Saturday, November 13, 2010

First Stop- Rome

We flew into Rome and stayed in a hotel in town, Residenza Antica, it was smack in the middle of the Spanish Steps, the Triton Fountain, and the Trevi Fountain. Great location.
Upon arriving we unpacked a bit and then went right out (to try to beat our jet lag). We took a tour from Vas Tours called 'Christian Rome'. They took us to see the Catacombs, the churches Santa Maria Major and Santa Giovanni Laterano. The Catacombs were cool but at the same time slightly disappointing because we were unable to take pictures and there wasn't as much early Christian art as I thought I'd see. The two churches were big, beautiful, and ornate.
Day 2: We used the same tour company as the day before and did their tour, 'Cesar's Rome'. This took us to the Colosseum, the Forum, and to the church Saint Peter in Chains (where Michelangelo's famous Moses is). Both days we had the same tour guide. Her name was Sandra. We enjoyed her knowledge a lot. What did I think of the Colosseum, it must have been beautiful in its day. But I was surprised that it is said to of seated up to 60,000. It seems so small compared to a modern stadium, yet seats almost as many. I find myself skeptical of its ability to do so.
What remains of Hadrian's Temple
Day 3: We walked to the Vatican. On our way we stopped at the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Four Rivers Fountain. Seeing the city and how the old and the new have been intertwined was awesome. Our favorite example of this is in the Piazza di Pietra, where a newer building has been built upon the foundation of the Temple of Hadrian, incorporating the columns from the temple into the side of the building. I was also impressed with the grand feeling of the Pantheon. It is no wonder that that building has continued to be used for 2100 years. Our path then continued to pass by the Castel Sant'Angelo then to the Vatican. We had 

arranged to do a tour through the Vatican's official tours. Our tour guide said that she lives in the Vatican state and is married to a Swiss Guard. We love the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms, but it was sad how much more there is to see and how little we were taken to see. It all felt so rushed, and our tour was 4 hours from being to end (said it was only going to be 3 but it took longer). I enjoyed what we did get to see. I liked that everywhere (with the exception of the Sistine Chapel) you were allowed to take pictures as long as your flash was off. After this day were were so tired. I had blisters from my shoes.
Day 4: Sunday. We would have loved to attend an LDS service in Rome, but after looking where the ward's meet and the schedule we had to keep we knew that it wasn't going to be possible. Instead of missing church completely we decided to honor the sabbath by attending mass at a church near our hotel. We had asked our guild, Sandra, from earlier if she knew of churches in the area that offered mass in English. She recommended Santa Susanna, the American church in Rome. This was very near our hotel and we walked there for their first service and had time to walk back to check out in time. We checked out of hotel and traveled to the ship. Ah finally on the ship. I love cruising. I loved Rome. Wish I bought a shirt that said "I heart Gelato" 

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