Bus. The Touros on the bus go click, click, click… Back on the bus and straight to Vatican City.
Vatican City. A number of things to see here and after soaking up the sights of the main square we headed to the Vatican Museum primarily to see the Sisteen Chapel. There was so much on offer but we didn’t have time to see it all.
Vatican Museum. The path to the Sisteen chapel had you walking through dozens of rooms each as remarkable and interesting as the next. The room of the maps was my favourite. It contained maps of all the lands once under Roman rule but most impressive were the battle maps. Paintings of the great battles between the Romans (or Byzantines) and the Turks. They showed where the Roman and Turkish infantry were positioned and also where ships were caught in battle. I couldn’t get enough of them. Another very spooky and disturbing set of images was Raphael’s slaughter of the innocent. Tapestries depicting men killing infants in their mothers’ arms. They were rather graphic and clearly showed the mothers’ futile attempts to fight off the men (who appeared to be Roman soldiers) from killing their young.
Capel di Sisteena. After a long winding path up and down stairs through various chapels and exhibits, we eventually came to the Sisteen Chapel and quickly realised what all the rave was about. Awe inspiring, dark, silent and beautiful yet surprisingly small. Wall to wall (and ceiling) paintings, including the most recognisable of all, The hand of god. The only sound was that of the guard repeatedly yelling “No photo”. Of course like most tourists, we snuck in a few cheap shots to the guard’s disgust. Back luck buddy, not quick enough.
St Peter’s Cathedral. Now that Vicki was dressed accordingly we were allowed inside to view this marvellous place of worship. You could easily accomodate a couple of thousand people indoors. Like many of the Roman cathedrals we had seen, the interior was elaborately decorated with paintings and sculptures that were attractions in their own right.
Piazza di Spagna. Home of the famous Spanish steps. We initially couldn’t identify them due to the number of people occupying the area but we eventually figured it out.
Pantheon. A piece of architectural brilliance even by today’s standards. It was built almost 2000 years ago. The techniques used for the construction of the dome are unknown. An understatement to say that it was ahead of its time.
Largo Torre Argentin. Basically an archaeological block of ruins in the centre of a built up part of Rome. The fascinating thing about this site is that Caesar was allegedly stabbed by Brutus here. I had to take a photo doing the Chopper, stabby, stabby motion. Chop chop.
Largo Torre Argentin Cat Sanctuary (in the same site). They were closing when we got there. Vicki was notably emotional and started crying when we arrived. The sanctuary cares for over 250 cats. They apparently lock the cats indoors for about 90 days before letting them out, that way they think of the site as home and don’t stray. All the cats are sterilised and regularly fed. It all started when an old man began feeding the strays 30 or so years ago. He later passed but his legacy remains and the shelter was erected some time after. The cats just roam the ruins and laze about in the sun. What a life. I think they deserve a bit of a break after hearing what the gypsies do to them. Vicki made a friend we called Maximus, he was a nice little man. A bit frail and we suspect he may have had a broken jaw. This just drew Vic to him further. He took quite a liking to Vic and casually climbed onto her lap for a cuddle. They quickly became the bestest of friends which made parting very difficult. According to Vic, this was the highlight of her entire holiday!
Bill and Ted. Well, our itinerary has gone through a dramatic change yet again. We had planned and organised to head north to Holland then across to London to stay with some friends. We timed it so we could hang out with Greg and Fiona on the weekend. The train situation did not allow for the journey without losing 3 or so days in transit and a small bucket full of hundred dollar bills. Sorry Greggles.net. We were really looking forward to our stay and appreciate your intended hospitality. So what does that mean for us? It always made sense to travel east before looping back around to Germany. Now that we had a few days up our sleeves, we decided on the fly to visit Croatia. We travel from Venice to Zagreb on Sunday the 7th before exploring the famous Dalmation coastline. We get to try the exquisite seafood that Jen and Shaun have spoken so fondly of.
Internet. The hotel still hasn’t got their shit together with the wireless which means we have had to use internet cafes during our entire stay in Rome. Rather frustrating. It just sucks time out of your day as opposed to doing stuff at night in the comfort of your own room. There is however something positive to speak of. The man running the Internet Point (as they call them in Rome) was an Egyptian man called Khaled. After a small time searching for hotels in Venice, he asked whether I was Lebanese or Egyptian, completely out of the blue. Freaky. I told him I was half Egyptian and half Lebanese. He was very proud of himself for picking it. He said I had the appearance and speech of the Lebanese but the heart of an Egyptian. He brought us tea and we chatted about each other’s backgrounds. A really nice man. I told him that my Mum was in Egypt and that our trip unfortunately didn’t allow us to join her. He gave us his work and personal numbers and offered us his apartment in Sharm El Sheikh anytime we wanted it. It is a very exclusive Egyptian destination and we were extremely flattered by his open hospitality. Thanks again for the Tea and your general kindness in allowing us to stay past closing hours, Khaled. We’ll be in touch soon.
Happy Birthday, Abdul!