Wednesday, June 07, 2006

More Rome

Okay, who am I kidding, I have to type more about Rome! I look a shuttle bus from the airport late on Friday night and got to watch the sun set over the hills outside the city. Not only did it look like a renaissance masterpiece, I knew that the red sky was foretelling great weather for Saturday (“red sky at night…”)! The hostel we stayed in was certainly not the Marriott but was a clean and cheap place to crash for a few nights. Nothing more to say about that…I don’t even have any strange roommate stories to tell.

Johnna, Dwight and I set off to the Colluseum relatively early on Saturday to “beat the crowds.” Unfortunately, “the crowds” had thought the same thing and the ticket line was over an hour long. So we headed over to the Forum and Palatine Hill, where the line was much shorter and the crowd was smaller.

While the Forum and Colluseum have the WOW factor, but I continue to be most impressed with Palatine Hill. Situated above the Forum, it is one of the 7 hills of Rome, where the richies of the Republic had their homes, and where Romulus and Remus were supposedly found by the she-wolf. From one side you can look out onto the rest of the city.

From the other side you can see Circus Maximus, where chariot races were held “back in the day.” The kids in this picture had run around the entire 600m track... very smart tour guide!

There are fountains with delicious drinking water all over the city!

After lunch, We headed back to the Colluseum and felt smug that we got to bypass the crowds because the ticket we bought at Palatine Hill was good for the Colluseum too!

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the side streets of the city, throwing coins in the Trevi Fountain (to guarantee that we will visit Rome again some day) and people watching.

The one thing that seemed to be a constant no matter which site we were visiting was that someone was having wedding pictures taken. We saw newly married couples at the Spanish Steps, Forum, Piazza Venezia and at the St. Cecelia church on Sunday. What spectacular settings for wedding photos!

We began Sunday at the Porta Portese open air market. If you think about the biggest antique market you’ve ever seen, then combine it with the biggest “new stuff” flea market you’ve ever been to, and add in a few gypsies stealing items and slipping them into secret pockets in their broom skirts, you’ve got the Porta Portese market. It was sensory overload! I didn’t know whether I should be looking for treasures, guarding my backpack or watching the illegal cigarette trades happening all around.

In the afternoon, we enjoyed people watching at the Piazza di St. Maria in Trastevere. I was all excited when this hot Italian guy came up and sat next to me on the steps of the fountain… until his equally hot boyfriend came up and sat next to him:-/ Then they annoyed me because they were invading my personal space… so I decided it was time to leave and find some gelato!

Our final tourist stop of the day was the Lateran Steps. They are famous both because they were taken from Pontius Pilot’s house and Jesus supposedly walked on them and because it was after Martin Luther’s visit to the stairs that he started to think about breaking with the Catholic Church (go Marty!) I was most impressed with the devotion of the people who still visit the stairs, climb the 28 steps on their knees and pray for indulgences.

There were three missions for Monday—find a “Popener,” see the Sistine Chapel and see St. Peter’s. I remember seeing a Popener when I was in Rome during college, didn’t buy it and have wanted one ever since. What is that, you ask? It’s a wine opener that looks like the pope. When the corkscrew is in the cork and the two handles of the opener are up, it looks like he is praying. How brilliantly tacky! Alas, there were only classy bottle openers to be found this time around. As a side note, a Google search also did not reveal a Popener, making me wonder if I made this whole thing up in my mind and might be sitting on a million dollar idea:-)

In anycase, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s were spectacular! Like the market on Sunday, both the chapel and the basillica are cases of sensory overload. I didn’t know where to look first and was amazed at the solem feeling of both locales.

Pictures are not allowed in the chapel, but I did snap one of “The School of Athens” in one of the Raphel rooms. It’s incredible to come around the corner and just happen upon one of the world’s most well known works of art!

I was most unimpressed with my EasyJet experience to Rome and back, but made it home by midnight regardless with a camera full of pictures and many fun memories.


At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erin, what a wonderful trip!! Thank you for capturing the beautiful sights (and flavors!) or Rome!! Anuradha

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Wow, and Wow!
Alright... I admit that I did get teary eyed when I read all the art that you got to see in Rome.
Honestly I did!!!
This is so much better that the travel channel!!!
I love you
Mom oxoxoxoxo:)

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Thanks ladies!


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