Monday, 9 July 2007

Rome--Day 1

Roman Holiday: Part 1

We left from the apartment at about 5:00am, so that we could make our flight. The trip there was uneventful as any good plane ride should be! I finished up Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It is the first book in a series that Nick just loves. It had some provocative points, but I surely didn't enjoy as much as he did. However, I did enjoy it enough that I will at least read a couple other books in the same series.

We got to our rooms after one crazy cab. Both Andrea and Michael told me that it wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought. I can't imagine bad then. This guy was creating lanes where they didn't exist and taking his half out of the middle. Rome traffic is clearly something that I could not handle driving in!

We had rooms in a fancy hotel that had mirrors everywhere. It was the first hotel room that I had stayed in that had a mirror above the bed and a 3' by 6' mirror on one wall.

We decided to take a trip up to Vatican City since it was so close, just a little over a mile a way, from our hotel. On the walk down, we enjoyed the beauty of the architecture (sorry dear, but it had to be admired. There were also several street vendors selling their wares, several of which had shawls and t-shits available. Just entering the Vatitcan city is a breath-taking event. It is hard to describe the awesome power of seeing so much history and wealth in such a relatively small space. We took pictures of the outside and decided to head over to St Peter's Basilica.

I must say that I did see signs for no tank top or short skirts, but if you'd seen all the people ahead of us that were wearing similar things (I had on a dressy style sleeveless shirt), I figured it was trying to say no bathing suits or something like that. We got to the front of the line and the guard asked me where my shawl or t-shirt was, I just told him I didn't have one. He informed that I couldn't enter the building unless by shoulders were covered. Then the light bulb went off! No wonder there were so many women clamoring around those street vendors carts buying those shawls. Luckily, Andrea was quick thinking and remembered she had a small 6 x 6 white towel that she used to wrap up her telephoto lens. We used my credit card to create a hole in it and Michael tore it in half for me. We tucked up it under my bra and got in. I am hoping that many of the catholics in my life can explain why this rule exist. We were laughing while creating my look, which clearly offended them. We weren't laughing at them, so much, as the look that I was sporting.

The inside of the basilica was beautiful. You can tell it took many years, lots of talent, and even more money to create such an awesome sight. We were hoping to get into the Sistine Chapel, but all the signs are in Italian so they weren't a lot of help to us. We were walking along and saw two lines that said you could either go into the Cupola or the Tomb of the Popes. The Cupola line looked longer and seemed like it could be a word for Chapel. However, we met some friendly people who informed us of what it really was and also gave us tips for getting into the Sistine Chapel. Apparently, none of were dressed correctly to enter the Sistine Chaepl and it had closed 40 minutes before. We put it on the to-do list for the next day. We opted for the elevator instead of the stairs so that we could enjoy the view less painfully. The walls and ceiling of the chapel are done completely with mosaic tile. After taking it all, we had to make the decision whether or not to walk to 320 more steps to the very top. We decided that it couldn't be that bad. Well, let me say, that I at least, thought it would be normal steps. No! They were cramped, twisty, short, and slick. I was doing okay, but with about 50 steps the baby decided that I needed to sit down. Luckily, there was a little alcove so that I could sit down and still allow people to pass me. I was severely out of breath and out of water. One very nice young woman stopped and gave me her water and some gum. After about 10 minutes, I decided that I could finish the walk to the top. It was absolutely worth the view! There is nothing like a 360 degree view of Rome. Andrea captured several great pictures that I will post later for you to look at.

We ended the day with short nap and a wonderful dinner. Dinner in Rome takes about 2 hours and unfortunately my stomach decided to revolt and I had to enjoy my dinner back in the hotel room. Luckily, I was able to sneak out my food. I wasn't sure if they would understand the concept of a doggy bag. One travel tip, don't try to impress the people you're traveling with by trying to order the food in the native language if you really don't know how to speak it. The three of us got a good giggle out of watching one girl do just that! Silly tourists!

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