Wednesday, 21 January 2015

It's A-Boot Time, Part One: Rome

The last time I posted I had just finished a historical adventure in Manchester. This time, I've skipped the country and spent a week in Italy (hence the terrible Italian geography/Canadian stereotype-dad punned title!). Because there is so much to share, I'm braking this adventure into three parts - this being the first. I will forewarn you, the pictures will be fairly limited, because there are just so many to sort through...and there are only so many that can be placed into one post! Now, even though I have the same running title for this 'series' I'd like to subtitle the Rome section with the inappropriate name of  "A Bunch of Naked Dudes with Their Junk Cut Off!" Shall we...

The trip to Rome began very early...and cold. There had been a frost overnight, and being me, I slipped on the barely-frosted sidewalk. Nothing like smoking our knee on some cobblestone to start of a vacation, eh?! Nonetheless, this wasn't going to stop me - vacation free of technology (minus my camera, of course...and well all the other things we now require to live comfortable lifestyles) was just what I needed. I shut off my phone, left my laptop at home, and set off for Italy's capitol city.

Rome is...well...old. I know this may seem kind of obvious to most of you, but given that I had just taken a historical walk and discovered most of what I was trying to locate had been replaced, this took me by surprise. In many ways, Rome reminded me of Ghana... the buildings, the jam brand, the unnecessary honking of horns and aggressive driving!

I had a successful flight, bus transfer and underground to the stop I was needing to get to in order to reach my hotel. Unfortunately, I took the wrong exit out of the subway, and walked in the complete opposite direction I wanted to go. I was tired, uncaffeinated and hungry, so I didn't appreciate this walk as much as I should have. BUT, I was able to see some sights I wouldn't have other wise seen. Along this walk, one of the things I was struck by, was the high amount of homeless people. This is one aspect of big-city life I struggle to comprehend. Anyway, when I finally arrived to my hotel, I dropped my things, grabbed a bite to eat, and set off to see some sights. And sights I saw! Here's just a sample:

Museo Storico dei Granatieri
Basilica di Santo Croce in Gerusalemme
Part of the historical wall that surrounds the city
The wall
The wall from within Giardini di via Carlo Felice
Another shot from within the par.k. One thing I liked about this place
was seeing how many people were running or chatting with friends in it! 
The historical wall, once again, from within the park.
The historical wall leading to San Giovanni.
Ladies and gentlemen, San Giovanni Laterano,
a.k.a. the Vatican before there was a Vatican!
Piazza di Parta San Giovanni
Monumento a San Francesco D'Assisi
I got lost (many times - which is the ultimate way to see a city when travelling
or moving to a new area!) and found this section of the wall. In front of it,
you might notice a pump-looking thing. Well, this is actually a water pump that
supplies water...for anyone who needs it. You a water fountain...
something we used to have in abundance before bottled water took over the world!
But I digress...
After a good walk around a very small part of Rome, I was pretty tired from my early flight and just getting acquainted to a new spot. I took an early night, where I read and just relaxed. It was quite nice. However, looking back, I could have used that time more productively to see more, but sometimes you just need to have an early night!

Day two of my Rome adventure was busy. My first adventure of the day was a full meal-deal Vatican tour. Here, we walked through the museums (where the subtitle gets it's name from...however, I noticed I don't have any photographs to back up this description), a visit to the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, before a walk through St. Peter's Square. The museums were interesting. The Basilica was beautiful - there was even a well preserved dead pope that everyone was taking pictures of. I found this a bit, creepy, so unfortunately, no pictures for you! Two things really surprised me about this tour: 1. The Sistine Chapel is tiny. It's beautiful, and the artistic overload that overwhelms your eyes is incredible, but I just always imagined it to be so much bigger. I think it took me about 43 seconds to walk from one end to the other...also your next hurts within in minutes from trying to see every inch of the ceiling! Pictures are not allowed to be taken in the Chapel and I was quite amazed by the number of people who tried to get away with not following this one rule! was the only rule! 2. January is low-tourist season, so St. Peter's Square was virtually empty! However, the lone up to get into the Vatican was massive when I arrived at 8:30am!

One of many stunning ceilings within the museums!
So, this is neat. Looks like a sculpture, right? Well, it's actually a 3-D paint job!
Here's some more of that 3-D artwork! 
Another amazing ceiling!

Yep! You got it - it's a ceiling!
This painting is the only one to include all of "the greats" - Leo, Mike, Raf and possibly
Donatello. This is essentially the oldest depiction of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... I think.  
A shot of the walk from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter's Basilica.
The view through the archway is St. Peter's Square.
Another shot of the walk...
This is inside the Basilica. For the most part I felt strange taking pictures inside.
However, to give you some perspective on how massive this place is, each of
those letters is 2 meters high (about 6.5 feet for my American friends!)
Part of the Square.
The Basilica! In the corner between the buildings, you will notice a small pointy-topped
building. That's the Sistine Chapel apparently! 
Somewhat next to the Basilica is this building. The top row of windows,
second from the right is where the Pope comes out to give prayers and
greetings on Sunday mornings. The room next to it (again on the right) is
where Pope John Paul II died.
After a quick lunch break, it was on to the next adventure - a tour of Ancient Rome. This included two major stops: the Colosseum and Capitol Hill. Let me just say that the Colosseum was one of the most mind-blowing things I have ever seen in my life. Much of Rome is like travelling back in time, where every time you move your head you see something else that is almost more historical than the last thing you set your eyes on! This stop definitely made Rome for me!

The Arco di Constantino
A different view of the Arco
Piazza San Francesca Romana
A good chunk of the Colosseum
A view from inside! The partial stage is the floor of the arena, where the gladiators
would have fought. Everything underneath would have been hidden by it.
Also - fun fact, the word "arena" comes from the Latin word for "sand" - harena!
A couple of ancient things: The inner walls of the Colosseum, and yours truly!
The Arco from the Colosseum 
A view from the Colosseum, including Palantino and Piazza San Francesca Romana 
A close up of the underbelly of the Colosseum. Amazing!
This shot was taken from the spot where Joaquin Pheonix the Emperor would have sat!
A final view from within before leaving.
A much better exterior view of the Colosseum
The best shot from our walk from the Colosseum to Capitol Hill
One of a limited number of shots of Capitol building. There was a massive protest taking
place to dispute labour issues, so we made this part of the stop quite fast! Police were everywhere,
 so there didn't appear to be any great threat, BUT better to be safe than sorry!
The view from Capitol Hill!
Overall, Rome was pretty good - it exceeded my expectations. I felt relatively safe, but still knew I had to be aware of my surroundings. Actually, I almost wasn't allowed into the Colosseum because I had a backpack. Apparently due to the incident in France the week before, they weren't allowing anyone to enter that had a bag! Typical of my luck, this rule began that morning! There were a few things I wasn't able to get to in my short time there, so I would certainly consider going back, but if I didn't, that would be okay too.

So, that's a very condensed version of my 2 nights in Rome. Morning three was another early start, with a taxi ride to the train station. Next stop...Florence!

No comments:

Post a Comment