Rome Day 2
So, after a good night sleep and a not so hot shower in the morning (my sister swore that she too had not really hot water while showering for 20 minutes before me) we made our first experience with the so called “breakfast” in this hotel. Therefore you have to know, that a normal breakfast in Italy is a caffe (espresso) and a cigarette ;-)) Just softies add a brioche, which is kind of a croissant.
So this breakfast was a buffet consisting of some varieties of coffee (from the vending machine), brioche, white plain bread, cheddar cheese packed in plastic, 2 sorts of ham and salami (3 pieces each on the whole buffet) and some disgusting “fruit” juice, where I am still asking myself where the fruit was in this sugary water thing.
All in all quite an insult to us germans who worship breakfast.. but never mind, when in Rome, do as the Romans do ;-)
So I left the brioche aside and had some of this white bread with cheese and salami.. yack!! Thank the gods that we had our travelling proviant with us, some apples and homemade sandwiches.. well I had to empty the fridge ;-)
The second day was a Saturday and we decided to do the Vatican since we wanted to avoid that place on a Sunday. I really didn`t want to be squeezed there during the Mass. So again we took this hop-on-hop-off bus (hey, we paid 20 Euros each for 24 hours), forgot the headsets, went to the topdeck and enjoyed Rome in the sun (and in the cold, I haven`t been that cold since Plymouth Rock in a freezing February in the 90s). We exited at the stop directly at Piazza San Pietro (St. Peters square) in front of the basilica. We were just strolling towards the entrance when I heard this female voice talking about the Sistine chapel. I guess I slowed down my step a bit, because she immediately was asking me if I would speak English. Then she started this “sale-talk” about the tour starting in 5 minutes, it would be a private tour through the Vatican museums, the Sistine chapel and the lady would drop us off directly at the entry to San Pietro. The tour was supposed to be 25 Euros each plus the 14 Euros entrance for the Museums. Actually we didn`t want to see the museums but we saw this huge queue for the basilica. So after exchanging some views (my sister and I are not twins, but sometimes we have this ability to communicate without speaking… it drove the rest of the family nuts ;-)) we decided to go for it. We agreed on 20 Euros each and with a couple from the Bay area, we did the tour. Our guide was a young American student of art history. And tell you what?? She was worth every single cent!!! (we paid 25 each at the end of the tour.. do I need to say more?). She was great. She herself was having so much fun and was so excited to do the tour, it was fantastic. And when we entered the museum I was glad that we went there although they weren`t on our list. If you are ever in Rome, DON`T leave out the Vatican museums!!! Never ever!! We just went for the sculptures and the gardens, then followed the various halls down to the Sistine Chapel. And whenever I saw those huge groups with their headsets and the tourguide speaking into a microphone, the people are not able to ask for anything and are still paying 10 Euros I was so glad that we had our lady.. we bombed the poor girl with questions. And it was so cute, that she freely admitted being an art snob.. lol.. she could remember historical dates so easily when there was anything regarding art combined with them, but the rest?? Not really.. well, but that`s is what our books were for ;-) Whenever she showed us something she was mentioning to keep that in mind, she would come back to it later on. And she was pointing out the tiny small things. On your way down to the Sistine Chapel you are walking through various halls. One of them is the hall where all the lost and not identified sculptures and parts of sculptures are stored. Every group was standing in front of the big sculptures but she was showing us the small details, tiny things just placed on the shelves. I loved this girl!!
And then: my highlight of the day… the Sistine Chapel!! I have never.. never in my life seen anything like that before. I mean, everyone has heard of it or has seen pictures, but nothing did prepare me for this feeling when you walk into the room (which is a lot bigger than I expected) and you see this Art. I couldn`t take my eyes off the paintings. Either the frescos or the ceiling. I am not really a fan of the catholic church or church in general.. but this is a monument everybody should see once. And I have to say, that I believe we couldn`t have appreciated that much without our tourguide. She was giving us so much insights before. So many details, background. Again, pointing out the little things. Like the figurine of the “master of ceremony” who not only dared to criticize Michelangelo but wanted to censor the painting of the Judgement Day. This poor guy ended up as one of the figures drawn to hell, with devils horns on the forehead… but that is not the worst part of it: Michelangelo drew a snake biting off is genitals.. well, I guess that was his way of saying “Get off my back!!” ;-))) If you don`t know that it is there, you wouldn`t see it. The whole painting is overwhelming.
Til today.. the Sistine Chapel and the Forum Romanum are fighting for the topspot on my list of Rome ;-))
St. Pietro and the rest of the day will follow