Tuesday, June 25, 2013


We are home after a fabulous long weekend away enjoying the city of Rome.
We landed last night at 9.30 after an uneventful flight. We were just about to get off when the pilot announced that instead of landing at the South terminal we had in fact landed at the North terminal, this was due to a 'technical situation' . The problem with this was that we landed at a far flung gate, it took twenty minutes for us to walk to the baggage reclaim! I wasn't impressed, that was twenty minutes with the aid of the moving walkways, I have no idea how long it would have been if it was totally on foot!!!
That of course wasn't the end of it, our car was parked in the South long stay car park, which was strangely at the South terminal, so we had to get our bags, clear the totally abandoned customs area and catch a train to the South terminal, where we then had to wait for a shuttle bus to the car park. No exactly a calm end to our holiday!!! Still it could have been worse, in the past we had been expecting to land at Gatwick only to have the flight diverted to Luton, again our car was parked at Gatwick so we had to take the bus down to Gatwick so we could drive back home grrrrr.

Anyway, back to the holiday. The hotel we stayed in was perfect. I was really pleased with my choice. We arrived at The ESH (Executive Style Hotel) at around 8.30pm on Thursday evening we checked into our room on the second floor. Our room was beautifully cool, it was very hot and muggy outside. We unpacked and then went to the restaurant on the top floor. It was a terrace restaurant with softly blowing drapes and lovely food. 

I had previously booked a guide for the following morning to do a tour of the Vatican museums ending with a trip to the Sistine Chapel. It was a huge bonus having a tour guide as she was able to give us the background to lots of the exhibits and we learnt lots of facts about the painters! 

The tour went by in a whirl, I will have to research the photos that I took, because I can't remember too much about who did what. There was so much to see and if I did it over again I think I would choose an element, such as the cherubs or angels and look at those. The sculpture above was so beautiful, the face is beautiful, but I can't remember who the artist is. 

The Vatican museums cover a huge area, the Sistine Chapel opens out onto St Peters Square. the photo above is of the Dome of St Peters, The Cupola.  I had long thought about making the climb to the top of the cupola, but I wasn't sure I would be fit enough to do so. So you know how it is, boiling hot day, no drink spur of the moment decision to just do it!!!

Tom and I both started out and made it to the first level inside the dome.

The going was quite tough, but manageable. Once we reached the first level it was quite scary a huge drop down into the church below. Tom decided that was enough for him and headed back down to the start, I decided to go on. To start with it was OK, the main problem being the lack of hand rails. As I went up the stairs got narrower and the ceiling got lower, the steps were worn and shiny. Luckily there were passing points along the way, because I needed them to stop and rest!

I am looking a bit hot and sweaty in this one!!! (I asked a passing climber to take my picture!!)
The last set of steps were the worst, they narrowed down to the size of wide ladder rungs on a spiral stair case, there was a rope hanging down to give you something to haul yourself up on. I was very glad to finish those last few steps!! Once up there the view was fantastic!

I am so pleased to have made the climb, once at the top my legs felt like jelly and my hip was on fire. 
Another thing off my bucket list!

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