Saturday, 15 May 2004

Day 10 Saturday

A reasonable night's sleep - at least I wasn't murdered in my bed! Showered and ready for breakfast by 8.30 - a lovely sunny morning. Tom drove me to the station at Cesano (where there is a school for Italian artillery). Only had ten minutes to wait although the train was already at the platform. It only cost €1 for the forty minute journey to Roma S. Pietro. On arrival, I wandered into the nearest old building, the church of St. Maria al Forna. Then I thought I should head for the centre of Rome to a tourist office in order to find a city map. I headed in the wrong direction at first, backtracked and then found myself in St. Peter's Square. Crowds were gathering and there was a fenced-off area where seats had been set out. I later found out that there was a planned beatification of a few notables.
Going on towards the centre, I bought a street map and decided the next thing to do was to secure a bed for the night. With the map I could find the youth hostel so headed back through St. Peter's Square. The youth hostel was the best part of a mile away in a straight line to the north of the city. I thought of 'phoning ahead but instead ploughed on as the weather was good and it was fun discovering a new place. As luck would have it, the YH had vacancies so I booked in, left my kit in the room and went down for a spot of lunch in the restaurant.

After lunch, I walked back down to St. Peter's Square and explored inside the Basilica, the Vatican bookshop and attempted to find the Sistine Chapel. In fact, I was told that it was closed until Monday so that will have to wait for another time.
I then headed off to Castel Sant Angelo but by then it was five o'clock so not worth paying the €5 to go inside. I browsed around the paintings for sale by artists of the S. Angelo bridge and escaped the Senegalese street traders selling fake Vuitton bags, etc.
Back to the YH for dinner. The food there was not very special.

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