The Amazing Race Meets National Lampoon’s Vacation

Archive for April 17th, 2008

Andrew’s Day 10

Posted by madtrippin on April 17, 2008

Today was our first full day in Rome.  We’ve found the food here in the Rome hotel to be considerably better than the ones in Israel.  It’s just croissants, meats, cheeses, fruit and strong coffee vs. the weird tomato-based hash and peanut-flavored scrambled eggs in Israel.


We headed off to Vatican City, which took about 30 minutes.  Traffic in Rome is insane.  There are just as many scooters as cars and there appear to be no rules for them in regards to lanes, speed or general safety.  There are scooters parked just about everywhere – even today when there was an 80% chance of rain.


The Vatican museum was awesome from an artistic standpoint, but it started off poorly.  Gabe got his camera stolen at the security check-point.  That’s right… AT the security check-point.  You can read his account of the whole ordeal in his day 10 entry – I haven’t read his post yet, but I’m guessing there may be some cursing.   He didn’t care as much about the camera, as the hundreds of pictures he lost.  Needless to say, I offloaded all my pictures to the computer as soon as we got back to the hotel.  Here’s a shot of Gabe with one of his Italian friends and a shot of the ceiling of one of the galleries.


Here’s a pic of the streets just outside of Vatican City:

I got busted at the Sistine chapel taking pictures.  For those of you who don’t know this, there are no pics allowed in the chapel because a company owns the rights to the images.  I knew this, but saw tons of people taking pictures, including some from my group.  I snapped a few shots discretely from waste level that were all really blurry, so I took one from above my head like everyone else.  Apparently, the picture police saw me, tapped me on the shoulder and made me erase the shots while he watched me erase them… seriously. 


After the Sistine chapel you snake over to St. Peter’s Basilica.  That place is gigantic and filled with different colored marble surfaces, statues, gold, mosaics and several dead popes in glass coffins, whose bodies appear to have been miraculously preserved.  I’m not Catholic and I’m not into the icon worship, but the artwork was amazing.  There was a mosaic reproduction of Rafael’s Resurrection of Christ.  You’d never know it wasn’t a painting unless got right up on it.

Final location of the day was the Catacombs of San Callisto – Very cool, but no pics, as it wasn’t allowed and I didn’t want to get in trouble again.  This is the largest of the 60 known locations in Italy – 20 kilometers of tunnels.


Because of the goof up with the itinerary, we now have a full free day in Rome, so I guess we’re going to some area that has shopping and wine tasting.  Gabe and I are also talking about doing a night walk through the heart of Rome we saw in a book by Rick Steves (thanks for the book Megan).  No one else in the groups seems to be as keen on it as us.  I think they’re just afraid of public transit.

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day 10 gabe…

Posted by glovin33 on April 17, 2008

OK.  so i hate people.  people suck…..And italians don’t want me to take pictures.  So today we did the Vatican thing.  As we are going into the Vatican we have to pass metal detectors.  It’s announced that all cameras have to go through.  I stepped behind a man, set my camera on the scanner and walked through.  His wife snuck in with me and the it beeped. I was pulled aside and sent back through.  Didn’t beep and was sent on my way.  I went to get my camera and it was gone.  The couple stole it.  There is the possibility that it was an accident, but no one turned it in, even at the end of the day.  So they stole my camera.  Older people.  Who would have guessed?  So I losted every picture i took in israel and on this trip.  It sucks! I’m pissed!

Anyway, on to the day….The vatican was cool but I think you could have spent a week in there and not seen half of it and we just ran through.  I didn’t really get to spend the time I would have liked in there as it is just a giant museum.  There were these purple marble sarcafigus’ that were undescribable. Also some new modern paintings that were very impresive.  Wish i had more time. We got to see the Sistine Chapel. It wasn’t at all like I thought.  It’s like 1,000 paintings in one.  I can’t imagine how that was accomplished by one person.  St. Peter’s Basilica was the biggest spectical ever.  It was HUGE.  I tried to imagine the amount of money that it would take to build it, and my brain couldn’t handle it and you know how smart I am.  This was crazy.  Gold, marble, and even dead popes.  Insane.  That money could have done so much good in the world.  Don’t get me wrong, it was one of the most beautiful things i’ve seen.  It just seemed like way too much.  St. Peter’s square was exactly the way I imagined it.  I’ve seen it on tv, so not too hard to imagine.

One of the neatest things we did today was the catacombs.  The early christians dug out of valconic dirt that hardens after air touches it.  It goes 10 stories down into the earth and covers an area of 20 kilometers.  There are over 500,000 bodies buried in the one we went to.  It was cool and so humid that moisture built up on any smooth surface.  If you’ve ever played diablo…it was cool.

I wish we had free time.  I would like to do this city on my own.  Israel was great as a group, but the big city is where I thrive, and I’ve love my chance to just be me.  Go find a good bar or restraunt.  And I miss sandwiches.  We keep seeing places that sell them and they look so good.  But we are with a group and the food is together, so i don’t get to eat at the delis.  Italian meat and cheese.  Italian bread.  Mmmm……I WANT A SANDWICH!!!  I also want my camera back…

OK…we’ll talk tomorrow.  Rome is cool. 

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