Friday, April 5, 2013

A Roman Holiday

Praise the Lord- we have a steady Internet connection!!  One of many things for which we are grateful.  One of those is that we survived our 24-hour ferry ride from Civitavecchia, a sketchy port north of Rome, to my 2004-2005 stomping ground of Barcelona.  We had a fabulous time drinking wine with most of the other cheapskates who didn't spring for a cabin on the ferry, which was essentially a cruise ship, complete with a casino, gym, cafe, and bar.  During the unforgettable voyage, we traded travel stories with a young Michigan couple, a Romanian Hell's Angel, and a Mexican politician and his wife.  Amazing face-to-face communication happens between human beings in the absence of the Internet, as was the case aboard the vessel (unless you wanted to pay 8 euro for an hour of spotty access, that is).  

The situation being that we have a ton of photos accumulated that require an Internet connection in order to share with you, I will take advantage of our newfound wifi (at the home of an awesome Colombian family we found through Airbnb, our lodging savior on this trip) to post some photos of Rome.  Using a glass of Don Simon wine (packaged in a box, it costs 1.45 euro and was regularly consumed by me from 2004-2005 during my stint as an English teacher in the fine city of Barcelona) as inspiration, I will describe our stay in the Eternal City of Rome.

  Recently arrived.  Oh, so fresh, so innocent, yet to experience a week in Rome....  

 Our little cabin at the Euro-campground an hour outside of Rome.  It was dirt cheap, clean, and fairly well-connected to the city.  The fact that we had to make such a long trip into and out of town helped us to organize our activities and not to "overdo" it.

The campground bar.

Political poster at the train station.  This dude's facial expression is saying "vote for me, or else"...

There was A TON of graffiti all over Rome.  If only it was all this colorful- unfortunately most of it was just scribbling...

One of our many cappuccinos.  Exquisite.

Santa Maria Maggiore cathedral.  We liked it better than the more famous St. Peter's.

More Santa Maria Maggiore.

Santa Maria Maggiore.

A bunch of priests in Santa Maria Maggiore.

I don't recall precisely what building this is, but it's architecture is typical of Rome.

Who wants to pay 110 euro for "distressed" shoes?  Not us.  We ought to sell them our hiking boots, which are in the same condition...

Deciding which way to go....

The Roman Forum.  

Segway tourists learning to use their vehicles.  Always awkward-looking.

Palace of Umberto I.  

I like the flying lions adorning the palace.

A rainy Roman day.

This "old town" is REALLY old.  The foundation dates to several centuries B.C.

Old Town cat.

I didn't pay much attention to Roman history in school because I thought it was insufferably boring, but geez, they really got around!  On this trip, we have yet to set foot in an area unconquered by these folks.

The Colosseum.  It is indeed colossal.  We didn't go in, due to the Eternal City's eternal lines of tourists, but we could appreciate its size, stalking it from around the periphery.

Pretending I went inside.

Yep, it's big.

Couldn't resist.

There were several people doing this stunt around the city during Holy Week.  

"The Pope", just chilling.

Cute horse.

The Pantheon.

Inside the Pantheon.


Homer the Renaissance Man.

Trevi Fountain.  Pretty glorious.  A LOT of people also thought so.

A Rome subway stop.  For my nursing friends, or any unfortunate souls who are familiar with this medication.

Easter Sunday Mass at St Peter's Square.  I like how they put the Port-a-Potties between the columns so you can't see in.  Very nice of them.

The crowd.

Hey, Pope Francis!

If you zoom in on the balcony, perhaps you can spot a microscopic Pope Francis.  Some girls at our campground got into the mass because one of them was in a wheelchair due to a broken leg.  Thus, they possess "bragging rights", whereas we do not so much.

  Some sort of parade after the mass.

  St Peter's Square.  It was pretty cool, though not aesthetically my favorite, I must say.


My favorite part of St. Peter's Basilica.

St Peter's Basilica, after waiting in line for an hour.

Geez, I wish I could remember the name of this structure.  It served as a castle, prison and fortress at different times in history.

Break dancers.

Street artist.

Street clown- the best one we've seen.

Oh, happy day!  Very surprised and thrilled to see an American gospel group on the Spanish Steps on Easter Sunday!

A Roman aqueduct.

Some of the nice street art.

Kickin' it.

Lounging in front of Santa Cecilia cathedral.

Ceiling of this cathedral, which covers an ancient underground Christian church.

Saint Cecilia is buried here.

Live organ music.

Paleo-Christian dwelling.

Ancient underground church.  Simply stunning.

Pomegranate decoration- never seen this in a church before.  

Portico of Octavius.  He dedicated the monument to his sister in about 50 A.D.  


Street scene from an ancient restaurant.

One of my only photos of Civitavecchia, the "port of Rome".  Not the kind of place to whip out a camera.  So here is a cat, playing with a dead gecko, near some cactus, in the ferry waiting area.  About as exciting as waiting here for eight hours.

Finally about to board the three-hours late ferry!  With some new friends, and hundreds of Italian teenagers singing pop songs very loudly, and chain-smoking.

  Near, far, wherever you are...

Can't say we were sad to leave you, Rome, as we reached our pizza and pasta limit, and I must say that you house some remarkably rude residents, but because of you, we appreciate all of our other destinations that much more.  And you admittedly contain some amazing sights!  So thank you, and peace out :)

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