Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day #6 Rome, The Colosseum, The Vatican, OH MY! Salve, We had a busy day full  of tourism/sight- seeing. Our group woke up bright and early to start our day by seeing one of the seven wonders of the world and then ending it by seeing one of the most well known Micheal  Angelo creations. We started off our day of tourism by taking a subway to the Colosseum.  As we walked up the steps from the subway,  I was blown away at what I saw. Ancient Rome.  The colosseum to my left and the ancient city of Rome to my right.  Our guide Tim stopped our group and told us all of these ruins are over 2000 years old.  We were all taking a panerama of pictures and then broke off into groups to explore the ancient ruins. Ashley Rhoades, Allison, Kelly, Megan, Carlos, and I headed to the Colosseum.  We bought our tickets and then entered the main level of the arena.  Megan was our personal audio book tour guide and kept us updated on how the stadium was set up and why the ground was in a maze.  We walked around the main level and then walked up the massive inclined stairs to the second level where we had the next best thing to a birds eye view.  Megan and I were alll trying to figure out where Julius Caesar might have sat but we didn't find out.  Our group walked around the Colosseum for an hour and then headed over to the forum.   The forum was neat, we walked along a cobblestone path observing  what was left of the Ancient city of Rome.  We saw the House of Livia and August, a duomo (church), and other ancient buildings.  All of us could have stayed in the forum all day but we were on a time crunch to make it to our next destination.  The Vatican. We strolled out of the forum, walked to the subway and headed to the Vatican.   Once we reached our stop we got off and walked the side streets of Rome and found a niceristaurante and grabbed a bite to eat.   Our waiters were friendly and  and made a note to acknowledge Megan.  When they delivered her pizza in his exact words (note: in an italian accent) " Here' s the pizza for the big giant blonde," we all started cracking up laughing.   When we were done we headed towards the Vatican.  We new we were close when we saw the giant 15ft brick wall running along the street.  Kelly lead us to the museum entrance where we met up with the rest of our group.  Everyone covered up, put their knee length skirts on and their sweaters and we headed into the museum.  We all walked through airport type security and had to check-in our bags.  Once we were done with security it was time to be blown away by the artwork and sculptures.   There were hundreds of people in the vatican that our very large group was quickly separated.  Ashley Rhoades and I stuck together and walked around the museum.  Every  hallway had magnificent paintings I only wished I was talented enough to be able to create.  Every sculpture was intricately designed and all I wondered was how were they able to do this 2000 years ago.   Ashley and I walked through the museum with our heads looking up at the ceiling the entire time.  Then we entered the pathway leading to what Ashley and I were looking forward to.  The Sistine chapel. We entered into the chapel with hundreds of other tourists all trying to grasp how Michael Angelo created this masterpiece.  Ashley was mesmerized by the Creation of David painting. The paintings were jaw dropping.   The ceiling consisted of designs surrounding rectangular paintings of many stories from the bible.  My favorite art clips in the chapel was the Creation  of David and the painting of David slaying Goliath. Ashley and I followed the line of people exiting which led us to St. Peter's Church.   This church/cathedral is massive there is nothing I can think of comparing it to except maybe the National Cathedral  in Washington D.C. or West Minister Abbey in England, it's that big and grand. Each dome in the church had beautiful painings and the sculptures of the apostles were amazing.  There were small masses being held in the side coves of the church and as Ashley and I were walking around they started to singing and instantly goose bumps shot up mys arms as the song echoed through the church.  It was so pretty. The main dome was much bigger than the rest and we found out later that you could walk around the top of it and see all the people inside of the church.  We finished observing and then headed out to find our meeting spot. We all met in front of St Peter's square to take a team picture and then were free to do what we wanted the rest of the night.  Ashley Newman, Jackie her mom and I decided to walked to the top of the St. Peter's Dome while everyone else headed back to our hotel or went to grab a bite to eat.  We bought our ticket and started our trek up what they said was a 320 step spiral stair case.  The Vatican employes were right about the spiral staircase but I think they might have miss counted on the steps. Ashley Newman stopped counting at 530 and we weren't even half way done.   The walk up to the dome was split into sections, spiral stair case to the roof, spiral staircase to the base of the dome, spiral up the dome and viola, the top!  When we made it to the bottom of the dome we were inside and could see the inside of the church. There was a mass being held In the center of the church and there was an all boys choir who was preparing to sing.   Then we headed up the skinny curved stairwell up to the top.  The hike to the top was worth it the view was spectacular.  I could see all of Rome.  We walked around the top saw the Vatican City, along with Chantale and Elsa.   It actually is fairly big, completely surrounded by a brick wall.  I thought the museum and the church was the Vatican but what we toured was probably only about 1/10th of the entire Vatican City.    One thing that caught my attention was the changing of the guards. When I see soldiers standing at attention I think of changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery. Strict and all business.  Here when the guards where swapping shifts they were talking, joking around, and non chalant about the whole thing, I found it interesting.    Once we were done with the Vatican hopped on the subway and headed back to our hotel to sleep. Everyone enjoyed their stay in Rome and can't wait to head to Venice tomorrow.  A Presto.  Ciao! :) #2 - Hannah Johnson

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