We arrived in Rome at just after mid-day. Our son Joe, daughter-in-law, Steph, and 14-month-old grand-daughter Freya had arrived an hour or so before we did. They found the driver of the car I’d hired to take us to the hotel and were waiting for us once we collected our baggage. We checked into the hotel, got settled a bit and then set off to take a walk around the area.
Our hotel was located right across the street from the Vatican museums. We could see the tops of the buildings from our windows and we could look down on the lines each day to get into the museums. We had tickets for the museum later on in the visit.
But right then we just wanted to explore, so we walked along the Vatican wall until we got to St. Peter’s Square. Stopped to gawk at it for a bit. The curving rows of columns topped by statues that sat in front of the colossal church of St. Peter’s is well worth more than one gawk.
After a bit we went on, walking down toward the river. We passed Castel Sant’Angelo, an enormous fortress that sits next to the river, crossed the Tiber and went on into the old part of Rome. We mosied through a number of narrow back streets lined with small shops and restaurants, enjoying it all immensely until a shower blew up. We got pretty wet, but since the temperature was quite hot before it, the drenching wasn’t as unwelcome as it could’ve been.
Still, it was time for supper and we ducked into a small restaurant serving pizza, salads and sandwiches. Had our first pizzas and glasses of wine in Italy, though neither were particularly distinguished. After that we headed back to the hotel for showers and sleep. All in all, it was a good introduction to the city and set the stage for much of the trip in a couple of ways.
It would stay very hot for our entire trip. Rome (and in fact most of Europe) has been suffering through a heat wave. Every day saw highs soar into the upper 90’s and it hit the 100 mark a couple of times. And we walked and walked, taking care to drink plenty of water and make lots of stops to cool off.