tvordlj: (Default)
The last two days in Rome involved more walking. And more walking. Oh god. But you have to, to see it all. On Thursday we saw a crypt in a church where the bones of 4000 Cappuchin monks are arranged in elaborate patterns, decorations and even light fixtures in 5 small chapels. It's truly bizarre. There's a little museum too. And it's one of those "no photos" things that always annoys me. I can understand not wanting people to take flash photos but sometimes i think it's just so they can sell the postcards and books in the gift shop. Because if it's disrespectful to take photos, it should be equally disrespectful to make a profit out of it, shouldn't it? They already charge entry which supports the museum. So i do manage to take some stealth photos especially after I see someone else doing it and not getting hollered at. It's an interesting if not a little unsettling place. The church above wasn't open to the public but apparently it's very nice.

We didn't get into any churches aside from St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel. I had hoped to see a few more but it just didn't happen. From the church, we went to a shop called Profondo Rosso which is a general sci fi shop filled with the usual suspects, masks, costumes, models etc. but the difference is that it's owned by italian horror film director Dario Argento and since [ profile] naturalbornkaos visited there, Graham was determined he had to see it too, being a horror film fan himself. There's also a little museum/exhibit in the basement and we got to see that for a small charge. It's got scenes and props from some of Argento's movies and it's all shadowy and lit in lurid colours. There's an audio track playing too, describing the various sections and how they relate to the various movies. It doesn't take long to see but it was kind of neat, even for me who doesn't really do horror films.

We did some shopping locally after that and walked along the Tiber for a little way as well, until we got to Castel Sant'Angelo, a former bastion of the medieval popes. it's very touristy in that area, with a square in front filled with market type stalls and vendors hawking all sorts of things to the tourists. Having said that, I did see some nice things there and bought a few Christmas presents.

Friday we had a tour booked for the Vatican Museums and since we figured it would be grueling, and it was, we didn't do much else. We went over to the Vatican area, had lunch and waited for the tour to start, around mid-afternoon. We were walked around and into the museums, into a courtyard where there are poster boards set up for guides to explain the highlights in the Sistine Chapel (because you aren't really supposed to be talking much while in there, so they tell you about the things to see so you can find them when you get in). We are walked down a long hallways of galleries to get to the Chapel, have 20 minutes in there and walk all the way back in the galleries in the floor below. The tours all do the same thing. You could stay on after and wander more of the museums if you have the time and  energy but the hard marble floors take it out of your legs and feet, let me tell you. We were finished and down the neat spiral ramp/staircase by about 5:30 and still hadn't seen the basilica so that was the next order of business. We had to trudge around the walls of the Vatican City from the museums to get to it, though a security check and in the end had about 15 minutes to see a bit of it before it closed. As it is free to see anyway, I suppose what we should have done was see that on our own first but for some reason i thought the tour included a guided tour of that too. 

The Basilica is enormous, as big as you think it is, it's much, much bigger, higher and elaborately adorned. I did get to see my favourite statue again, the Pieta by Michelangelo. It never fails to entrance me. It was dark by now but we did see the changing of the Swiss Guard in their colourful uniforms just outside the steps of the Basilica. It's not much of a changing of the guard, though, just two or three of them changing shifts but it's still neat. We were so tired by now that we decided to get a taxi back to the hotel.

In Rome, most of the squares have taxi stands and there's a large one in St. Peter's Square though when we got there, there was no cars. One came up and we went to get in and were pushed aside by a group of people who insisted they had been waiting first. Someone else grabbed the next one and when the third one came along I was ready fo fight for it if i had to! We got in and noticed the first group giving us nasty looks and milling aobut the cab they insisted they were having. I don't know why they weren't in it by that time but perhaps there were too many for the cab or had too much luggage. Too bad. You snooze you lose. They wanted it so they got it. I was going back to the hotel. Stuff them! ;)

We were pretty tired but dragged ourselves out to eat after about an hour. There were a few nice restaurants on the street where the hotel was and one of them was really really good so we went there again and enjoyed another good meal. Saturday was traveling most of the day, with two flights to get back here to Manchester. We took it easy yesterday and went out in the rental car to have a nice lunch with friends. No that was Sunday. yesterday we went to the War museum and got groceries.

More detailed blogs:
Day 4
Day 5
Back in the UK
And if you go here, you can see the various albums with Rome photos and one for the War Museum as well. There are even more photos on facebook if you have the stamina for it all.

The rest of this week will be lower key. Cooking for a friend tonight, out to dinner tomorrow night.We might take a day trip somewhere on Thursday and we're on the Road overnight to Sunderland on the northeast coast on Friday back on Saturday. The Manchester Christmas Markets open this weekend so i'd like to see that on Sunday before i go.
tvordlj: (Default)
We've been in Rome for three days now, two full ones and an evening. Unpredented weather... sunny and warm since we've been here! We never get that! I managed to get ahead of some blisters but have discovered one more tonight. Never mind, i'll wrap it up tomorrow. We have been walking lots and seeing lots of the sights. We took a hop on hop off bus tour around yesterday to get the lay of the land and wandered the little streets around the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navonna, dodging the many many hawkers trying to sells you things, primarily "cashmere" scarves and wraps but many other things as well. the Colosseum was infested with them on the outside grounds in particular.

We had a tour of the Colosseum today including the underground section, or the part of it that's been made safe and you can only get to see it as part of a tour. The tour will also take you up to the third level of the structure but i had had enough of steep uneven staircases. Graham went up and took pics for both of us instead. We had a horrible lunch in a cafe next to the Colosseum. Should have known better but we were desperate for a sit down and a drink. We tried to get into the Forum but couldn't find the entrance, the main one being blocked off and i didn't fancy going into the one for the Palantine Hill to climb that sucker to get to the forum so sod that for a game of Roman Soldiers. We found a taxi and went home, completely done in.

So aside from that cafe and one other that was mediocre on our first night as we were too early looking for proper food, the rest of the food has been great. There are a couple of good places just down from the hotel which we're also happy with. Staff is helpful, the room we have, a superior double, is a good size with a king size memory foam mattress. Bathroom also a nice size with a tub and shower instead of a tiny corner unit like many have. Even the included breakfast isn't so bad, and includes scrambled eggs along with the usual rolls, pastries, cereal, yogurt, some fruit. The juices are pretty awful though.

Oh and the wifi in the hotel works pretty well too! yay!

So if you want to read more detail, there's some blogging for:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
No photos uploaded yet aside from the few that are attached to the blog posts.
tvordlj: (astronaut cat DOH)
I guess we've escaped the winter weather bullet long enough! We had a little snow yesterday, with more predicted over the next few days including what may be a nasty snow and ice rain storm overnight and then the temp is going to drop to a daytime high of -15 and then raise up again to near 0. *sigh* That's going to make for a long week. Ang, can we have that shovel back? Actually i do own a small shovel, one of those that you buy to put in the trunk of your car for emergencies. I bought it last winter when i had a rental car for a couple of weeks over Christmas after i had it one weekend and had to kick the snow away from the car one morning nearly crippling my back.

Season 2 of Rome started last night but also a new episode of Brothers and Sisters and Desparate Housewives. I couldn't tape them all so something had to give and it was Brothers and Sisters. Too bad, too because that would have been the better choice to watch. I taped Rome's middle of the night repeat and watched Desparate which was on at the same time. Couldn't tape Brothers and Sisters because with the digital setup, i would have had to get up and change the channel manually. I wish i'd watched Rome then taped B&S because on DH, when Gabby's secret admirer turned out to be who it was, it didn't half put me off the show and i turned it off and went to bed in disgust. But i won't spoil it for you.

You know how toothpaste gives your mouth that fresh, cool feeling? I nearly had an arctic incident this morning. I nearly put a glob of that cool "ice" ointment on my toothbrush and just caught it as the gel hit the edge of the brush. Gave it a good scrub before using the proper paste but that could have been "interesting" You gotta love Monday mornings.
tvordlj: (Doctor Who)
hmm... the radio morning team that i listen to is broadcasting from a resort in Jamaica this week. Then they tell us that Hurricane Willma is headed for South Florida. That's awfully close to Jamaica isn't it? Hmmm again. looking at the satellite, i think it's missed Jamaica but they must be getting a lot of wind. I hope the news crew flies out before the weekend though.

Has anyone been watching the new HBO series, Rome? Wow it's great! Feels very authentic in it's look and content. A lot of the basic things that happened are touched on though of course there's artistic license. Ciaran Hinds is a very good Julius Caesar, i think, and James Purefoy is Mark Anthony. This week's episode had Caesar meeting Cleopatra who, when we first see her is smoking opium and dazed. They did the thing where she is presented to Caesar wrapped in a sort of canvas "body bag", as opposed to a rug but every story seems to have that in so perhaps it actually happened? or if not, it's now entrenched as legend so you have to include it. It was done in a less elaborate way though. She is tiny, gamine, elfin with short hair. I had only barely come off the emotional roller coaster of Six Feet Under's finale when Rome started and it's very different so i'm actually glad about that. Anyway it's a good series and if you get a chance to see it, do.

No spoilers because i don't think it's been shown in the UK yet? but anyone that hasn't seen SFU's last season yet, hang on to your chairs. The last episode is a bit longer than the rest (for vcr users) and will blow you away.

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