Tuesday, September 9, 2008

When in Rome

Ciao from Rome! We are halfway through our stay here and have already seen a lot of sights. The day we got here we saw the Spanish Steps which is a huge church built high above the streets below that is connected by a series of staircases. At the top of the piazza is a huge Egyptian obelisk. From the bottom of the stairs we continued on to the Fountain of Trevi where I did indeed throw a coin in the water. The fountain is unlike any fountain you have ever seen and it looks more like it should be at Sea World with dolphins swimming in it rather than in the heart of the city because it is so massive.

Yesterday we took the metro to Vatican City and went through St Peter's Basilica which is just so vast it is mind boggling. Unfortunately my camera died just when we got there so I can't post any photos just yet. There are statues all around the perimeter of the square which also has an Egyptian obelisk in the middle. After checking out the church (luckily I did not wear a tank top even though it was 95 degrees or we would have been turned away) we went on to the Vatican Museums. There are so many artifacts there that it could have taken us 10 hours to see each thing adequately but the 30,000 other visitors that we were rubbing arms with the entire time made that somewhat difficult. Indeed, Vatican City has been the MOST crowded place we have gone yet. I think Jon and I were most impressed by the collection of Egyptian things including mummies, sarcophagi and other artifacts uncovered by Catholic tomb raiders. When we got into the Sistine Chapel there were so many people in there that the guards we're getting irritable yelling SHHHHHHHH! They wanted everyone to keep moving so it was difficult to take in all of the detail, but we did see the most famous parts including the image of Michelangelo's skin which is supposed to represent his dissatisfaction that the church censored his work.

Have I mentioned that it is hot in Italy? SO hot, you would not believe and since Jon and I have done more walking than the rest of our lives combined we are definitely "feeling the burn". One day while we were both drenched in sweat I dubbed Jon "Jonny Dew Drop". He loves it.

He has sort of stepped up to be our navigator (right about the same time that I stepped down) and 9 times out of 10 I feel obligated to say that we are "going the wrong way" and I ask "Dude, are you sure its this way?" This has become so common that he has started making up words to his very own song called Sunshine Over the Mountain and the words go like this:

You have no faith in me...
Over the Mountain.

It has been cracking me up. He says by the end of the trip it will be a whole song.

Not to sound like the biggest American asshole ever, but I just can't help but think about my two favorite HBO series' The Sopranos and Rome while being here. I keep thinking about that Sopranos episode where Paulie Walnuts goes to Italy and he gets frustrated because everyone is so rude to him- he keeps trying to give respect to other Italian men by saying "Comandatore!" and they all look at him like he is crazy.

I'm pretty sure, no I am POSITIVE that I saw a music video on Italian MTV yesterday that showed a lot of tourists looking really stupid and by the end of the video all of the tourists were dead. I'm not quite sure what to make of it just yet...

Did I mention that I got some street paintings of Florence before we left? Yes, I love them, they are very unique and now I am on a mission to find more in the other cities we visit. They aren't exactly giving things away in Europe these days. I mean to say that things are not free here- the ones I have seen so far are either falsely claiming to be original, or are too good to be in my price range. Maybe today when we visit the Colosseum and the Pantheon we will see some more options.

Ciao for now!

PS. We are watching the world news and Rome is the hottest city on the map. Hotter than Nairobi!