Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Goodness, I have not written much lately! We visited the Uffizi, in Florence, on Friday. The Uffizi is an art museum that showcases many famous artists, one being Michelangelo.
On Saturday we headed to Venice on a two-hour train ride. Walking around Venice was so surreal. All of the canals through the city were absolutely adorable! Our hotel was within a minute of San Marcos Square and was very nice. I loved being in San Marcos Square a lot. It had a lovely ambiance that was enriched with the dueling orchestras on either side of the square. It was very nice to just sit back and listen while eating gelato. On our first day there we went inside of the Basilica. The basilica was gorgeous and the ceilings were amazing! The pictures were made out of mosaics and all gold. My favorite part of the basilica, however, was the fact that it housed the ashes of Saint Mark. You know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Yeah…THAT Mark. It was so awesome!
Our next day in Venice was short, but incredible! We went for a gondola ride through the small and narrow canals as opposed to the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal has way too much traffic on it to be an enjoyable ride. Oh my goodness though, the gondola ride was everything I had imagined and more! The gondolier wore the striped shirt and the uniform hat! We found out that normally it cost extra for them to sing to you and we decided against that, but during a quiet spell, the gondolier starting whistling a melody to go along with the boat ride and while not a big gesture, was still amazing! He was also very informative and showed us where Vivaldi, Mozart, Casanova, and even, Angelina Jolie lived during their times in Venice.
Later that day we got back on the train and headed for Rome. The train ride was a four-hour ride, but I thought it went quickly! Once we arrived a the Roma Termini, we caught a cab to our apartment. I thought the taxi drivers were insane in Florence…then I experienced the ones in Rome. They are nuts! We arrived at about 4 pm so we decided against going out an exploring. However, yesterday was our first day out an about and it was so much fun! We visited the Trevi fountain which is so much more grand and expansive than the pictures portray. I, of course, had to throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish. supposedly throwing a coin into the fountain also means you will visit Rome again one day. I would not be opposed to that idea at all! It was quite funny. We were walking through all of these ally ways and all of sudden…POOF… we come around the corner and there it is in all of its magnificent glory!
Yesterday we also visited the Pantheon. I loved it! I had learned all about it during Western Civilization class this year and there it was! What I find interesting about it is that there is a hole at the top of it (on purpose) and it is angled in such a way that rain never or rarely gets inside! Fun fact of the day right there! I also did not know that the Pantheon is a church! Who even knew that?! Not me! Fun fact numero dos for the day! I enjoyed walking all around and seeing the art inside.
Today we visited Vatican city, which means yes, I was in yet another country today and I did not even have to show my passport! Although, it was like going through airport security all over again! I loved Vatican City! We went through the museum kind of quickly because we were there for the main attraction… the Sistine Chapel. Which, oh wow…that is all I can say. It was fantastic! Michelangelo did such a spectacular job. I found out that there had been so many candles and oil lamps used in there that until the 80′s or 90′s, the ceiling had more or less been significantly darker than the original had been. Then they recovered the Chapel and the colors were so vivid that art critics did not believe that those were the original shades. The people in charge of recovering the Chapel verified that the colors were in fact, part of Michelangelo pallet. They figured this out by looking at work of Michelangelo’s students. The fact that they could verify that is incredible. While we were there we also walked on the grounds of St. Peters Church. I saw were the pope stands when he is delivering services. Tomorrow I believe we will be going back to the church to see the inside. I think that will be fun!
The people are different here than the people in Florence. For one, the people on the streets trying to sell purses (not out of a tent, as they are carrying them) are fewer than those in Florence. Still as direct, but there are less, so we encounter them less often. Personally I like that…I respect that they are out there trying to make a living, but after being asked for the hundredth time if I would like to buy a purse, I start to get slightly annoyed… bus alas, in a big city, what do you expect?! I am not complaining! I am in one of the greatest cities in the world with the best people! This city has been thriving for thousands of years and I had the absolute privilege of getting to see it and I could not even be happier!
Well, that is all I have for tonight.
Until tomorrow (hopefully…I need to be more regular than this)