Friday, June 15, 2012

Voyages To The Vatican

Today we went and visited the priests in Vatican City! We had an appointment for the Vatican Museum at 9:30, so were there by 8:30 to grab a cappuccino and make sure we were on time. Our hotel only does a croissant for breakfast, which is not enough protein for us, so we went on a hunt for something a little more substantial. It seems that Italians don't really do breakfast besides pastries, because every time we've been able to find something, it has been called "American breakfast". So, we searched high and low for something with eggs, and finally found an omelet and yogurt (which turned out to be frozen yogurt, much to my dismay) at a slightly sketchy place near the museum. Then we bypassed the long line (yay!) and within a few minutes were staring up at another of Michaelangelo's masterpieces - the Sistine Chapel. So beautiful. We read that when he was asked to paint it, he responded that he was a sculptor, not a painter, and in the end only did it because he was threatened! Regardless of how it came to be though, it's an amazing place. We sat for a few minutes, craning our necks to look at his interpretation of biblical events including the famous "Creation of Adam" painting, gazing to our right to reflect on his "Final Judgement", and dodging elbows from other visitors.

After the chapel, we walked around the block to St. Peter's Basilica. The line looked long but moved pretty fast, so we we had just enough time to stand in the sun and take in the awesome square. Then we were covering our shoulders again, passing the Swiss Guard, and were inside arguably the most incredible church in the world! This place is sensory overload! You go from incomprehensibly gorgeous place to incomprehensibly gorgeous place, separated only by incredible food! It's enough to exhaust you without all the walking in between!

The church is about two football fields long, excluding the nave, and about one football field high. Approximately huge. We stood where Charlemagne was crowned. We stood before St. Peter's supposed burial spot. And then my shirt slipped and I accidentally exposed myself for a few seconds in front of the alter of the most prestigious Catholic church. Major oops. But my shoulders and knees were covered the whole time! (Very important, as those of you who have visited Italy know).

After marveling at that wonderful place, we grabbed a cab back to the Pantheon neighborhood and grabbed some lunch (more prosciutto and melon for Janece and a salad with tuna, eggs and olives for me). It was so funny, when I asked Janece where the bathrooms were in the restaurant, she said "Take a left at the man in the black beret", completely serious. This led to another laughing fit, thankfully shorter than the one two days ago since our abs and smile muscles in our faces have not yet recovered from that experience. Our waiters were very entertained. Whether they thought we were really funny or really stupid we're not quite sure, but oh well. I'm pretty convinced we're hilarious. Lunch was followed by our favorite granitas from the cafe on the corner of the pantheon, which we enjoyed on the walk back to the hotel (or the first five minutes, let's be honest, those things don't last long!). Once we got home, we discussed how it wouldn't be very smart to take a nap, and within 15 minutes were both snoozing away. When we woke up it was 6:45 and time to eat again! So much eating!

We decided to try a place we had walked by the night before, because it has been totally packed full with Italians. When in Rome, do as the Romans right? Well they were there for a reason! I tried their orange ravioli, and it was so fantastic! Then we kind of just spent the evening strolling around, stopping for a piece of chocolate cake for me and a glass of wine for Janece, went over and sat at the Trevi Fountain...just enjoying Rome!

So we were out and about until around 11 PM, and I for one am ready for bed despite the nap! Tomorrow is another "Around Rome" day, so we're going to let it be a relaxing see what we see and take it easy day I think. Then the next day is a day trip to Naples, with Janece leaving on the 18th :( So I will have one more day in Rome, but then I'm on my way back too. It's still very mixed emotions. Scotland doesn't really feel like home would feel weird to go back there I think, but it also feels weird to think about going back to the US. Actually, I think going back to the US is a stranger concept than going back to Scotland. It just feels like a completely different life; in a way, it was! I'm still SO excited to see family and friends obviously, and I'm sure it will just take a few days and I'll be back to my regular routine. For now, there is a major disconnect.

But, I just looked out the window and saw the pizzeria across the street where locals are sipping glasses of wine, waving their hands expressively as they talk and laugh. I'm in Rome!

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