When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
So, the day of our arrival, Ann and I made our way to the Vatican. Not really knowing where to go, we decided the best idea would be to follow the crowd. This led us to Saint Peter's Square (which seems to me to be more of a circle...) and to a line of 4,000 people patiently awaiting entry into probably the most famous church in the world, Saint Peter's Basilica. Thankfully, the line moved pretty quickly. While waiting, there was absolutely no shade from the sun.
I now have a beautiful, striped tan line on my feet.
The basilica, on the inside, is awe-inspiring. The entire church is built from marble, and statues of saints and popes line the walls. Visiting this church was an amazing experience. It is so hard to believe that Peter was here, in Rome. I kept thinking "wow, Peter was here..." In any place less sacred, it wouldn't have surprised me to see something along the line of "Peter wuz her" inscribed on the walls, but the Basilica is just too perfect and beautiful. It is really moving to see hundreds of people from all backgrounds praying in this church. I had chills the entire time we were there.
Afterwards we whirled through the Vatican museum in order to see the famed Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was a genius. The ceiling looks as though it is in 3-D. It looks as if the angels in heaven can reach down and touch you. Also, it was really exciting to see, in the center of the ceiling, the famous image of God and Adam reaching to each other. That is one of my favorite images.
That night we took our friendly Rick Steves' tourguide book of Rome and did a night walk from Campo de Fiori to the Spanish Steps. All roads must lead to Rome because while eating at Campo de Fiori, we ran into some friends and their parents. From Campo de Fiori we walked to Piazza Navona. This is one of my favorite places we have visited here in Rome. Upon entering the Piazza, all eyes are instantly drawn to the center where there is a Bernini fountain depicting the four known continents during his time. In this Piazza, there are street musicians everywhere that create a lovely atmosphere.
From there, we went down an alley, turned a corner, and BAM! The Pantheon! I never would have guessed that the Pantheon is right in the center of Rome. And...it is in such good condition! Here, we bought gelato (I got limone...my favorite) and we sat on a fountain and admired this Roman structure. We went back to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona again last night because we loved it so much our first night here.
After this, we continued to Trevi Fountain (also by Bernini) where we tossed coins and then made our way to the Spanish Steps.
Yesterday we did "Ancient Rome." This included the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, all of which are amazing and it is just mind boggling imagining how the Romans built all of it. It did surprise me (and kind of upset me) that inside the Colosseum people had carved their names on the wall. Peter wuz not there. The rest of the day we just walked around.
Today we are taking it easy. This morning we did laundry...we must have looked like hobos walking around town. We didn't have any bags to put our laundry in, so we walked about a mile from the hostel to the laundromat carrying our dirty laundry in our arms. It was cute.
Rome has been wonderful, but we are anxious to head to Cinque Terre. The hostel we are at right now is a little sketch. Last night we were awoken by rowdy Belgians coming into our room at 2 a.m. Then, I don't know what was happening, but around 2:30, people were definitely screaming expletives at each other in the hallway.
Oh how we miss Academy Hostel in Florence.
Two of our friends are coming to Rome this afternoon, so we will be hanging out with them. Then, tomorrow morning, we go to Cinque Terre!