I really wanted to title this post “When in Rome…” but I resisted.
There was a holiday in Turkey last Thursday (Youth Day) so my host family left for Rome – and took me with them! The weather was just getting hot in Italy so standing in the sun was uncomfortable, but I’m still happy summer is finally arriving.
What I didn’t like about the city – touts in all the major tourist areas throwing noisy toys and trying to sell me straw hats and Asian-style umbrellas. Let me be a tourist in peace – sheesh! Also, I was part of the family’s Turkish tour group so I didn’t understand a word of the history he was explaining. That’s what wiki is for though.
What I liked: Everywhere I looked things were old and beautiful. So many sculptures and stone buildings, the messy streets that don’t form a grid, the little water fountains everywhere, and all the obelisks (the city of Rome harbors the most obelisks in the world – wiki). I would love to come back and just walk around more and sit in a cafe somewhere and people watch. There’s a whole area beyond the Colosseum that I didn’t get to see called the Palatine Hill (Palatino). I love looking at ruins and a walk around there would have hit the spot.
A word of advice: make sure nothing in your purse even remotely resembles the shape of a knife when you’re trying to enter St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. My bag was taken aside after they put it through the X-ray machine and I was asked to go through it. Much to both my and the security guard’s embarrassment my tampons had been mistaken for knives. On the other hand, if you are trying to smuggle a knife in, I suggest using tampons in your first purse pocket as a decoy. He didn’t even ask me to go through any of my other pockets he was so uncomfortable.
The basilica was BEAUTIFUL though. I got shivers looking at it all. Every inch was adorned and lovingly created – Michelangelo and Bernini worked there! I’m amazed by how a block of stone can become a person adorned in rippling cloth. Fortunately some random lady found me and gave me the history of the different artworks inside so I was able to learn what the different statues and mosaics were depicting.
Later on the bus continued around the city and past the Colosseum… I FELL ASLEEP WHILE LOOKING AT THE COLOSSEUM – WHO DOES THAT?! Don’t judge though, I’d woken up at 2 in the morning to get to the airport and had stood in line all morning to get into the Basilica then the bus ride just made me so sleepy… I remember drifting in and out of sleep and glimpsing images of the Colosseum and trying to keep my eyes open. I was so sleepy I started hearing the guide’s Turkish words in English and had weird dreams about the nonsense things my head was hearing. Fortunately we came back another day so I didn’t have to beat myself up over it too much.
Lessons learned from Rome: never bring your 6 year-old to a crowded, historical city. They will hate it and only want to go into toy shops. They will also get very cranky from the heat and try to run away. And I learned about the tampon thing.
All info about the pictures is from Wikipedia: