Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our First Day Back in Rome

Our First day back in Rome!

Today we decided to walk across town from our hotel by the train station to the Vatican. We planned to take our time and see things alon the way. Our journey began by stopping at a small church a couple of blocks from the hotel. The city is covered with churches that are decorated from the floor to ceiling, Piazzas every couple of hundred feet with statues and fountains, and stores and shops tucked in between.
Old and New

Our first stop was to see the cloister of the Cappucian monks who have built a disgusting display of onraments comstructed from the skeletons of the deceased Friars. Oddly, they do not let you take pictures in reverence to the dead. The question that immediately occurs to you, though, is how would you humiliate someone whose skeleton has been used to construct a chandelier, or wall ornament? This is one of Linda's favorite places to visit!

Classic Structures

Rolling down the Tiber

After working our way across town for a couple of hours, we arrived at the Vatican. We decided that since the lines were comparatively short, we would go on in. We have heard that you can not take pictures or wear shorts in the Vatican. Neither of these is true. You can wear shorts, the fashion in shorts now covers your upper knee, and that is good enough. Everybody in the place was taking pictures, and the only time the guards minded at all is when you took a flash picture right up in their face. We actually saw someone do this!

We decided to go through the Vatican museum as well while we were there. The lines are almost gone in the later afternoon although there is still quite a crowd inside. For most of the museum, the tour group leaders are herding their groups past most of the exibits making it a little hard to stop and see the artifacts and art on display. There is way to much to see in just a day or two. Thankfully, as we got closer to the end, the tour groups whipped their herds into a frenzy to see the Sistine Chapel and stampeded past the contemporary art collection. We turned in to see the works by Van Gogh, Dali, Chagall, and Matisse that almost everyone else was ignoring. It was great to be out of the crowd.

Vatican owns the Death Star! 
Pictures everywhere! 
One of our favorites!

Another favorite

We finsihed up at the Vatican and walked back to the hotel. We had seen an amazing number of things and we marveled at the contrasts in Rome, the ancient, next to the old or completely modern. It is all right next to each other. It was a great first day.

We hope you are all doing well,

Stephen & Linda

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