31 March 2011

Take Me On! - Rome [Day Four]

The Vatican Museum is free on the last Sunday of every month. I really wanted to go, so the fact that I saved myself €15 - stoked! The only thing was that hundreds of other people have exactly the same idea, meaning huge lines. Entry closed just after midday, so the only way to make sure you got in was to go EARLY! The universe was determined to make me work for that €15; day light savings was beginning Saturday evening. Meaning I lost a whole hour of sleep! The museum opened at 9am, so I decided to meet Maja at 8am at the metro station nearest the entrance. Random story - I was waiting in the metro station along when an Asian girl walks in and sits down. She gets her phone out and starts playing music loudly. Take on Me by A-ha. Then Karma Chameleon by Culture Club. All of a sudden she just starts signing... There is only the two of us down in the metro station, and I'm starting to think there is a hidden camera somewhere...

Anyway, we got to the Vatican to find an enormous line snaking down around the outer Vatican walls. 100m+ long! But it did move relatively quickly, and we were inside before 10am. Often when I pay for a museum I think - this better be worth it! But getting in for free meant no expectations. In saying that, I would have happily paid €15; it is really amazing. I am not a huge fan of the paintings, but the sculpture is out of this world. But if Florence is the capital of penis, Rome is the exact opposite. In fact they have all been either cut off, or covered up by leaves. My friend Rach tells me there is a whole room of penis' lying deep within the Vatican somewhere. I really hope that is true! As for the decoration of the rooms; truely spectacular. Every surface is a canvas, especially the roof. I took literally hundreds of photos, these you have got to enlarge!

Of course the most famous is the Sistine Chapel. While it is really beautiful, a work of art, I think it has been built up a little too much. I am no art expert, so my opinion is practically worthless, but it didn't go POW! I think it was somewhat tainted by the large number of gaurds in there that kept yelling "NO PHOTO!". Of course I got a couple ;)

And took a couple of a poster and tried to pass it off as my own!

After a quick lunch it was time to say goodbye to Maja, who was getting a flight back to Croatia. Zagreb isn't on my plan at the moment, but she may just have done enough talking it up to convince me to visit.

That afternoon I hit the few spots I had not yet made it to, starting with the Castel Sant'Angelo, a large castle just down from the Vatican. This is the one that is mentioned in Angels and Demons. While the castle is cool, I think the sculpture on the Ponte Sant'Angelo (bridge) is the highlight. Maybe it was the deep blue skies and puffy, while clouds in the background, but I thought these were some of the best I had seen in Rome.

I finally checked out the inside of the Pantheon, which was quite plain after seeing some of the other churches. Maybe I am setting the bar too high now? But it does have a cool, open dome and holes in the floor for the water to drain when it rains. I saw the Piazza Colonna, with one of the most intricately detailed columns I have ever seen. The Spanish Steps, in the up-market shopping area of Rome. The steps are hugly popular with tourists, who relax in the sun after hours of retail therapy. And lastly I visited the Piazza del Popolo, a massive, sprawling square that contains the Basilica di Santa Maria di Montesanto and Basilica di Santa Maria di Miracoli. These two churches are almost identical (on the outside at least). I went into the Montesanto, which again was nice, but I was not wowed.... yeah, I think I have been spoiled now. Everything from this point on will forever be tainted...

That evening I joined Sem for a short ride (I made sure before we set off) to his friends house. We hung out, chatted, relaxed. It was really great. Sem asked if I wanted to go out to another friends, but I was actually really tired and needed to get myself sorted for the following morning. So Sem dropped me home and went out cycling until who knows when!

I planned to get an 8:30am train this morning, so set my alarm for 7am and wanted to be out the door by 7:30. My alarm sounded, I turned it off and went straight back to sleep. I woke up at 7:25am in a panic. Thankfully I was relatively prepared. Sem suggested taking a bus as it was quicker, the only problem was that I did not have a ticket. He suggest just jumping on anyway, as they hardly ever have guards. I was not entirely comfortable with the idea, but I did not have many other options. So I said goodbye to Sem, thanked him and his family for their hospitality, and grabbed the bus.

I did make it to the central station without any problems, and made it on the 8:30am train. Destination: Naples. I found a host yesterday evening - just in time! So all worked out perfectly.

1 comment:

  1. You should have joined in with the singing metro girl...!


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