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Roma Day 2!

ITALY | Monday, 4 March 2013 | Views [318] | Comments [1]

Hello again! I should mention that although I have only posted til day 2, we have been in Italy nearly 6 days. It takes me a while to write things, and the jet lag has limited my ability to stay awake. Fortunately where we are now is allowing me more relaxation time, but I’ll get to that! For now, day 2 of Roma!

First, I should mention something about our hotel. The hotel was called Little Queen, and I booked it before we left on Hotels.com. Our driver from the airport could not find it as it was located on a pedestrian only street. It was more like a B&B than a hotel, as we were greeted by a host named Vittorio who gave us espresso and showed us where to eat. Breakfast was included with the stay, though we only went on the last day. Vittorio was very kind, albeit a bit awkward. We were never quite sure about him. What was lovely about the hotel was the location. The door opened onto a gorgeous little street filled with art and book shops, and a local hair salon across. We were walking distance from all the major attractions, and from some delicious food. Despite his awkwardness, Vittorio was very accommodating, he even sent me an email concerned we couldn’t find where the breakfast was served when we didn’t show up.

We slept late on the second morning because of jet lag and wine. Once we were out of the hotel it was already after 9. We wandered down to the local market on Vittorio’s suggestion and meandered through stalls of fresh vegetables, fruit and preserves. Morning in Rome is cool and smells faintly of fresh croissants and gasoline. I am surprised by this, as most big cities weighted by the burden of history tend to smell old, with an occasional waft of sewage. It’s more than likely this has to do with the time of year, and I am glad to have visited Rome when it hasn’t been baked by the sun for months. It also makes me want to re-visit New York, Paris, Bangkok and London in the hopes of erasing memories of foul odours. Bangkok might be wishful thinking though, it’s always hot there.

Our morning wanderings took us down to the river where we could see the beautiful old buildings lining the banks, gulls and magpies dipping in the gusts of wind, and white trees bending over the sidewalk creating an arch for us to walk through. The river wasn’t all beautiful though, the water was high and brown, and the trees lining the banks were filled with plastic bags like Christmas decorations. Men were standing by the river fishing, though I don’t know what they could catch in that water. It started to rain as we crossed the pedestrian bridge to the other side of the river. The bridge was lined with statues and it pointed directly at a huge circular fortress. As soon as the rain started men selling umbrellas came toward us, and I wished I knew how to say “we’re from Vancouver, this is not umbrella rain” in Italian.

I love when the streets of a city are shiny from a light sprinkle of rain, everything has a slight reflection; like the city is sitting on old glass. By now we had arrived at The Vatican. We can see the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica dominating the road ahead, and Vatican Square is dotted with people. Nothing can prepare you for the size of St. Peter’s, it rises into the sky like a holy stone cliff and it is difficult to focus on it all at once. I remember this feeling, when Trevor and I were in Rouen Cathedral in France. We walked in on a Sunday evening after rain, and stepped back in time. The cathedral was filled with people, and a choir was singing hymns as old as the cathedral itself. We were both awestruck, not only by the towering walls and almost frightening archways, but also by the singing. Trevor whispered, now I know why people converted to Christianity. He wasn’t wrong, and in fact the amazing feat of Rouen Cathedral, St. Peter’s Basilica, and so many others was their ability to strike awe and fear into their onlookers. They were very, if not sadly, effective at gathering and converting the masses.

The inside of St. Peter’s is monolithic, ornate, spectacular. The floor was filled with people and yet you felt alone, looking up at cherub paintings and stained glass light. There were symbols and stone at every eye level, and Michelangelo’s La Pieta; a marble statue of Mary holding Jesus done with such skill you will swear you see her breathe. Amazing.

We then walked to the VaticanMuseum, which now houses the Sistine Chapel. The museum connects several Vatican chapels together, so when you enter you walk through hallway after hallway of gilded ceilings and ancient, huge, elaborate tapestries. It was difficult to walk because everyone was looking up. We shuffled our way through the halls and pushed our way into the Sistine Chapel. Again, the room was full of people all looking up, and it was quiet. Anyone who talked was yelled at by the guards. Anyone who took photos was asked to leave. All you could do was look, and that was ok with me. The Sistine Chapel is bigger than I imagined, and so impressive. The ceiling looks like it is alive, or that what’s above you is actually painted marble, not just paint. Together it all makes sense, and that in itself is a feat. The images move with each other, and they all stand for something. There is no filler. If only we could all say we did something this amazing lying down (Michelangelo painted most of the ceiling lying on his back).

After leaving the museum, we stopped for lunch and gelato – our first gelato in Rome. Although the gelato here is delicious, I feel like we might be spoiled in Vancouver, as to me it tastes just as good at home. Creamy, cold and perfect.

Our next stop was Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. We threw our coins into the fountain, meaning we will return to Rome at some point in our lives. The fountain itself is another ornate spectacle that is much bigger than I imagined. We also visited a piazza where a parade of teenage girls holding large banners chanted JUSTIN BEIBER, and two dancers drew crowds of spectators.

We made our way home and had dinner at a somewhat fancy restaurant recommended by Vittorio. I had my first deep fried zucchini flower filled with mozzarella and anchovies ala Eat, Pray, Love. I think I can die happy. Another amazing day in the EternalCity.

 

Ciao!

Tags: gelato, rain, sistine chapel, the vatican, trevi fountain

Comments

1

Amazing, Maegs! Thanks for sharing your experiences as you go. So great!

Give yourself some credit though, you may not be Michelangelo but I'm sure you've done your fair share of amazing things laying down. Heyooooo! xo Tina

  TG Mar 5, 2013 10:41 AM

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