Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I do not know what to say about Rome.  I was fully prepared to have an underwhelming experience, but really have no concrete gripes with this place.  Sometimes going into a situation with built in low expectations is the best thing that can happen.  Some day, I may even get around to employing someone to travel around with me and talk about how much everything sucks, just so that my expectations would always be exceeded.

The food has been outstanding, the people a tad miserable though not necessarily rude(Italy has the most unhappy people in the West according to a recent poll by Cambridge University), and the sights are obviously world class.  I cannot think of a more grand way to spend an afternoon than skipping along from the Colosseum to the Pantheon to the Vatican.  Everyone should definitely visit, once.

We like Rome, but have definitely been in Italy for long enough.  I have eaten so many cured meats that my stomach itself feels as though it is in the throes of the early curative process.  I have perhaps said my last gratzi, though I may have a Ciao or two left in reserves.  I could not imagine why anyone would want to live here, but The main thing that bothers me about Italy and Europe in general, is costs.  Europe is an expensive place.  Sure, we try to stay in local areas and eat with the local people, and this does cut down on costs considerably, but not enough.  Food is just really damn expensive here.  Our daily budget has decreased by about 5 euros each day due to dwindling reserves.  I will provide a few rules on saving some money eating and drinking in Europe.   The tourist price will usually be double a local price.

 Our hotel has a shuttle that dropped up off here in the old area of Rome.  And while I wish this strange little yellow van was our shuttle, it is not.
 Some statues outside of the Capitoline Museums, one of these museums is the oldest public museum on the planet 

 The Capitoline Museums at Piazza del Campidoglio

 A fountain

 Rome is one of those places where you can seriously just wander aimlessly and just stumble upon massive amounts of history.

 Looking out over the ruins

 We decided to walk along Via del Fori Imperiaii to the Colosseum

 Some more statue

 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

 The Colonna Di Traiano.  A column built it 113ad and covered in reliefs of early Rome victories 

 Foro Traiano

 The column with some more recent historical buildings in the background

 For the first hour or so, we really though we were going to have a pleasant day

 The rains seemes to have stopped and some blue peaked out

 Some Caesar dude.  I wonder how it feels to be a country that once ruled the world, but has really really come far off its 2000 year highs.

 The "you already know"

 Krispin reading about Rome.

 I believe this is the arch of Constantine, situated on the Colosseum grounds 

 In the Colosseum
 Messing with perspective

 It is very interesting to walk around this old structure.  The seats are all long gone.
 The grandness of it all really translates how great this place was 

 Kristin told me that animals came out of here

 A cross section
 The weather had changed for the worse

 Florence, Rome, and Venice all have this wow quality, where, when you are in the right area, there are impressive sights in every direction.  Rome definitely is the most impressive in this regard, but also the least charming.

 Some mossy steps

 The outer ring

 Rome subway, complete with live music 

 Piazza Barberni.  Kristin and I were wondering if this is the fountain where Tom hanks rescues the Cardinal in "Gods and Demons"

 Kristin spending hard earned loot on wishes at Trevi 

Trevi Fountain

Rococo at its finest, Neptune at his most impressive

Crowds were not too bad

 The Pantheon, and its perfect dome

 Outside, we build up our anticipation 

 Entering the naturally lit chamber puts most entries to shame 
 Hard to believe it has been around for almost 2000 years

 a column of rain fell through the center

 The Pantheon was originally a burial chamber for the exalted, and now has essentially become a word that implies you are in very rare and talented company at the top

 The tomb of Raphael 

 Pantheon Interior 

 More interior statues

 Directly outside of the Pantheon, rain was really starting to get on our nerves.  We wanted to see as much as possible though, so we headed towards Vatican City.

 Tiber River

 I liked how these trees along the Tiber sort of formed an interpretive tunnel

 Castel Sant' Angelo 

 I have not shaved in weeks, in fear that all of the rich food I have eaten has completely taken out my jawline 

 Castel San Angelo seems perfect in this weather

 More views of the Tiber

 Ponte Sant Angelo and Ponte Emanuele II

 St. Peter's Basilica 

 St. Peters Square

 Not too busy 

 It really feels like you are being watched in here

 Obelisks are everywhere in Rome

 Bird Head

 Fountain and Dome

 Some detail

 Bell tower

 Swiss Guard 

 The very large entrance to St. Peter's

 From inside 

 Place was pretty crowded 

 but not too bad

It is really so so big

Epic as it gets here on earth, and I suppose that is the point 


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