Ouch. The incomers shove me further into the subway train. I am starting to sweat from the lack of breathing room. So this is what claustrophobics feel like. We are packed like sardines in a can. The short lady next to us holds a shawl across her arm, enabling her to slyly move her hand and unzip Mom’s bag. It’s hard to feel this happening, when you are skin-to-skin with so many other people. But Mom notices and yanks her purse back, and at the next stop, short lady-thief scurries off.
I run after her, sock her in the face, and yell “Buona Notte, biatch!”…
–Only Kidding. But a very small part of me would have found that extremely satisfying.
Anyways, Buongiorno from my hotel room! Welcome to day 7. It’s officially been a week in Europe. And in some senses I feel like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye, and in other sense I feel like I’ve been here forever! (Probably the feeling you get when you maximize the events of your day, like we’ve been.) This morning we said Ciao to Daniel, as he left back home today. So it’s just me and Mom now for the rest of our trip!
Today we went to Vatican City, the city headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It is also home to some of the world’s most impressive art and architecture–oh, and the Pope. Who, I’ve gotta be honest with you, I know nothing about. Not even his name. But I do know that Donald Trump was here visiting the Pope a few days before us! Bummer, we missed our fellow American. Anyways, the line for entrance was crazy long. But it wasn’t the wait that killed us, it was the vendors. They DO. NOT. LEAVE. YOU. ALONE. I mean–they are absolutely relentless while you are waiting in line. Even when ignored, they just keep talking to you! Trust me–I don’t love to sass people but these guys were just asking for it. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Chang vacation without forgetting the camera battery at least one day. Yep. As soon as I got into the Vatican museums, I realized I couldn’t even use my bulky Nikon that I had been hauling around, because I left the battery charging at the hotel. I guess I take after you, @Dad. Thus, enjoy these ~iphone quality~ images of some of the renowned artwork.
And here we have the stunning ceiling within the Sistine Chappel. Where Michaelangelo painted one of the most influential artworks of all time as a foundational work of Renaissance Art. The over-5000 feet long ceiling painting took Michaelangelo 4 years to finish, and it remarkably tells the story of the creation of Man, depicting scenes from the book of Genesis. I mean holy cow, just look at the detail of this thing. Plus–fun fact: did you know that Michaelangelo wan’t even a painter? He was a sculptor. So perhaps that gives hope to all you non-painters, right?
And lastly, St. Peters Basilica, the Italian renaissance church. The pictures don’t do the beauty inside, justice. It was just breathtaking, the work stretching floors and floors up, within this church. There was even service going on while we were there! How they manage to have service with all the tourists exploring the place, I don’t know. But a few tips about this place–you cannot wear anything above the knees. You cannot show the shoulders, either. I was asked to put on a sweater before entering…
From here, we walked around the rest of Rome, stopping by sites like the Pantheon, a former Roman temple, and the Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge. And of course getting gelato along the streets, in the extremely hot sun.
I gotta tell you, though. When taking the subway here, you have GOT to be careful. We had a few incidents in the crowded subways where people would run into the subway as soon as doors opened, take items from tourists, then run out before the doors closed. And that story, about Mom getting her satchel unzipped on the subway? Yeah, that happened here, between the Pantheon and Roma Termini, the stop before our hotel.
So a little more on our guard, we headed out to take in the last of Rome. We went to Pompi, a tiramisu place that apparently had “The best Tiramisu in ALL of Italy”, and we ordered a delicious, creamy strawberry tiramisu pictured on the left. We passed by street artists, performers, vendors, and all the vine-covered copper tone walls and we headed back to our hotel.
We finished off our day with a Korean meal–yes I know–why get Korean food when in Italy. But after a while, we just started craving it. Don’t get me wrong, all the pizza, pasta, bread, was exquisite, but your Korean ladies out here at some point miss their Korean food. It was expensive, but actually very good!
So that’s that! Rome in 2 days. The sites were stunning, and the food was wonderful, but I was really taken aback by the weirdos in the streets and the uncleanliness of the city. It set a–well–unstable feeling while walking around, especially at night and in crowded areas. So if I could do it again, I would choose to stay in a safer, more country-side town, like suburbs of Tuscany, and make a day trip out of Rome to hit all the sites–because those are definitely worth the visit. Our day in Positano, however, was simply the best. All in all, Italy was a beauty. And I know I will be back someday, again. Now time to check this one off my dreamer’s bucket list.
Arrivederci! — See you soon Italy.
Off to Paris, XOXO