Thursday, October 28, 2010


Just returned from my vacation within a vacation: Rome and Venice.

All of Rome was a surreal experience for me. I didn't go to a single museum because the entire city was  standing piece of history. Look to your left, just some casual ruins. Look to your right, its the Pantheon! Yes, I've learned about the Roman Empire like 17 times throughout school but to see it in reality was magnificent. The time period just seems so fictional, thousands gathering to watch gladiators fighting lions to the death. But this actually happened!

My days in Rome were spent choosing in what order I wanted to eat my pizza, pasta, and gelato. Which of the three would get seconds today? Sit down for dinner on a terrace and a dashing violinist will come add a soundtrack to your meal. A few hours by the Trevi Fountain and a couple more by the Colosseum. Rome has been completely taken over by tourism and I couldn't help but wonder how the actual citizens felt about the exploitation of their culture and history. Not too heartbroken, right? We keep their economy going!

Next up was Vatican City. We did the hour long trek there and as soon as we arrive, what else do we find but a reenactment of the passion! It was complete with dead spirits, gladiators and a bloody Jesus. 

It was a Sunday and we stood outside watching the big man himself give the Sunday mass via live-stream. We tried to go in but the Swiss guards wouldn't have it. Don't be fooled by their goofy clown costumes, they will cut your throat if they have to.

An hour after mass was over we were let inside. The ornateness of it was so overly-indulgent, that much like Versailles, after a while I couldn't even process it any more. It was simply extravagant.

Our second day at the Vatican was mostly in line waiting to see the Sistine Chapel. No really, we spent almost three hours in line for it. We finally made it in but much like St. Peter's Basicila, this extravagance was beyond comprehension. How did people make this? I spent my time in the Sistine Chapel in awe wondering about the infinite amount of God-given talent and fecundity that existed in a man like Michelangelo.

Hoping some of that talent rubbed off on me. The closest I've ever gotten to being an artist was watching "The Joy of Painting" with Bob Ross as a child. Yeah, you know what I'm talkin bout. 

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