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Day One – Rome

Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2000

NOTE: The current incarnation of Blogography began on April 18th, 2003. Before then, I had two blogs... DaveWorld (later DaveSpot), a hand-coded effort that ran from the mid 1990's to 2000... and DaveBlog which ran from 2000 to 2002. Blogography itself started in 2002, but was deleted then "re-booted" to what you see now. This post was taken from my pre-Blogography days and was added on August 24, 2014.

   
Dave!Rome is one of those places I've wanted to visit for as long as I can remember.

There's only so many times you can look at pictures of The Colosseum, The Roman Forum, The Pantheon, and numerous other world-famous sites before you want to see them in person. A couple of years ago, Rome got a Hard Rock Cafe, and I finally had my excuse. Now, after two years of saving my money, I'm here.

My lodging couldn't be better... The Hotel Intercontinental, right at the top of The Spanish Steps. Usually, I couldn't afford such an amazing property, but I lucked into an invitation to a Hotel Intercontinental "club" that netted me two free nights in an upgraded room... complete with a bottle of champaign and a giant box of chocolates. I arrived before check-in, but the concierge was kind enough to store my luggage so I could bum around the city for a bit.

My first stop? St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City...

...where the line was massive...

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in Rome

Oh well. On my list of things to see in Rome, this was #1 on the list, so I waited in line for nearly two hours...

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in Rome

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in Rome Brass Door

At which point I noticed that some people were bypassing the line and walking right past everybody straight in the front door. Needless to say, I was upset. What makes them so special? Do they work there? Are they paying for an immediate access ticket? What? Turns out there actually isn't a line to get into St. Peter's. The line is to enter the basilica through "The Brass Door." A special entrance that is opened only at rare times. Such as the 2000th year since the birth of Jesus. A part of me wanted to just hop out of line and walk on in. But I had already been waiting so long, I figured "What the heck?" Walking through The Brass Door is supposed to be a lucky blessing, so I stuck it out...

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in Rome Brass Door

The inside is jaw-dropping, as expected...

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in Rome

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in Rome

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City in Rome

After all too brief a visit, it was off to the Colosseum...

The Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum in Rome

And The Forum...

The Roman Forum Ruins

The Roman Forum Ruins

The Roman Forum Ruins

The Roman Forum Ruins

And The Pantheon...

The Pantheon in Rome

Eventually I figured I should go back to the hotel and check-in to my room. So I wound my way to the Spanish Steps and... BLAM!... the streets were blocked off and the sidewalks were overrun. There was no way I could get to my hotel. I couldn't even get close enough to see it...

Rome

At first I thought maybe the Backstreet Boys were in town or something. But it turns out it was His Holiness The Pope. I was tall enough to see over everybody and get a shot... except the crowd surged when he drove by so everything ended up all blurry. Nevertheless, there he was...

Rome

The Pope left The Vatican so he could lay wreath at a statue of Mary at the bottom of The Spanish Steps during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Not that I could get anywhere near the festivities, of course...

Rome

While waiting for the crowd to break up, I grabbed a bite from a local cafe that was, much to my surprise, empty. I had planned on going out again after checking into my hotel, but the 8-hour time change had other plans for me.

Still, not a bad start for my first day in Rome.

   

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