Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 21, Roma (evening). So, the saga continues. I had a great day walking myself silly, but it was worth every step. After getting together with the Pope at "his place", I went outside and found the tour-bus and boarded. It had started raining very hard, thankfully I had a nice BIG umbrella from one of my friends in Rome, so I was high and dry. I stayed on the bus until I saw a stop for the Fontana de Trevi. I decided to get off at that point and see the "watering hole" made famous by the movie Three Coins in the Fountain. It is beautiful. I took a couple of pictures, and put TWO coins in the fountain. One for me and one for Jennifer. Putting a coin promises, it is said, a return to Rome. Next time, Jennifer can join me. I stayed for about 45 minutes and exchanged pleasant greetings with one or two folks. We traded taking pictures for eachother.

I went into the Metro station and saw on the map that I was within walking distance of the Colosseo, so I went back up to the street and headed there. On the way, I came across a beautiful momument, the Momumento a Vittoria Emanuele II and in the back was a Renior exhibit. I've always enjoyed this particular artist, so I paid my 7.5 Euros and took a long look. Seeing his work was wonderful. Something I recommend if you ever have the chance.

On the way out of the museum, I stopped at the "information" desk and asked about the David statue. Now, everyone -- I mean EVERYONE knows that the statue is in Florence. Except me, of course, but things happen for a good reason and the young lady behind the desk told me of a famous Michelangelo sculpture at S. Pietro in Vincoli. In fact, she said, it was the most famous sculpture in Rome. So, map in hand, I found my way there and found Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses. This is the famous, one many of you have seen, with horns in Moses' head. A beautiful piece of work. When visiting this venue, one needs to climb around 75 steps, but let me say it was worth it.

OK, so off to the Colosseo. I found a cute little bistro for a quick bite of lunch and then wandered around the curved streets looking for a way into the Colosseo. As I turned a tight corner, it was in front of me. In contrast with the cars, people walking and television antennas, it was a strange and wonderful site. Once I bought a ticket and get inside the Colosseo, I found it was worth all the effort.

Pretty much exhausted by now, I found my back to the tour-bus stop and headed for Ottavanio. I found a cool little cyber-joint, they call them internet points in Italy, and spent a bit doing what I like to do best -- oh, except for sightseeing throughout Europe, that is!! You believe me, right??

More tomorrow.....

Tuesday, May 21. Rome. Well, I've said it time and again --- "You gotta be in the right place at the right time!!"

I was out and about this morning at 9 a.m. and caught the bus to Ottaviano. I decided to look for a tour-bus and decided the best place for that was at the Vatican. The Vatican is a short walk from the bus stop. It's hard to miss, as thousands of people were headed in that direction. As I got closer, I could see Basilica S. Pietro (St. Peter's Basicilica for you non-Italian speakers!), so I followed the crowd.

As we enter the Vatican grounds, we passed through security -- which, by the way was very easy -- almost nothing, really. The person watching the xray machine screen was busy having a heated discussion with a co-worker, but who knows for sure. I then noticed the crowd moving toward the Basilica itself, so went along with them and entered the building.

I just kept walking into the deeper part of the Basicila. The first picture is what I saw. Very beautiful and impressive. As I continued around, I saw there were barriers here and there, and when I came to the deepest part I could get into, I asked what was happening. "The Pope will pass here just after 10 a.m.," I was told. "Here??!!". "Si, si." So, I thought -- what the heck, I'll spend a half-hour and see the Pope.

The rest is what you see in the photos. At one point, the Pope passed with 18-inches of me and, as I put out my hand, he shook it and blessed me! OK, not bad for a Jewish boy from the States -- Right??!!

With that experience in hand, I made my way to the exit to find the tour-bus. After all, I figured that everything was going to go right today. It started out pretty well, don't you think??

More later....