7th May 2008 - Day 10 (Rome)
After my morning meet with the Pope, I make my way back to the square to meet up with my arranged tour of the day! I went with Romaround Tour because the lady, Elaine was very knowledgeable and made us feel comfortable. After signing up for their Colisuem tour with Roberto (which we bumped into by chance and joined it. Wtf LOL), they gave us a complimentary tour of the Palatino Hill which Elaine made immensly intriguing. It was just a pile of ruins as you can see here but her words and passion for the history alone made the whole place come to life. As if by magic, I see the assassin of the Domitian Flavian come to life. Thank you Elaine.
Elaine is canadian and she was very easy to understand. They claim that all their guides have English as their first language. Except for Roberto I guess - since he's the owner and a native.
Anyway moving on, we paid €45 for Adult (includes Admission Fee of €19.50) for a 3 hour guided tour of the whole place. Before coming by here, I knew and was prepared for the amount of money I have to spend on guides. Rome is a wonderful city, immensely rich with history and what's left today are mostly ruins that can only come alive if you know about such stuff or you have a guide.
The Vatican City is a HUGE HUGE HUGE place. I don't have forever in Rome so we decided to just splurge, enjoy the best the Vatican has to offer and be off to the other places.
Before we embarked on this trip to Rome, neither Duckie nor I had any particular interest in Renaissance art. I was, as usual, flippant, about it all, just wanting to see everything with an empty open mind. And Duckie, as usual, is strongly inclined to everything chinese only.
What we didn't know is that I'll walk out a fan of Michangelo's Sculptures and Duckie, a fan of mythical sculptures by various artists.
Enough of TALK. Here's the Vatican Museuem and the experience of a lifetime.
The entrance whispers of the secrets it holds within.
Sorry, I just had to take a couple more pictures of the clowned swiss guards.
The Vatican Gardens. I don't know why I took a picture of the cone. It looked really majestic though. Looking out onto the gardens.
The gardens. It was a freaking hot day. Impossibly scorching! It wasn't too bad once I stepped into some shade but otherwise, it was SCORCHING in every sense. The guide had to choose this place here to give a introduction to the Sistine Chapel.
Here's some random pictures here and there of the Vatican Museum inside, taken while I was gawking at some painting or having my breath taken away from the stories Elaine told.
Everything was huge! From the paintings, to the domes to even this bowl (above)!
One of the main sculptures that we did see was the Laocoon (above) was over 1500 years old when it was found when Michelangelo was alive.
All through my primary, secondary and tertiary education, museums were boring (read: the ones I've been to) as boring could ever mean. But the Vatican... one word: SPECTACULAR.
The guide brought the otherwise passive marbled statues to life. They represented blood, war, victory, love, sex, good and bad. It was all very surreal.
There is the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms, a Caravaggio, a Leonardo, and three Raphaels. The Transfiguration by Raphael is nothing short of breath taking. It was painted for St. Peter's but because of the risk of dry rot it was moved to the Pinacoteca in the Vatican. Again, I cannot stress how big everything was. The paintings were amazing, but the first thing that always was in awe of was how big they were.
A4? What's A4? They have paintings that fill the WHOLE ceiling. And they certainly don't scrimp on the stories they can tell on even a large space.
There's so much more but what fun is there if I show you everything? =)
GROSS PHOTOS AHEAD!
So I was in Rome when I got myself the BIGGEST, JUICEST Blister in my life.
So painful! I mean it was alright if I didn't touch it. It was making me limp when I put my socks and shoes on. It was bothering my middle toe because the bloatness was growing into the "personal" space of the middle toe's!
I knew I had to do something after 3 days of walking with it. The situation deteriorated each day too.
I mustered up all the courage I never thought I had and popped it.
It was an amazingly satisfying feeling to squeeze the "juice" all out. SICK. But damn shiok leh! Surprisingly there was no pain. I used the hotel sewing needle and gently prodded it. And the "juice" oozed out.
Whewww!! I was so glad I let Duckie, my travel partner, convince me to do it! I walked a lot easier the next day and enjoyed my trip better!!
P.s.: This was way back in May 2008
Ok my next project is to FINISH blogging about my Europe trip. It's been like LONG overdue. So I shall. I did up the above little timeline - it'll come in useful when following me on my "backpacking" trip! So excited!