02 March 2008

Backpack, Day 9: Of Vatican and Various Drinks

Aaron and I have been planning our visit to the Vatican since he told me he was studying in Roma this semester. I have a minor Vatican-and-Catholicism related obsession, courtesy of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, and I was so excited to go see to the Vatican.

After a late wake up (like Shabbat at camp, except with the Pope and zero Yiddishkheit), Aaron and I made a quick stop at his Metro Station's cafe so he could have the world's smallest cup of coffee before taking the train over to the Vatican. It was pretty cool to cross from one country to another with just a crossing of the street. The Vatican's borders are pretty loose...no passport stamp! =(

World's smallest cup of coffee. Or, as the Italians say, "Breakfast."

The first thing we did was go to the Vatican Museum, where the guy behind the desk gave me the student discount by assuring me that I was 19 (I hear that a lot), even though I needed an international student ID card. Aaron and I wandered through such a huge priceless store of artwork, it blew my mind. We took a lot of funny pictures, in the school of AndrewES-and-SBB-go-to-the-Museum (acting out artwork), and I commented at one point that the Vatican smells like feet. It did...but just one hallway.

I love sculptures because I make faces with them.
Self-portrait fun in the Vatican Museum.
I love art.
Absolutely amazing.

Not 100% sure what we're seeing here. I want to say Da Popa, but then I know that I'm missing something. Pretty artwork with great lighting? That's for sure.

I love me some art. And blasphemy. Let us not forget my fondness for blasphemy.
We ARE capable of normal-faced pictures. Must've been subdued by the Holy See.
Noah's Ark, actual size. This is actually why you never see unicorns.

We followed the maze around until we got to the halls leading to the Sistine Chapel. We took plenty of pictures of the frescoes and other artwork, but they're not that good, and I hate to tell you, but you're just going to have to go to Rome and the Vatican yourself. (I know, I know...I'm SORRY.) When we finally got to the actual Chapel, it was the following things:

1. Small.
2. Crowded.
3. Impressive.
4. Marked by a bima (Hebrew for stage), and a Jesus-menorah (No, really, it was a sculpture of Jesus on the cross, with three candles on either size. He was the Shamash / tall candle. Bizarre.)

The Sistine chapel also had a mechitza (traditional Jewish congregations use these to separate men and women during prayer) that probably wasn't for what Jews use it for, and prophets frescoed at the tops of the walls. I felt like it could be turned into a synagogue pretty easily. Maybe I'm just used to Judeo-Christian worship space construction? Probably.
In the Sistine Chapel. I think this one is called "Yom Kippur". Just kidding.
The pictures would've been prettier, but the guard kept on telling me not to take pictures.

Sara Beth loves being silly with artwork.
Those are some LCD screens for Da Popa!

Aaron and I enjoyed the guard, who knew one English phrase: "No photography, please." Then we went to the big courtyard outside of the church and to see St. Peter's Basilica, which is shockingly NOT made out of basil. But we were hungry, so we peaced out and went to get food. We walked all the way to by his school, and got some pizza, at a place recommended by a friend. Again. So good. (Gelato count still at 2, sadly.)

St. Peter's Square.
Pretty bridge over the Tiber...on the way to get more food. Shocking.

After the pizza, we walked to the Trevi Fountain, but first we got GELATO (Gelato count: 3) at "the best place in Rome" - Aaron. It was pretty good. I think that time I got strawberry and chocolate, and this time, I got it in a cone. Yum! Anyway, the Trevi Fountain was crazy. It was so huge, and kind of just squashed in some little intersection. It was crawling with tourists, so I took a few pictures and then Aaron and I went to the Spanish Steps. They were pretty, but we were at the bottom of them, so they were not breathtakingly impressive. Just pretty cool.
Ahhhh, a delicious drink in a long, narrow can. Apparently, I like taking pictures of Aaron drinking.
Hi there, Trevi Fountain!
Trevi Fountain. Lovely. Beautiful.
More pretty fountain.

After the steps, we were both pretty beat, so we started on our way back to his apartment. We stopped at the Colosseum (amazing place to meet up, right?) to see his work friends. Aaron works for Pub Crawl Rome, which brings tourists on a trip around to a few bars and one club EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Aaron has school, so he doesn't work every night. He said hi to his friends and we went back to his place to chill out before we had a great Italian dinner at a place across from his apartment. I love pizza. (I think the pizza count will surpass gelato, but I don't feel like going back and counting.) And panna cotta. And tiramisu. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmm.

After dinner, we were off to Pub Crawl! The Pub Crawl meets at the Spanish Steps and that's where I sat, waiting for the party to start, when some crazy people in pajamas started doing some performance art. Afterwards, seeing as how I am more of an occasional sipper, I did not pay the full fee for the unlimited power hour and reduced cost drinks, but I did hang around with the group, and took a pretty crazy detour to the Tiber with Aaron to walk and talk. The rest of the evening included some youngin' girls on the crawl who complimented my dancing skills (I should go out dancing more) and then the inevitable rush home to crash into bed.
Kind of like Improv Everywhere, people filed into the Spanish Steps and they were "sleepwalking" around for a while, pretending to fall asleep on people's shoulders.
Aaron becomes a "victim."
Then they started with the tooth brushing concert. Their leader conducted with a toothbrush.
Instruments READY...and for the finale, they gargled and spit on the plaza in front of the Spanish Steps.
Night Tiber.

I had to get ready for my last day in Rome...and my trip back to the Land of Israel!

There was morning. There was evening.
The ninth day.

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