2005 Letter from Rome: Would you believe that there are about seven campgrounds in Rome? We picked one, and it turned out to be one of the nicest weíve ever been in. It took a little bit of research in our camping books and a lot of dumb luck. We didnít plan to stay in Rome too long. We have been there before and there is a lot to see in parts of Italy we have never visited. We stayed one and a half days. Our first half-day was a housekeeping day. We did laundry and went grocery shopping at the supermarket across the boulevard from the campground (reached by walking over a bridge). The next morning we took the campgroundís shuttle bus to the Vatican. The line to get into the Vatican museum at 9:30 a.m. was thousands of people long. You have to go through this line and this museum to visit the Sistine Chapel. We had visited this huge museum and the Chapel before so we simply walked by Ė heading for St. Peterís Basilica. Ron had been there, but Adelle had never seen it. At 10:30 when we got there, we just walked in. At 11:30 when we left, there were literally thousands of people lined up.

Everyone knows that the richly decorated St. Peterís Basilica is one of the largest in the world, but it is more than that. Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor at a spot that an inlaid marble circle identifies. Michelangelo designed the beautiful, huge dome. When we were here in 1995 a friend snapped a beautiful picture of the interior of the Basilica when a stream of sunlight created a visible beam from the top of the dome to the floor. Unfortunately there was no such beam this day. Ron took a picture of St. Peterís feet. People caress his statueís toes for luck and the result of this is that poor St Peterís toes are slowly wearing away. We have a 1955 picture of them at home and weíll try to compare the two pictures.

After lunch, we took a bus to the area where the Roman Forum, The Coliseum, and a lot of other ruins are located. The big event of the day was Adelleís realization that a straw hat would be cooler than the fabric one she was wearing. As we walked along, we saw a young sidewalk salesman take out some straw hats. Ron said letís ask how much. The first one he showed us was more than we wanted to spend so we started to walk on. He clapped a hat on Adelleís head and said "Five Euros" and made a sale. It was a major improvement in life! This hat shades the sun but allows air to circulate. We walked through the ruins and then took a bus home. There was nothing so interesting that we needed to stay another day.

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