To say the absolute least possible, it has been a FULL three days. We had the chance to actually see the Pope address the public and drive around the crowd in his nifty Pope mobile. Abby and I climbed a lamp post at St. Peter's to get the best view which resulted in a TV spot and lots of pictures from the media. I guess we looked super anxious to see the man who runs this powerful Catholic world on earth. It was interesting to see all of the different types of people present and on the same token, the languages in which the service was conducted. Spanish was admittedly comforting to hear.
This probably goes without saying for those who have enjoyed Europe, but we have been walking A LOT. I wish I had brought some sort of tracking device that could measure the distance, but I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I said we walk at minimum 5 miles per day-minimum. I'm also not sleeping very well. I'll sleep maybe 4 hours straight before waking up. My poor sister has to endure my restlessness. However, nothing really beats waking up every morning to the fact that we're in Italy.
Yesterday, as we were getting ready to head out for the day, I looked out my parents' hotel room window to find an older couple leaning together out their apartment window. I snapped a couple shots, but that was by far the most European thing I've seen. We then went to Campo di Fiori- an open market with everything from fresh produce to special gadgets that core a zucchini to look like gnocchi. The bustle of that place was cinematic. After a delicious lunch, we went to a small museum that displayed replicas of Di Vinci's machine engineering.
Today, we went to Le Vatican and the Sistene Chapel. Our tour guide was frankly mediocre, but my two favorite things actually were in the apartments of the artist Rafael. The first, is a ceiling painting of the cross standing in the place of where a now destroyed marble statue of some important Roman person once stood. I just felt it reasonate a bit with how I was feeling as we walked through corridor after corridor of "stuff". All beautiful, but as my mom put it- built on the backs of the poorest of the poor. The second was the carved signature of Martin Luther also in one of Rafael's apartments. To think of this man who literally went up against the most powerful institution of the time and won...all in the name of the Gospel and here I am, centuries later photographing his last name. Again, I wonder what went through his mind as he carved that. As he finishes the inscription, he softly chuckles, in my mind- the kind of pensive laughter that indicates a sadness for someone. What did Luther think of all the gold and ornate wealth?
A few personal notes for those who read this:
Alex, we didn't find your pizza place (we're staying in the Levatican area), but we went to this amazing place called The Island of Pizza today. It was absolutely enjoyable.
Tom and Shelli, when we were at the Colosseum, Dad fondly recalled randomly meeting up with you guys and loved revisiting that memory.
Steve J, we literally walk everywhere and I think of your enthusiasm for the European lifestyle.
Lisa and Joe, I bought a bottle of Limoncello in your honor.
I think it's fair to say that my family is ready to leave Rome-which we do tomorrow. We head for Florence by train. We're staying in a small town in an area called Siena. We'll be enjoying Florence and Assissi over the next 5 days. I anticipate loving both.
P.S. Cannolis...known here as cannolo siciliano...yeah...thank God we're walking so much.