I know, I know, that’s not a cute kid, BUT I’m so proud of myself for making my first panoramic picture, standing dead center at St Peter’s Square in Vatican City and somehow have NO people in front of me. Sometimes, it’s the little things.
Speaking of little things, on day two in Rome we enjoyed breakfast and another jacuzzi experience for the kids until checkout time, then decided to take a double decker bus tour we saw on our first day. While Bart hung out with the girls, I headed down to reception to scope out the options.
There were two companies that could be booked right there in the hotel: Big Bus or Roma. The stops were identical and the one thing on our list was to “see the Vatican” – not wait for hours in the 90-degree heat insane line to go IN but at least “see” it. Neither stopped there and both stopped close.
The Big Bus (slightly more expensive) touted an audio tour, a “free walking tour”, and had an app that included a map so I chose that one, and we paid our pre-booking rate. We headed out with our two strollers walking to the bus stop, passing 3 Roma buses on the way, and 15 sweaty minutes (and a hill) later arrived at Stop 2, to learn that for Big Bus, this stop was out of commission… And we also realized we’d left Zoe’s backpack at the hotel…
We had just a few hours left before our train back to Florence, no idea where the next stop was (time-wise), and were told it would take 45 minutes on the bus to get to the closest Vatican stop, so we had to buy yet another ticket for the Roma bus right there at the stop (paying what ended up the higher rate for the lesser bus). Oh well.
Zoe was excited for a double-decker experience, and we were too, until we found that there were two options on the bus: HOT (lower level with no A/C) and HOTTER (open air upper level with 93-degree heat). It was so hot that I kept Ella downstairs while poor Bart took Zoe up to have the full experience.
On that bus, while fanning our small child and sweating bullets, I also left poor Zoe’s brand new Colosseum special blue umbrella. Oops. She was gracious about it but sad.
As promised, 45 minutes later we hopped off the bus and 15 minutes of sweaty walking after that were standing in St Peter’s Square with thousands of our closest friends (ha). Oh, and again, Ella was asleep…
After buying yet ANOTHER umbrella from vendors outside the Vatican (a slightly darker shade of blue and another super happy kid), for which Zoe did the negotiation, we headed back in a taxi to our hotel to get Zoe’s backpack and on to the train station. Another 3 hours or so later, and we were back in Sieci and starving.
Luckily we found a great pizzeria called Pizzeria da Santorino in the closest town, Pontassieve, which could have been a hipster joint in many cool sections of LA (or maybe Portland). They had barely opened for the evening and the proprietor was in surf shorts and a t-shirt when we arrived, then a white shirt, bowtie and black pants not 10 minutes later and the entire restaurant filled quickly for dinner. Fate was again on our side.
We returned to our sweltering low-internet home away from home, tired but glad to have had a brief break in the heat and with some lovely memories of Rome. Ciao, Roma!