Saturday, September 18, 2010

When in Rome

Well it's long overdue but here is a post about our romantic moments spent in Rome. I just have to say, no pictures can ever do this place justice. If you can do one big vacation in your life, I highly recommend at least a couple days in Paris and a couple days in Rome. Our first day was spent at the Vatican...which actually I would not recommend doing first because once you see that, the other sites, such as the Colosseum, just aren't as impressive as they could be.

This first picture is one of my favorite statues (it's at the Vatican). It's of a priest who warned the Trojans not to accept the Trojan horse. When he went to thrust his spear in the horse's side, the gods sent serpants to kill him and his two sons. The strain you can see in his muscles and the fear in his face as he tries to get away make this statue feel so real.

We couldn't use a flash in the Vatican so whenever we are in the pictures, it's a little dark so that we don't overexpose the beautiful backgrounds but here is a glimpse of a couple of rooms inside of the Vatican.

Throughout various rooms we saw this really neat painting technique. We would have never realized it without our guide but although it's painted to look like it's 3d, it's really entirely paint.

I'm not going to post too many photos of paintings but I just wanted to post this, the painting is way too big for one picture but this section shows something cool that we learned. You see how most people are looking at something within the picture but there are a couple looking directly out of the painting at us? Artists did that when they painted someone they knew into the painting. Usually they did it to show respect to other painters they admired and sometimes it was a woman they loved. There are a couple men in paintings that are speculated to actually have been painted to represent a woman the painter loved but they painted them as a man to keep the love secret. One of the funniest stories though is of a painting in the Sistine chapel (I'm pretty sure that's where it was but we didn't take pics in there) where Michaelangelo painted a bunch of the people he didn't like being dragged down to hell.
The hallways are beautiful to look down. In many of their hallways they use an interesting technique (seen in second photo) of putting the pillars closer and closer together as the hallway continues down so that it looks longer than it really is. (I guess it only works if you walk down it the right way though). You have probably noticed that we have ear phones in (in one ear so we can still talk to each other), that's because we are listening to our guide talk as she walks in front of us, we tuned into a certain radio channel to hear her so she didn't have to yell in the Vatican.

Now for the most beautiful site in Rome, St. Peter's Basilica. Honestly, I just gasped when we walked inside of this place. Pictures will never even come close but try to imagine how ginormous this building is. Imagine a room with ceilings so high you could easily put the Salt Lake Temple inside. The little black thing you see at the back of the room is actually 5 stories high. And we were there at the perfect time of day when two beautiful rays of sun were shining through the windows in the dome. It was breathtaking.

We snapped a few photos out in the courtyard in Vatican city before heading out...You can tell Reed was pretty exhausted by this time.

Next up: Fontaine de Trevi and the Roman Pantheon!! The legend is, if you throw a coin into the fountain over your shoulder, someday you will return to Rome. So I kissed it first to bring EXTRA luck :-). We heard the Red Cross makes a lot of money by coming and collecting those coins from the fountain every Sunday night haha. By the way, Reed planned this WHOLE trip by himself. I was so busy with my internship and homework I didn't even double check his planning. He did a great job...He even downloaded little explanations of all the sites onto his i-pod (that's what he is listening to in the Pantheon photo).

The COLOSSEUM...(Imagine this section was introduced over a loud speaker or something dramatic like that) I can't choose which photos to use of our visit to the Colosseum because we had perfect weather for getting beautiful colors (which will not be as beautiful probably when I load them on blogger). First, here are a couple outside views of the Colosseum. This first picture is of Reed doing his...gladiator pose?

These next couple photos are of the inside of the Colosseum. There used to be a floor there of course but it's no longer there so you can see below the floor where the animals and (unfortunately) people were kept and/or prepared.

And Voila the view of the Roman Forum from the Colosseum

One of my other favorite things we saw was the Galleria Borghese...but we didn't get to take our camera inside :*(. I found my all time favorite sculpture in this Galleria by an artist named Bernini. The really cool thing about his statues is you never know the whole story until you have walked around the entire statue because it looks different from every angle. My favorite statue is called Apollo and Daphne. It's of Apollo catching the wood nymph Daphne as she is turning into a tree. From one point of view it looks like Apollo has his arm around a tree and then as you walk around you realize it's a woman. (Here is a photo I found online of the woman angle). It was beautiful.
Bus tour! I always think tourists look so silly in those topless buses snapping pictures as they go along but I just felt like there was no other way we were going to see everything so we gave in. And I really loved it. So ya...we were crazy tourists for awhile but it was well worth the humiliation.

Wow...this blog is taking forever. Okay here is a quick photo summation of a bunch of basilicas we visited...they were all incredible. It's worth it to go inside anything that says basilica because a lot of times the outsides are really ugly but the insides are always stunning.

Every time we saw Asian tourists, they were always doing peace signs in their photos haha so we decided we would spice up our poses with a couple of those as well. In concerns to Reed's pose in this Basilica, I'm not really sure what the explanation is.

We loved the night life in Rome. There were comedians, dancers, painters and others performing all over the city to try and earn a little cash. Below are a bunch of photos we took during our two night walks around Rome. One of the following photos is of Reed drinking out of one of many Roman fountains throughout the city. The water is perfectly clean if you drink it right out of the fountains so that's really handy in a city where it gets so hot in the summer time. And a lot of the water is still coming from the aquaducts built by the ancient Romans! Another of our favorite activities in Rome was eating ice cream. We ate a couple cups of ice cream each day. The ice cream in Italy really is just as good as everyone claims. We found our favorite ice cream is this little side shop in Trastaveri. It was delicious! So much better than I ever thought ice cream could taste! The other photos are of various sites we saw walking around at night.

Wow that was a long post. Moral of the story is: We love Rome.