Big Trip 2010: Roma

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rome. The Eternal City.

At this point in the trip, I’m just going to let the pictures do most of the talking… And don’t let the onslaught of them fool you; I was not a fan of this city. Yes, Rome is old and has so much history and so much art…and so much dirt and so much traffic and so many crowds. I know the Romans may hate me, but… I just didn’t like it.

And by this point, I was on the verge of overload and getting very tired. We have walked and walked and walked (and walked) this trip, which has been great to combat the massive food intake (at least 1/8th of it…) but we are very tired. And Rome was by far the hottest, most crowded city. You go to check out the Trevi Fountation, but you’re standing shoulder to shoulder with the other tourists, it’s 95 degrees with no sign of shade, greasy guys are trying to sell you fake purses and twirly things that shoot up in the air, and the piazza is filled with tacky souvenir shops selling bobble head Popes. It was like Times Square. All the time. Everywhere. I was not having fun. I threw my coin into the Trevi Fountain, but I’m not sure I’ll be returning to Rome.

Okay, so I’m whining too much. There were some cool spots, for sure. I’ll just provide some gross over summations of this leg of the trip and let the pictures take care of the rest…

602But first, we haven’t talked about keys yet… Every hotel we’ve stayed in, we have an actual key to get in (Nice, I think). This one you left at the front desk because it was gianormous. I would’ve never heard the end of it if TGrass had to carry that sucker around in his pocket all day.714The street of our hotel. Very near the Spanish Steps. Another stellar recommendation from Frommer’s. Fabulous location, great service, huge free breakfast, boutique hotel…All for 98 euro a night. Now, for Rome.

So, we saw a lot of beautiful ceilings…

617 760631679

We saw a lot of relics…

620Inside of that gold thing are slats of woods from Jesus’ manger.648These are the steps Jesus walked up on his way to stand before Pilate. Constantine had them moved from Jerusalem back in the day (before you say, “Hey, Jesus wasn’t in Rome…”).651You walk up the steps on your knees and say a prayer on each one.639This door gets opened up once every 25 years and folks on pilgrimage walk through the door so they don’t have to go to purgatory. (I thought that’s where the whole Jesus dying on the cross thing comes into play, but hey…)

And we saw a lot of sculptures….697072746 284660The Cathedral of Rome

Then there was the Vatican…717Word to the wise: book a tour and skip the line. This picture does not do justice for what that “queue” looked like for the Vatican. 725 Saint Peter’s Basilica104

106Saint Peter’s Square

There were also a lot of dead Popes…081093

Beautiful views at night…764The Scala de Spagna (Spanish Steps)778708Fontana de Trevi

And then there was good food and new friends…144 145147 Yes, those are our wine tour buddies, plus a couple friend of there’s. We all had dinner one night, which was great. After spending 24 hours a day with single person for two weeks, you welcome new people and conversation. (Even if the single person is your awesome husband…)

And then, of course, there was really, really old stuff…

168174 176The Arch de Somebody…181 All of these pictures are the ruins of Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum…184191All very cool… But have I mentioned that is was hot?200 205b244The Coliseum (My favorite of the ruins—Tyler and I are watching Gladiator when we get home…)706 264I was SO excited to find the Bocca della Verita… We stood in line to take the token, “Oh no, don’t bite my hand off!” picture, but the line was just not moving and I didn’t have it left in me after the ruins. So I settled for this picture.271My favorite piazza was where the Pantheon was. Our first night in Rome, we ate dinner here, sitting out on the piazza with the Pantheon and the fountain all lit up. There were a lot people out, lots of music and dancing. I really enjoyed it. (Come to think of it, I think I would have an entirely different opinion of Rome if it were always nighttime there…)

293 A fountain by Bernini right by our hotel. As I said, I’m not an artsy fartsy girl, but I did develop a true appreciation for Bernini’s sculptures. In any museum or church, you could always identify his stuff because it was always the best.296Walking through the Villa Borghese. These trees reminded me of Jurassic Park. (See, who says I don’t have culture?)297The Galleria Borghese. Great Bernini sculptures. Also air conditioned with no crowds, so I was a fan.313Okay, so the best thing about Rome is the water. They have these fountains everywhere. Some are real fountains, some are pipes sticking out of a wall, others are pumps coming up out of the ground. Either way, they are constantly flowing with clean, cold, fresh water 24 hours a day. Everyone uses them. Even my husband… The same guy who refuses to drink water from our sink in Virginia.306And after our third day in Rome, we checked out of Hotel Modiglini, picked up our rental car, and hit the road to the Amalfi Coast. The vacation from our vacation! Ciao Roma! Hellooooo Sorrento.

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