Saturday, May 16, 2009

Roma Day 1

I am so happy that we have more than one day in Rome and even the two days that we are here isn't anywhere near enough to even begin scratching the surface of what there is to see in Rome but to be honest, I think that two days is maybe all I can take!

We're feeling a little more sleep deprived because a bunch of American, Australian and British yobs arrived back at 02:00 much the worse for wear and proceeded to wake up the entire campsite. Considerate bunch these first world countries! I wonder if they're in Italy to absorb some culture or to propogate the worst portions of their own culture? Aside from the interruption we didn't sleep too badly and we were in the queue outside St. Peters at about 08:45; Andre had said that we should do it first thing because of the queues. When we arrived the queue was already long at about 75m but it moved quite quickly so I wasn't too perturbed but did wonder if we really did need to have arrived so early. When we came out, the queue stretched almost right around St Peters square, quite unbelievable so yes, one does need to get there really early.

Going into St Peters one immediately sees Michaelangelo's Pieta which is quite stunning even from behind the glass that had to be erected to protect it from vandals.

St Peters is absolutely enormous and to make sure that everyone understands just how much bigger it is, the lengths of other cathedrals are etched into the floor. There is a bronze statue of St Peter which pilgrims file past to touch or kiss his feet and due to the sheer number of pilgrims, the foot has been mostly worn away.

Exiting the church I was amused to see these details on the doors and I couldn't work out if they were representing what happened to christian martyrs or what was going to happen to the unrepentant.

Caron made me take the picture of the Swiss guard, now I ask you, what sort of self respecting military man would undergo basics to dress up like this? Caron's guess is ... you guessed it!

Rome is plagued by tourists as well as tour guides who lead packs of the unwitting and really make a plague of themselves. I thought of stealing one of their swizzle sticks and making a run for it.

We wanted to see the sistine chapel but the only way is to go into the Vatican Museum and join to conveyor belt to culture. It's a little like participating in a 10,000 person snake but it means that you view pretty much everything at a shuffle and it is difficult to stop or go backwards and of course that number of people isn't conducive to contemplation.
Nevertheless, we finally arrived at the Sistine Chappel and although it is very impressive and I'm glad I've seen it; I think that Michaelangelos' sculpture is much better than his painting. But then, who am I to say!
During the centipede dance we did however see some pretty awesome pieces and Caravaggio once again rose to the top and I much prefer him to Raphael whose work somehow feels like a still life while Caravaggio somehow breathes life and passion into his paintings.

From the Vatican Museum we headed off to see the Spanish steps which look like, well, steps. Pretty steps but steps nonetheless!

We walked up the one side and down the otherside and elegant as they may be, they're just steps! While we were coming down a group of actor dressed up as one euro coins formed a line on the one landing but I couldn't work out what it was for so I think that it may just be mad italians.

Last stop of the day was the Trevi fountains which are quite beautiful and has a really light party atmosphere about it with people throwing coins over their shoulders, making wishes and having their photographs taken.
I caught Caron contributing to the collection of coins at the bottom of the fountain before we headed for cover, a little sunburnt and tourist sight weary.

Having successfully navigated the subway and train home we had a quiet supper before I tried to upload a couple of days blogs but the internet wasn't co-operating so no joy. I'll have to look out for an internet cafe tomorrow. The party is in full swing at the pub below us and it sounds like the disco is getting going so we are steeling ourselves for a rough night.

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