Week Sixty-Five

Jason and I got to set off for two and a half days FULL of Rome sightseeing thanks to Nana who has come to stay with us. While she watched Z&L, we hopped on a plane south in search for warmer weather. The day we left a new blanket of snow had fallen all over Brussels and we were not sad to leave it behind. Rome was “warmer” but it still was a bit chilly for this time of year (like much of the world right now).
We woke up late each morning, enjoyed breakfast and set off with walking shoes, a camera and a backpack. We came home exhausted but educated.

IMG_5756After arriving we decided to go take a look around the ruins in the city center.  Here’s the iconic Colosseum.  We did not go in because the line was rumored to be around 2 hrs even with the Roma Pass.  Jason and I have a rule about traveling passed on by our buddy Mr. Steeves…we don’t wait in lines.

IMG_6228The Roman Forum

IMG_5784A building near the entrance to Palatine Hill.  Fun story…we saw the line to get in to Palatine Hill (~200+ deep?) and said. um. no.  So we walked around the backside looking at other things.  When we found a different entrance to Palatine Hill with no line.  Success.

IMG_5774We were looking at this Church when we found the entrance.

IMG_5871The Pantheon (not the Parthenon.  I couldn’t quit calling it that!) IMG_5876Each Pillar is constructed with one solid piece of granite and the dome is made of unreinforced concrete.  How it structurally existed was a mystery until only recently when it was discovered that the roof goes from extremely thick concrete at the bottom and slowly gets thinner on the way up allowing it to go unsupported.

After visiting a fair amount of old Rome…except Circus Maximus because Jason did not want to walk the distance to see an oval gravel pit…we viewed more (or less) modern Rome.

IMG_6160 IMG_6216 IMG_5818 IMG_5848 IMG_6242Trevi Fountain is impressive day or night.IMG_5955 People watching was also a highlight.
IMG_5842

IMG_5924

IMG_5952

Recently Updated2But.  The people. The people.  The people.  There were a few times when I started feeling my heart race up into my chest and my mind start to fuzz.  Fight or Flight mode started coursing through my veins and I either wanted to punch the next person who stepped on my foot/elbowed my camera or RUN to get out of there.  While in the Sistene Chapel a poor woman had a panic attack and freaked out.  They were able to get to her and take her out.  Before experiencing the madness that is the Vatican THE DAY BEFORE EASTER, I would have raised an eyebrow at someone having a panic attack while staring up at Michangelo’s masterpiece.  Now? I’m surprised I didn’t have one myself.

IMG_6044In keeping with our no lines policy, Jason and I hired a private tour guide of The Vatican from Absolute Italy.  It is pricey but WORTH IT.  We skipped all the lines and walked straight in.  Also, we got the Indiana Jones of guides.  Daniele is an archeologist who studies the Etruscans.  In fact, he was leaving in two weeks to head to a dig site in Tuscany.  He led the two of us through the Vatican with ease and immense knowledge.

IMG_6138Always my favorite Raphael, Stanza della Segnatura, in particular The School of Athens. To see it in person was quite amazing.

IMG_6105The ceiling of the “map room” sort of takes your breath away when you first round the corner.

IMG_6036

IMG_6089Three of the nine Muses.

IMG_6086The “Laocoon and His Sons” sculpture

IMG_6149Pictures are not allowed in the Sistine Chapel.

DSC02574We did not get to go inside Saint Peter’s Basilica because it was closed in preparation for Saturday night and Sunday morning Easter mass.   But we did get to see the square.

DSC02575Indiana Daniele Jones was fantastic.  Side note…LOOK how we are.  I have put on my ugly walking shoes, my trench coat is a hideous mess and I look like I’m about to die.   Jason’s hair looks like he just got up.   I mean…4 hours of being molested by pushing and shoving your way through the Vatican was enough to make anyone look this bad.

Recently Updated3But without Daniele’s help, all of these things would have just been “stuff I saw” in The Vatican instead of things, I learned about.

We spent the rest of our time in Rome enjoying good food and drinks:
Recently Updated1

Observing political and social struggles:
IMG_6179

IMG_6197

Being nerdy with Dan Brown hunts (From Angels and Demons):
DSC02589The Four Rivers fountain that the Cardinal is pulled out of…

IMG_6173The Demon’s Hole

IMG_6169Inside the Santa Maria del Popolo

Commentary:
I’ve noticed a recent trend in major cities that I am “DONE” with!Mar 29, 2013

kitschy – Sentimentality or vulgar, often pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts.  Each major European city we have visited has been overrun by kitsch.  People badgering you to buy stupid little McDonald’s toys, laser pointers, fake knock-off brand items, Beglian waffles (in Italy), men dressed in stupid costumes asking for money if you so much as glance at them, it is ridiculous!

My time on the Spanish steps was ruined by these guys.  I was trying to enjoy the moment but every 15 seconds someone came up to me yelling PREGO! PREGO! and tried to hand me a rose, or a laser pointer, or a squash ball or a bracelet all for sale, only One Euro.  And not just asking, IN YOUR FACE and trying to shove it in your hand.  Jason had to go into protector mode when this man would not take “NO” for an answer.  After the 4th NO from me, he tried to put the rose into my elbow grove and almost got it down my shirt.  I screamed STOP and Jason had to get in his face to get him to back off.
The cities are going to have to do something about this because it is driving tourists away.  The movie-like charm and romance of these cities are gone thanks to these “vendors”.  We will be visiting Florence next week and I heard they are even worse than Rome.  I’m bringing mace.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

A now, a 3 minute video review of Rome.  This is me being cheesy and a travel channel tour guide impersonator so enjoy my corny side.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Week Sixty-Five

  1. tjebran35 says:

    Great tour … so glad you got to go to Rome to celebrate your anniversary! Many happy returns. I saw from Shirley on Facebook that Laura would be keeping the children. That’s wonderful … bet a good time was had by all. Loving you all! GGmother

  2. kdcarver says:

    The cameraman kept laughing at your attempts at Italian… But I’d like to see him in front of the camera.

    Never had a desire to go to Rome. But if I had an Indiana Danielle, I might actually enjoy myself.

  3. Karen says:

    I think you both look amazing – happy, healthy and together! Thank you for sharing your visit with us all. Happy Anniversary.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s