Originally posted on 3/9/11
Day 2 of our trip and miraculously, I managed to wake up in time for breakfast, kinda. It was really good as there were many choices of meat and breads. After that, Mr Vito our tour guide for half a day came and we set off. Here, when they say half day, it means 3 hours, how nice is that, half a day of work is just 3 hours. The first place we went was of course the infamous colloseum. Named so because of its size. And there was the arc of Constantine nearby. It’s just so different seeing the colloseum before you in real life, pictures and all just do no justice you know.
After that we made our way around Rome seeing many things like the ‘wedding cake’ named so as it’s white and a semi circle, the president’s house (it has many windows) and then we stopped by the rode and Mr Vito took us down some lanes to the Trevi Fountain. We had to walk as the lanes were not big enough for the van to pass through. I was so tempted to thrown in a coin, the 2 cents that I found on the floor, I didn’t throw it in. But fear not, since Rome didn’t get my coin, they took my stationery, yeah I left it in Rome. Oh, fun fact! The coins that you thrown into the Trevi Fountain go to a charity.
Next on the list, the pantheon. Here’s something I learnt, less than 5% of ancient Rome is left and most of it are in ruins, you see columns, broken walls, pieces here and there, but the Pantheon, it’s still intact, it’s like time stopped at this place and preserved it so well. It is ancient and yet well maintained and I just couldn’t decide how to film it. I was debating between going full circle or just do parts, I don’t think I did a good job in filming this part, which is a big disappointment for me, furthermore, we didn’t get to spend much time here so I didn’t really get to see and enjoy it to the fullest.
We then walked to the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi at Piazza Novanna (here’s why I said Italian is easy to read, Fontana= fountain, Quattro= four), it’s a fountain with four guys that represent the four major rivers, The Nile, The Danube, The Ganges and the Plate. Now the Piazza Novana was built on the site of an ancient stadium, so you can see a sort of oval road around the fountain, in fact, it’s like the running track in modern stadiums, well it was as ancient Romans loved sports, way before they invented football. And there is the building right in front of it, which I forgot the name. The story here is, the guy who made the fountain is enemies with the guy who designed the building, so all the sculptures on the fountain are designed in a way that insults the building right in front of it. Way to make a statement to your competitor eh? And earn money for it too.
After walking a bit more, we crossed this bridge where there’s a beautiful rover below and you can just see the Dome of St Peter’s church. And right in front of us was the court, and is it magnificent or what. If you worked as a judge/lawyer here, your office is real fancy I tell you. Look at the modern buildings nowadays, all glass or just flat, no design, no intricate statues and carvings, just plan slab of concrete. No wonder it’s so boring. I’m sorry; it’s pretty hard to convince me that ‘modern’ architecture, a slash of a few lines is something nice to look at, better yet a work of genius or art.
Our last stop was the Vatican, it’s a whole country by itself and the big boss is the Pope. The citizens are the bishops and the people who work in the church. So that’s one small, tiny, cosy country for you. We went around the wall that encompasses the whole country, yeah, that’s the border between the Vatican and Italy for you. And rock climbers may find it a joy to climb, not so when security forces you to come down. We entered the Vatican and saw all the saints on the top, loads of them, its fun to point out one and naming their action, ex. A guy with his hand on his chin = thinking. Fine, it’s hard to explain.
“Yeah she says it’s hard to explain ya hear?”
I have to admit, I thought security was going to be though, The UK sure was, hello…..just because I put my laptop in my bag as I put it through the scanner does not mean I have anything to hide, it just means I didn’t know I had to take it out. Seriously, the security people at the UK airport are scary. But here it’s just put your stuff through the scanner, walk through the metal detector and you’re fine. Nice and easy and no one get labelled as suspicious. And we’re in, went to the church of St Paul. If my church were this big and this heavily decorated, I would be really distracted. How are you supposed to pay attention to the sermon when there are so many pretty things to look at, and scary ones too. Some statues can be scary I have to say, or maybe it’s just a way to say “Pay attention!” Back to the church, it was lovely with mummified popes and a vault under the church, where they keep more dead bodies. I guess there should be many dead people in a church this old. Ok enough talk about dead people. The lighting wasn’t so good, it’s the dreaded yellow light, I hate it when it’s like that, it’s like you think you can take a good fast photo since you clearly can see well, but no, your camera can’t and if you shake a little, you picture becomes blurry. Yeah, loads of spoilt pictures because of that.
When we were done, no actually the rest of the group was done, I still wanted to explore, but nope, gotta follow the group. We walked to the Vatican Museum. Since we were in the Vatican you’d think that it’s just outside the church. Nope, wrong there, you have to go out, and then walk around the wall for some distance and then finally you reach it. I think they sorta suspected many people would end up tired like us so there were many chairs at the ticketing counter, big ones too.
Since it is a museum, you’ve got lots of statues and statues and statues. At a point there were so many i just gave up trying to figure out which one is which. And the information guide in front of them is not helpful at all. I think they misnumbered the statues, they didn’t look like what the guide said, but then again, it’s not like i’m an expert in statuery (made up word).
The whole place screams renaissance, you have, as mentioned the statues at the side or anywhere they can find an empty spot, yeah, there’s that many. And you have the paintings on the wall and then the specific rooms for things like, carpets that are hung on the wall and the map room. It’s very colourful and detailed as, in the olden days, they didn’t have fancy sports cars, so the only way to show off was to bring in colour! The more colour you have on your painting the richer you were as paint and colour was expensive and difficult to attain. Now go grab your buncho paint and treat it well, haha just kidding. We went to the Vatican to see one thing and one thing only, the sisteen chapel. Where Michalangelo painted on the wall, God and Adam, creation and many other scenes from the bible. It was a shock to me when we had to go down some stairs, this masterpiece happens to be housed in the chapel that’s a little underground. You are not allowed to take pictures here and people just somehow sit around and stare at the ceiling, maybe they’re all tired already, i’m sure that’s why. It was fun trying to figure out the scenes painted like the red sea, feeding the 500 thousand and many more.
Since we arrived at the Vatican Museum an hour earlier, we came out really early and had to wait for our van to come, so we walked around the area, looking at shops and buying nothing. Sadness.We also managed to make friends with the guy selling souveniors, so in the end we got the Rome, before and after book (a must have) for 10 euro’s when i costs 12! That’s an RM8 difference and a big saving when you’re on holiday in Europe.
When the van came, we headed straight to the Spanish steps. It is named so because…..actually i have no idea why they would call the steps Spanish steps, when you’re in Rome, why not Roman steps? Italian Steps? Like i said, i don’t know why they named it so. I tried looking for some information on the guide but no one is saying anything. It wasn’t as good as i expected, after having seen it in many movies i was excited, but then when i got there, it was crowded and it just turned out to be steps, they lead to the church on the top and it has a nice view of Rome at the top. At the bottom, the road straight ahead is the row where the branded goods are. Needless to say, we did not go down that path. Anyway, it was super crowded. The steps is a place where the young Italians hang out and tourist rest and take pictures. It’s just steps as said before, so it’s a good place to hang out i guess. And that basically concluded my time in Rome, i was shocked too (because i did not read the itenary properly, that we had to leave so fast. I miss you Rome, return my stationery please!