We arrived in Rome at around 2pm, jumped off the bus and went straight into the Vatican and did a pretty cool guided tour. First point of interest was this cool court yard with a big pine cone and a big sphere.
We then went inside to the more museum-ey area where there were a whole lot of cool statues, tablets, and other things on display.
There was also this cool picture of Venice.
We went into the Sistine Chapel and saw the famous fresco by Michaelangelo which tells the story of creation on the roof, the story of Moses on one wall, and the story of Jesus on the other side. No pictures were allowed to be taken, but there were still people taking pictures which really annoyed me since the chapel really did have a holy feel to it, and also it was a little dark so the pictures would definitely not come out very well.
We then went into St Peter's Basilica and that was pretty amazing. Here's a decent picture I took, I particularly like the sunlight effect streaming in.
And finally of course is the famous St Peter's Square which did not disappoint, with the Swiss Guard standing at one of the entrances.
We then walked back to Rome and did a whirlwind walking tour of Rome. We saw the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the place that Circus Maximus was, and of course the amazing Colosseum.
Here's the Pantheon:
And here's Trevi Fountain where you throw two coins over your right shoulder and make two wishes, one of them has to be that you wish you will come back to Rome.
We didn't go in the Colosseum that night as it was a bit late so we went first thing the next morning. For a special treat we were taken to Michaelangelo's Keyhole which has a unique view of St Peter's Basilica through an actual keyhole in a door. I couldn't get a good pic of it, sorry! Check on google for some though.
We then went to the Contiki hostel / camp site and had a relaxing evening, most people were too tired to do anything so it was a pretty early night. The next day we were up early as usual and caught the train to the Colosseum. The line up to buy tickets was absolutely ridiculous, an estimated 4-5 hours but luckily we had inside information that you can buy a ticket at the Forum that gets you into both the Forum and the Colosseum thereby skipping the line completely. The Forum was interesting but there isn't much left of it to have a good idea of what it once looked like.
Going inside the Colosseum is definitely worth it, it's even worth a 4 hour line up but thank goodness I didn't have to do that. It's easy to imagine a crowd of 60,000 inside with gladiators and lions and bears down below doing epic battle.
It took us until lunch inside the Colosseum so we walked up the road for a while until we found a restaurant and had some amazing pasta. There were still some touristy things to do in Rome, but the gang of people I was with didn't feel like doing anything which was fair enough as it was a super hot day and we were all tired anyway, so we just caught the train back and I spent the afternoon in the pool drinking beers and eating amazing watermelon.
That night we all bought I Love Roma t-shirts and had a huge I Love Roma party where everyone writes messages or draws pictures on each other's shirts. The idea is to have the shirt as memorabilia. There was another Contiki tour staying the night too so it was pretty cool seeing about 90 people wearing the same shirt with crazy things drawn on them.
The next day it was on to Pompei!