The Volcano craze was highlighted by our trip to the train station the next day and our last night in the hostel. We went to the Vatican in the morning to see the Sistine Chapel – again weirdly there was absolutely no wait. My response was pretty much the same as I’ve heard from everyone else- the trek through all the Vatican museums is tedious for the non- art lover, but worth it for the Chapel. Again, Dan Brown came in handy, as I could actually picture the Cardinals in Conclave electing the next Pope in addition to admire the incredible feat of Michelangelo, which was kindly described for me through the headset I paid and extra 7 euro for.

Miles of Vatican Museums led to the Sistine Chapel, which you aren't permited to photograph

            It was after the Sistine Chapel that we headed to the train station. We wanted to get tickets to Paris, but we had a feeling that was a bit lofty of an aspiration. Nonetheless, we got in line with multiple backup plans to see where we could in France. We met the coolest people in line. It was one of those situations where you just have to accept the inevitable- you are stuck and it doesn’t do any good to be angry because there is no one to blame- you just have to make the best of it. I could write probably three blogs about standing in line alone, but I’ll humor us both. The highlights included the band of French men who gave the young nephew a massive wad of bills and bribed the people in line for him to cut, the multiple people we saw scalping train tickets, and the girls behind us who were doing everything in their power to get back to Galway, Ireland, because they had finals in just a few days. It was a zoo, but a very cool experience. When it was our turn, we were told yes, we could go to Paris- the following week. We made reservations to Nice, in the French Riviera.

            But the Roman adventures were not over yet. We still had to go to a McDonald’s in Italy, so we made a stop for a meal at a Roman McD’s. While sitting in a booth in the back of the fine dining facility, two teenage boys came up and starting yelling at me in Italian while shoving postcards in my face and slowly pulling my wallet and camera from the edge of the table. Thankfully, I grabbed it back before he did, but it was enough of a run in with danger that I was ok with splurging a bit and eating our last minute in a slightly more upscale place, which, according to Greg the tour guide, if you remember him, recommended. According to Greg, this place had the best pasta in Rome, which was ironic because it was sort of like a generic brand of Hard Rock- we were serenaded by Bruce Springsteen and Madonna while we feasted on pasta.

            In addition to the pasta, our last day in Rome was filled with catching up on all the bits that we still wanted to do- a walk through Hadrian’s Forum, a walk through the Pantheon, a cappuccino at the best cappuccino place in Rome (it was good, like really really good). And a bit of souvenir shopping, of course, wrapped up the Roman holidays. It was arrivederci to Italia and bonjour to France!

Arrivederci Roman ruins!