Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye Roma

This is a mosaic at the very top of St. Peter's Basilica at the  Vatican.  The climb was about 20min, and was an exhausting effort and test of stamina. As one gets higher and higher, the walls of the tiny and narrow staircase begin to curve in, and leaning over becomes an odd but nessacary way to go.  Once at the top the amazing mosaics come to life with values and tones. I peered over the edge and saw the transept below, with tiny ant like movement, which was the people below.  Goodbye Roma, espresso so smooth no need for sugar. Goodbye to monuments of the church on almost every corner, and goodbye to the artwork that was so inspiring. Also goodbye to evenings of 37 and 40 degrees!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Me and Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisa da  Caravaggio, otherwise known to the world as simply..  Caravaggio. Touring the Capitoline Museum I was awed by such a rich, exciting, historical space. Large marble sculptures, many broken and placed by some giant hand just so. Painting after painting of such interest and talent I was overtaken with such a sense of wonder at every turn.  Walking slowly, I made each turn with anticipation. The art work may be famous, such as a Caravaggio, or just simply an other example of extraordinary talent produced at an unthinkable amount of time in the past.  Rome was not build in a day, as we all have heard a million times before, well one can not possibly see Rome in five, I will return.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rome is cold

I believe I will never see anything as pretty as a tree...with some #^*@**%  leaves on it! It is Winter in Rome, in case you did not know Holaday!  My face went numb in the blinding sunlight, yes the sun was no friend of mine this day. It laughed at me.  I puzzled in disbelief as my skin went from cold to no feeling at all! As I layered almost all my clothes, I started to puff out, and it was getting harder and harder to hold my arms down by my sides. Espresso after espresso, wired and cold, yeahhhh Rome baby!!!

Sistine chapel, or bad Thomas

Painted by Michelangelo in 1508, it took him four years to do. Ok I could have been arrested.  All throughout the Vatican museum you are allowed to take pictures without flash, everywhere that is except the Sistine Chapel. ALTO!!!  Was screamed from across the crowded floor below this amazing ceiling. The guard was approaching me with a stern look in his face, as I had broken the rules. My guide said, " put your camera away, he make take you or your camera."  Well, I did say I was tired. Another funny thing, a voice will come over a speaker every 10min or so, " Please no talking, please be respectful", in at least 4 languages. The guards also make this statement every so often, to a room of at least 150 people! It reminded me of trying to silence some of my students in the classroom from time to time, well so much for vacation, I thought I was getting away from all that.

First morning in Rome

I know I look very relaxed and on top of things. First let me tell you about the morning.... I went to bed around 9pm Rome time, of course I was up for ever on the plane had a mad dash in Madrid so I guess I was pretty tired. I don't even remember hearing my alarm clock, and yes it does work, the hotel even called my room and said "your breakfast is outside your room."  Did they knock, was I that out of it?? I guess so, not hearing or remembering turning off the alarm!  I stumbled out of bed, showered and drank espresso while looking out at the tile roofs from out of my window. The tiles glistening in the early morning sun, a church top poking up in the horizon, me still wondering where I was. I was in Rome, and said this to myself, in part out of excitement and in part to reassure myself in my foggy,  jet lagged mind.

View inside the Pantheon

Walking the streets of Rome is no easy task. I had planned on just dashing off to see the sights I wanted but was surprised by all the twisting, turning, streets at all angles. Dragging, and do I mean dragging, my suitcase the day I arrived along narrow, tiny, cobblestone streets was quite the sight I'm sure!  The noise was becoming almost humorous, and in fact when I stopped and decided to carry the suitcase least I offend the people walking just a few steps in front of me, they abruptly stopped and turned around because of the sudden absence of all my scrapping and clattering! I did find the hotel, great place, very little side ally have know idea where I am!


Made it to Rome.  I had a very interesting trip, it was a bit rushed and frantic. After I landed in Madrid, I got off the plane and was in a huge, towering complex with no idea where to go. There was not a person at all anywhere to ask so I just followed a mass of people down two long stairways to a train station. Not knowing what train to take I jumped on the first one, got off on a platform, again with no one or idea where I was. When I asked about Ibera flights, I was directed to another train, then down another set of stairs, blah, blah, blah  I just made the flight to Rome.  The picture above is the Pantheon, built by Hadrain in AD 119-125. It only survived because it was later turned into a church. At first it was a pagan temple.