Do As The Romans Do

Trip Start Sep 02, 2010
Trip End May 13, 2011

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Where I stayed
The Nice Apartment

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 4. We took the train from Venice to Rome. Me and the two guys stayed in this "apartment" that we had been upgraded to from a hostel room. It was horrible! The office was in the back of a laundromat. The apartment was down the street. The sheets were absolutely gross. There was a funky smell goin' on, and the kitchen was completely out of order. The only thing we did have was a nice view of the mountains. This began the next 4 days in Rome. More walking than I have done in any city yet. Today we saw Trevi Fountain, the Forum, and the Pantheon. Luckily, it happens to be culture week, meaning all of the sites are free to get into. Rome is a really cool city and, like a local told me, its like working in a museum. The city really is a museum.
Day 5. I woke up early and went to the Vatican to try and get into Palm Sunday mass. The mass started at 9 and went for 3 hours. I only managed to a spot standing but it was about halfway up the people sitting, on the side, near the big tv, where I could see the people on the huge altar. The mass was outside, and the Pope was doing the mass. It was really amazing to see. The amount of people was unbelievable. When it was time for communion, a bunch of guys that looked like CIA agents came down with the priests giving the hosts and holding bright yellow umbrellas over the priests heads. There were probably about 40 priests that dispersed among the seated and standing people. When this happened, it turned into a pushing and shoving match. It was like being at a concert and everyone wants to get close to the stage. Somehow, I managed to get communion. I had also gotten palms on my walk into the Vatican from the boy scouts.The palms are different from what we get at home, theyre more like leaves. After i got sunburned and mass was over, I headed back to the center of the city. I went into the Colloseum and just wandered around the city for the rest of the day. I met up with the rest of my group, 'cause I had been on my own, at the Spanish steps. At the top of the steps you can see out over the rest of the city. We finished the night with pizza for dinner and some drinks at an Irish bar. Don't ask.
Day 6. We all went to the Vatican today to go inside. It was a neat building. There are 3 or 4 altars within the church. These altars have clear, see through, bases. Lying underneath the altar visible on the sides are the bodies of deceased Popes. At first, I would have bet they were real. While that seemed pretty unlikely, I found out later on why they looked so real. The truth may be just as weird and crazy as my thoughts of them possibly being real. After the Popes pass away, it may not be right away, but their bodies are taken and wax casts are made of their hands, feet, and heads. This, in turn, produces a cast that has all of the decomposing features of a body after death. Along with the grayish color of the wax casts, it looks pretty real. For one of the popes that was done up in this way, his actual body was in an urn hanging from the ceiling over his altar. It probably sounds very disturbing but the actual experience wasn't so repulsing, if that's how it sounds to you. We also went to the top of the dome of the Vatican. Being at the halfway point and looking down over the people below you gave you a much better idea of the scale of the building, and it is big. My Roman history teacher goes to Rome all the time. He's a great teacher, extremely interesting, and best of all gives you recommendations for where to eat in Rome. His one recommendation we remembered from class was, of course, one of the best gelato places called Giolottis. If you ever go there, or get back to Rome, you must go there! Usually, at other stands, you can get one scoop for 2 or 2,50 euros, 2 scoops for 2,50 or 3euros and 3scoops for 3 to 4 euros, and so on. This place though, has 3 HUGE scoops for 2,50, a large amount of flavors, and..the best tasting gelato out of any of the other places anywhere! After 3 weeks of intense gelato studying, I still think it's the best.
Day 7. Before we left on the train today, we had the morning and early afternoon to visit the Sistine Chapel. It was great to see. We then parted ways and I, along with a group of other people from my class, headed to Sorrento for the start of our sketch trip.
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