Volume 4 Book 4 of
Living in the Bonus Round
The seal of the Vatican city-state in the arch.
[ Book 4-3 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6A 6B ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ]
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June 15-20, 2005.
More Rome.As we were walking back from the medieval part of Rome, we came to this bridge which is lined with statues designed by Bernini. On the other side is Hadrian's tomb, now called Castel San Angelo. The story goes that during the Black Plague an angel appeared over the castle, sheathing a sword. It was taken to mean the end of the Plague. Later, they built a statue on top, which you can see in this picture of the angel.
One of the statues on the bridge.
Of course, Jim went gaga over the Pope hat in the window and the many gelato stands all over the city.
On our last day in Rome, we stood in a very long line to get into the Vatican Museum. The picture below is actually the courtyard of the museum.
As you go from one room to the next, each one is painted brilliantly from floor to ceiling by the greatest artists of Italy. This hallway is a brilliant example:
The hallway of maps. Each map is priceless. The ceiling, spectacular.
Room after room was covered in frescos. There are so many of them, and all of them so iconic, you start to lose track of yourself. It's like an all you can eat buffet. After awhile, you can't take anymore. I could fill a thousand pages with photos. Here isa sample:
All of it hand-painted.
The Sistine Chapel.
Then we came to the Sistine Chapel which was, of course, spectacular. We took a few pictures surreptitiously and the one above is about as good as we could do. When we got into the room, there were guards there shushing everyone and reminding us, NO PICTURES. Turns out that all the photographic rights belong to a Japanese TV network. They're the ones who paid for the restoration. I took this shot with my video camera poking out of the case.
At the end of the day, we decided to go back over to the Vatican because the first time we went, several days ago, we were rushed, there was a huge crowd and we really hadn't felt like we had seen everything. We got there later in the day and, sure enough, there was no line. So we decided to first go see the tomb of John Paul II. It was down in the catacombs where lots of other Popes were buried. Not fancy at all, it was a simple marble slab with his name on it. In front were flowers and candles left by admirers -- and, of course, two baskets full of cash.
We toured the various tombs and then, as a goodbye went back up to St. Peter's Basilica. And what a sight. All the chairs from two days before had been cleared out, so the floor was expansive, there were virtually no other persons around and the sun was shining through, making for a startling image:
I had finally gotten over all my skeevy feelings and felt enveloped by the beauty and the history of this place. It might not be my religion, but I know that this place means a lot to a great many people. After three days in Rome, I know we had barely scratched the surface. I was loving this city more and more every single day. I so look forward to going back again.
PRESENT DAY UPDATE:
Jim's upper respiratory infection is almost gone. He has a little residual cough now and then, but he's basically back. I'm so glad. I hate it when he's sick.
I have rescheduled my eye surgery for June 30th. It should be easy and no big deal, according to the doctor, so I'm not going to stress out over it. Instead, I'm going to just imagine myself with two eyes that actually look forward in the same direction. It will be so different after several years of several crossed eyes.
© 1996-2005 by Steve Schalchlin.You have permission to print from this diary and distribute for use in support groups, schools, or to just give to a friend. You do not have permission to sell it.