Thursday, September 11, 2014

I've Lost Carol Again . . .

I am sitting at the exit of the HUGE Vatican Museum. I have the Audio-guide radio around my neck. 
Somehow I am separated from Carol and Robin and Bjarne in the great river of humanity flowing 
through the museum. I head for the exit thinking we will find EACH OTHER. But an hour has passed. The good news is that Robin gave her Drivers License to get the radios for the four of us. She gets her license back when all four are returned. She has to use this exit. Thank goodness for the Audio-guide rule. Thank goodness there is a bench here. And thank goodness I still have water in my hydration "bladder". After 3 1/2 hours flowing through the rooms with the masses, a husband just called the experience the "Torture Tour".


Breakfast together again at 8am. Thunder showers last night and the tables in the court yard are wet.  We walk to the subway station and buy our  tickets to ride to Vatican City and meet City Wonders Tour at 10:30 at the bottom of the stairs across from the museum. It is raining. Hundreds are lining the streets for entrance tickets. At least we should have ours soon and we have an email message to confirm it.

Our huge City Wonders Tour gathers and lines up inside the museum for a security check. We have a white dot on our shirts that allows us to enter without purchasing a ticket That gets us in the first gate. They tell us to get our Audio-guide on the second floor after we go in. Suddenly I panic. I thought we booked a group tour with an Englsh speaking guide! No, but for twice the money we can have the group tour . . . But we have to jump out of the line ASAP and come back tomorrow morning. We decide to stay with whatever it was we paid 44 Euros a piece for. We go through a Security Check just like at the airport. On the second floor we see another ticket gate. City Wonders did not give us a ticket for this gate.  Bjarne shows them his white dot and they are not impressed. We look for the City Wonders person but she is no where. We can't find any white dots either. How did we all miss this?  Bjarne is ready to purchase admission tickets as I try to find a phone number for City Wonders Tours and  ask them if we already paid for admission. The phone number does not work on Bjarne's phone. I volunteer to run downstairs an look for white dots. Downstairs three City Wonders employees spot my white dot and grab me. "We've be looking for you and were about to give up." They hand me 4 tickets that we paid for already. I run upstairs and am treated like a hero. We proceed to the line to pay for rhe Audio-guide. That is when Robin trades her license for 4 radios. They hand us a piece of paper that I assume is a map of the galleries and the number that we must push to hear the narration. It is about 11:30. We make a plan to meet in the garden by the gold globe at 1pm in case we get separated.

I walk into the first Gallery. There are many busts.  I push 1 on the Audio-guide. The narration does not match anything I see. I push 2.  No match. I look at the description of the Gallery and the icons on the map and am confused. The second Gallery has a name that matches an icon on the map that gives me a number to push on the Audio-guide. Helpful narration. I find narration for about  half of the next twenty Galleries. This is frustrating. Sometimes I show my map to the guard and he points to the map icon that has a number. I run into brilliant Carol and she shows me that half the Galleries are not on the map. You have to search each Gallery for a tiny red number. This Galleryis 53. It is NOT on the map.


Yeah, I see Bjarne walking towards the exit. They have been looking for me and are glad to see me. They had a bite to eat. We return our Audio-tours and head around the Vatican for the Basilica. Whew!


Huge line at St Peter's Basilica. So hot but the line does move. I take out my umbrella to shield us from the sun.

Bjarne wants to show Robin the Spanish Steps. We buy Gelato on the way. We get on the subway and get off near the Spanish Steps and climb 135 more steps before walking uphill to look for the restaurant that was recommended to them. The restaurant is closed and will reopen later. Bjarne thinks we should not plan on that so head for the little restaurant with the real food sitting out front ever night. 
We have Pizza and Carol has a tuna pasta salad.




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