Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Oh, the Places You'll Go: Rome

Through the looking glass. 

So basically I went to Europe for about three weeks and I discovered a lot and learned a lot and walked even more and stuff happened. (The end. (Kidding!)) 

Prepare yourselves for long posts with lots of pictures. (I warned you.)


We went to a whole bunch of different countries, but the first place we went was Rome. I got to spend my birthday at the Colosseum (WHICH WAS SO DARN COOL!) We got a taxi to the hotel when we landed and the ride was alright. You know, the usual. Buildings, people, cars, people driving cars like madmen, trees, whatever. Then, all of the sudden, BAM! The Colosseum was right in our faces. It was huge and old and awesome and amazing. The next day we got to go inside and it just blew my mind that they built this thing about 2,000 years ago... and it's still standing. (Granted they've renovated it and stuff, but still.) According to my audioguide, it was built in only 10 years with the help of 40,000 slaves. This thing is 189m (615ft) long and 156m (510ft) wide. THAT IS HUGE. *brain explodes* We took lots and lots of pictures and selfies and panoramas and photobombed each other, which was a lot of fun. 

They were doing restoration work while we were
there, which you can't really see in this picture. 

I would like to take a moment to discuss the tall, intimidating statues everywhere. It's like they stand there and stare at you, trying to make you feel bad about yourself or something because you're not made of marble and they are. (Or maybe that's just me.) The statues were beautiful, in any case. 


This is one of the statues on top of the Tomb of the
Unknown Soldier (which was a beautiful building, by the way.)
This statue is so huge, imposing and intimidating that you can see it from
miles away. (We were also being mean and telling each other to not blink
 the entire time because Rome is crawling with statues. Who knows
which ones are Weeping Angels?)

Other things of mild significance: The letters S.P.Q.R. were everywhere, which puzzled me to no end. (I didn't take history in senior, ok? Don't judge.) As it turned out, it's a Latin phrase that's a symbol of the Ancient Roman government and now of the city of Rome. 

Also, I pretty much walked around Rome saying "NO I DO NOT WANT TO BUY A %Q$!@TH^ SELFIE STICK!!" There were street vendors selling them everywhere. I have never seen so many selfie sticks in my entire life. 

Another tall, imposing statue. 

On Sunday, we got to see the Pope give his Sunday speech thing, which was pretty cool. I'm not Catholic but I went to a Catholic school so I appreciated it a bit more than when I was in a public school. (Well, we didn't see him, we saw him on a TV screen but he was there and we were there and it counted.)

We saw the speech at the Vatican, and soon after the crowds thinned we headed to St. Peter's Basilica. (St. PB+J for short.) This is actually the biggest church in the entire world. I measure the height of buildings by how dead you are if you jump off the top. (Stay with me here.) At our current church, you'll be fine but you might break a leg if you land wrong. At our old church in Canada, you would probably die and you'd definitely break both legs if you were lucky. At St. PB+J you would be strawberry jam. (Morbid, I know.)

The outside of St. PB+J. (See those people?
Yeah, that's how big this church was.)

First of all, it was a beautiful, huge and opulent basilica. There was obviously a huge budget behind it and the end result showed it. However, it made me just a little angry. There were people begging outside, so we (Christians/Catholics) built a ginormous basilica? I'd much rather belong to the religion who puts people before a building. 

The inside. 

Also, beneath almost every monument there was a Pope buried. Now, I happen to know that the Pope lives in the Vatican, where St. PB+J is. If I were him, I'd get really upset because you'd be literally living across the street from your tomb. It's not like you can ignore it, either, because the thing is so massive. How would that be for a wake-up call? Good morning, world, BAM! The place where you'd be buried. It would not be a great start to my day.

Just to help give you an idea of the size, here. You see those letters?
You can kind of compare them to the size of the people standing
underneath the windows. If you look in the previous picture, you
can see how big the letters are compared to the height of the building.
MIND=BLOWN.

The food in Rome was utterly amazing, and we had pizza and gelato all the time. (It probably wasn't the greatest for our health, but whatever. When in Rome, right?) 

It was also kind of scary. There have been lots of terrorist attacks/threats in Europe lately, so in response security had been stepped up. Soldiers with giant guns were everywhere, and any tourist attraction we went in had a security check of some sort. It put me on edge, to say the least. 

This is the Trevi Fountain.
It was so relaxing to sit and watch it. 

Rome was probably my least favourite city we visited. While it was amazing with beautiful architecture, history and food (oh, the food), the atmosphere was really difficult to deal with. We had a taxi driver abandon us in the rain because there were five of us and not four... And we had a train to catch. None of us speak any Italian (yeah, I know, that was our fault and not theirs but it still made things difficult. Most of them spoke English, anyways) so that was hard, and we found for every nice Roman there was a jerk to be found. (See the taxi driver above.) Plus, the soldiers set me on edge (even though I was glad they were there). So yeah. I'm glad we went but I don't know if we'd be going back. 

Well, jabberwockies, that's it for this week. Have you ever been to Rome? Would you like to go? If you could see only one major tourist attraction in Rome, which one would it be? Next week, I'll talk about visiting the Floating City...

10 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting, even if it wasn't the most welcoming place! I can't believe how huge the buildings are! As always, you seem to have captured some awesome pictures.

    I have a hard time even dealing with airport security, so I'm not sure I'd enjoy that heavy of security everywhere.

    I look forward to seeing more pictures and posts of your travels!

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    1. I KNOW, RIGHT??? They were enormous and huge and amazing and made Australia look very small. And thank you very much, I'm pretty proud of them (if I'm allowed to say that :) )

      Yeah, I don't like airport security, either. Thanks for commenting!!

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  2. I've never been to Rome, but it looks beautiful from the pictures you took! I know that my grandfather would like to take us there, I think, but I do not think he is in a good enough health condition to go on such a trip (but he hasn't come to that conclusion yet...)

    Still, it's too bad it was your least favorite city. I mean, I'm sure compared to going to the garbage dump as a field trip it was great by those standards, but I also understand how it might be a little disappointing. I went to London and it was kind of overwhelming and disappointing and not as cool as it was on TV—so I understand that even if a place is cool in reputation and architecture, it's still okay to find it less than you imagined it to be.

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    1. It was very beautiful. Hahaha, your grandfather sounds awesome.

      Well, I say least favourite city, and that's true. But when Rome gets a 7/10 and everything gets a 9 or a 10/10... *shrugs* (And I loved London! Then again, I didn't have high expectations to begin with. I'm sorry it didn't live up to your expectations.)

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  3. I am absolutely in love with your building height measurement system. *nods* Little Miss Morbid approves.

    I don't think I would have learned what S.P.Q.R. stood for if I hadn't taken two years of Latin in high school, so don't feel bad. :P

    Oh my goodness, in medieval history class I would get so angry at how the Pope and his peeps wrung money from the peasants and took advantage of the innocents just so they could build better looking churches. I have no desire to bash Catholics, especially modern-day Catholics who aren't responsible for what happened in the past, but I doubt those who were building the showy buildings were actually following God in their hearts. If they had been, they would have been giving money to the poor, not taking it. *nods* But I could literally talk for hours about all the problems I have with the medieval Catholic church, so I will just shut up now. :P

    Ick, sorry it was scary for you. I totally understand, though, why the heightened security measures would be stressful. I'm glad you had fun though! All your pictures were wonderful. Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. Thank you, thank you very much.

      Hahaha, cool :) I feel less uneducated now.

      I KNOW, RIGHT??? I think people come first, buildings come last. I have quite a few Catholic friends and they're all awesome, so I've decided to hold a grudge against the medieval Church and only the medieval Church.

      Thanks so much! Thanks for commenting!

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  4. I'm so jealous! I'd love to go to Rome; there's so much history there. The thing about jumping off the churches had me in stitches. I'll never look at a church the same way!

    Can't wait to hear more!

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    1. I know, every building you saw had history behind it. Hahaha, thank you, I'm glad you thought it was funny!

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  5. I WOULD LOVE TO GO TO ROME SO SO SO SO MUCH. I've never been to Italy but I study Latin and obviously Italian painters are some of the most important so in terms of art and literature it is the CITY OF MY HEART and also ... pizza?

    "they stand there and stare at you, trying to make you feel bad about yourself or something because you're not made of marble and they are." --> I hate when that happens ;)

    Seriously, great post! Lovely photos. That church is absolutely amazing, but so much yes to the anger about the cost of it. I guess we want to glorify God, but if we actually read the gospels we see that Jesus tells us to do that through our actions, with the Greatest Commandment being love your neighbour. But that is HARD and it is a lot easier to build a massive building yelling "I'm spending so much money on God! I'm a great person!" I guess that's what the Pharisees do when they pray loudly on street corners, wearing long robes and heaping up empty phrases, as Jesus said.

    Anyway, great post and I'm looking forward to the rest of this series. I love travel posts. Looking forward to writing on Chile.

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    1. You studied Latin??? I am impressed. I have to admit I'm not very interested in Italian painters? Or painters in general? (I just like looking at pretty things.) But that's so cool that you're interested in that and I hope you get to go one day :)

      I KNOW, RIGHT? Statues seriously need a lesson in making others feel good about themselves. They're so judgemental.

      Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed them.

      You just summed up my thoughts perfectly. Isn't it sad that it's so much easier for us to build a massive church (I don't even want to think of all the work that went into that building) than it is for us to love our neighbour? It's sad what that says about us as the human race.

      Yes, I'm so excited to read all about Chile! Thanks for commenting, Emily!

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Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions! I'd love to hear from you. Please note that I reserve the right to delete comments that I think are hurtful.