Heidi are taking very good care of us.

The forum

The coliseum.

Pardon the vigenette on the last photo, it is sunny here and I can't see the iPad screen. . I also turned off spell check, as it is was "correcting" the spelling of all the Italian words.

ETA: here are a few more photos from the forum and coliseum:

The Roman Forum








Our first view of the Coliseum (other than the ride in from the airport):

(We posed for photos near here).

The upper level of of the Coliseum


The exposed underground level (from the cheap seats)


Panorama of the above from a different angle


The line to get in the Coliseum. (We didn't have to wait in it)
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:21 PM   #695
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After leaving the Coliseum, we took our bus to

where we had, so we were told, authentic Italian pizza (I wouldn't have known; authentic or not, I'm a Chicago style pizza devotee) which was, for thin crust pizza very good. We were each alloted 2 cans of soda (coke) (remember that free refills is an American concept, as Marco reminded us ). I had my first true Italian expresso of the trip, it perked me up for about the next two hours. Honestly, and this may get me deported from the country, I don't see any quality difference between this and Starbucks.

After pizza, we walked around Rome, hitting the Spanish Steps,
, had a lot of fun at the Trevi Fountain, with our guides making sure to get good photos (remember that, for me, this can be quite a challenge) of everyone.

We continued walking to the Pantheon and the Piazza Novona. I'll put up photos of these later, my prior ones (from Wednesday) are here: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=671

ETA: The Pantheon, for a dome with a large hole in the roof, was surprisingly dark. Here is the best of the photos I made of it:


And another photo of the Four Rivers Fountain from the Piazza Navona.


Marco and Heidi are working very hard, though you have to watch them closely to see the work they are putting into making our trip enjoyable. They both always seem happy and always smile.

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the Vatican. We are told there may be complications. . .
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:51 AM   #696
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Thank you

Please keep the pictures coming, I hope everyone is having a great time!
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:46 AM   #697
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Mercifully, there are places to sit while the rest of the group is shopping next to St. Peter's square.

There is a special service being held in St. Peter's Square (rumor is that the Pope may make an appearance and a blessing). That complicates our schedule for the afternoon but it is kind of exciting for a commoner to get see the Pope so we don't mind too much. It does mean we need to make alternate arrangements for visiting the Basilica.

We arrived at the Vatican museum about 8, there was a line, but no where near as long as the line to enter the museum as when we left. We spent roughly 20 to 25 minutes in the Sistene Chapel, with the guards shouting "no photos, no videos" (yes, in English) about every 2 minutes.

Pete and Kevin has described the experience of having the tour guide explain about the Sistene Chapel ceiling using a poster. This is Cristina explaining the ceiling in front of the posters.


ETA: I took far more photos inside the Vatican Museum than I can post. I'm adding photos admitting that these are not of the highlights of the museum, just the more visually appealing ones (in my view). This is a ceiling in the hall of statues.

I obviously enjoyed the ceiling in the Gallery of Maps ("galleria delle carte geografiche") a long hallway lined with historical maps of the Italian peninsula.



I guess I liked the ceilings in the museum more than the relics.

Something is about to happen so i had better pay attention now. I am acquiring the andiamo title from Kevin with taking all my photos.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:13 AM   #698
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Just saw the Pope.

He is sitting under the canopy in the center.
If you look closely, you can see the pope mobile driving up to the left of the dais.

The moment the Pope appeared the Internet speed on my iPad dropped to below dialup speeds.
We have finished lunch at a trattoria which had excellant vegetables and ravioli.

Most of us are on the way back to St. Peters. Some are going shopping. I will let you guess who.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:56 AM   #699
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After lunch, about 10 of us decided to wait in the TSM standby line, sorry, the line to enter St. Peter's Basilica. Those who "abandoned" us missed an experience. Marco and Heidi made the most of the wait, engaging all of us in conversation, taking photos, and keeping us busy.

Understand that there is no official cue until shortly before the metal detectors. The line wraps around the perimeter of the square (and then some). The real fun came as we got close to where the official line began. That, apparently, is where people who do not want to wait in line for an hour or more try to cut (the wait form this point is only a few minutes, even better than a fast pass to Soarin or TSM). Our local guide, Cristina, who can only be described as petite (in physical stature) but fierce otherwise, made sure no one cut in front of "her" group. The moment someone tried, she "firmly" told them where the line started. We had more fun watching her toss line jumpers. Vindication for all those times at WDW . . .

Our group wouldn't normally have had to wait in such a long line, except for the religious service that closed the basilica all morning. So, while it still isn't fun to stand in line, our guides made the most of it, in very different ways.

The Basilica is breath taking. Cristina led us around the sections, tombs, waxed pope bodies, and educated us on each. The lighting in the basilica (spotlights and clear windows) makes getting a good photo quite difficult. These two, taken from the back, don't really do it justice, but were the best I could do with the iPad. I hope you'll get the idea.




ETA: Additional photo of the Papal Altar and Baldacchino inside of St. Peter's This is a little dark because I didn't want to wash out the light from the alabaster window over the chair of St. Peter.

This photo is looking straight up at one of the domes (but not "the" dome).


Dinner tonight is on our own. I wasn't sure I would like having OYO time but ABD plans it well, so I have been looking forward to it.

We leave tomorrow for Orvieto, then to our Tuscan village.
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Old 05-26-2012, 01:01 PM   #700
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Just saw the Pope.


Is there nothing ABD can't arrange?
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Old 05-26-2012, 01:03 PM   #701
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Just saw the Pope.


Is there nothing ABD can't arrange?
How about seeing his boss?
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Old 05-26-2012, 01:44 PM   #702
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How about seeing his boss?
We go to the Alps, on our own. That's close enough.
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Old 05-26-2012, 01:47 PM   #703
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Jack, Karen said she got the feel the Pope's marble.
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Old 05-26-2012, 01:51 PM   #704
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Jack, Karen said she got the feel the Pope's marble.
I couldn't find the eggs
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Old 05-26-2012, 01:58 PM   #705
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i couldn't find the eggs
lol!!
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