It’s now September 2nd. Our second, yet first full day of our trip. We went downstairs into the hotel restaurant and had breakfast. Talk about a great breakfast! This wasn’t your complimentary Days Inn Express breakfast. No. Even though it was complimentary, it was extremely lavish: all different types of croissants, cappuccino, espresso, champagne, different juices and fruits. Eggs, bacon, an assortment of Italian meats and different cheeses….
We had decided to go to the pantheon earlier, but Dave wanted to go to the Vatican. After standing in line, we get to the entrance and I got turned away for not wearing a shirt.
Let me rephrase that.
You see, when you visit the Vatican and enter the Basilica, your shoulders and knees MUST be covered. Although I was wearing a dress, it was strapless. I had a feeling this would happen since I had read about it, but because of our last minute change in plans, we decided to wing it in the hopes the guards would let me through. No chance.
So, we walked toward the Pantheon and after about two miles, we grabbed a cab. It was one of the few times we did that. The weather, although not a cloud in the sky, was hotter than hell, so after the two mile walk we realized the Pantheon
was farther than we originally thought and cabbed it the rest of the way. Once we arrived, we sat at one of the cafe’s outside of the pantheon. The Pantheon is surrounded by glorious shops, cafe’s, boutiques and bakeries.
Did I mention everyone smokes here? I mean, how can they afford it? I’ve noticed people who roll their own cigarettes, or some who smoke the really skinny cigarettes, but nevertheless, there are smokers everywhere.
In addition to smokers, you also see beggars and the poor. It broke my heart to see a young girl sitting on the sidewalk with a small baby in her arms begging for money so she could have food. People live in RV’s on the street. There are also numerous street peddlers and homeless people.
Speaking of street peddlers, a word of caution: If you ever go to Rome and some guy comes up to you and hands you a rose, do NOT
accept it. Once it’s placed in your hands it becomes yours and you MUST pay for it. The street peddlers were relentless. Want a collapsible wooden bowl? Got one for ya! Need a parasol? Got that too! How about some ripped off expensive handbags? Calendars? Religious stuff?
Every other store was a religious store. Anything you could possibly imagine of a religious nature could be found there. We even saw Pope Bobble Heads.
One thing Dave and I seemed to notice is that it appears the national past time in Rome of picking your nose in public and flicking the booger. Yes – Booger Flicking. I’m still trying to determine if that’s worse than spitting in public in China.
We also found it funny that there was a busload of school children who were making a field trip to some public Ruin. I saw the looks on their faces through the bus windows and they appeared to be stating, “Jesus, not another ruin.”
I found this funny because in the states we have no ruins. Nothing that you can go back to the days of Constantine and remark, “Hey! this was from B.C. days!” However, if the kids in Rome ever had a chance to see Chicago, their jaws would drop open. Talk about a culture shock!
Other observations: I feel sorry for pigeons. Although people like to feed them (which is the reason they have no issues walking right next to your feet in a cafe), they have to bob their heads to walk. It looks painful. I wonder if they ice their necks down at the end of the day.
I also wonder why there are so many grown men who talk together in groups outside on the street during the day and smoke. They’re like girlfriends going to lunch.
We noticed a peddler with a cheap New Year’s tin foil hat playing the same song over and over and over. The music was like a cross between Hatfield and McCoy music and Bonnie Raitt. Where is the traditional Italian music? IS there any traditional Italian violin music?
I noticed numerous burquas. Good for the Congo. Not good for Olympic volleyball.
Once we got back to our hotel room, Dave and I took a 3 1/2 hour nap. WTF???? 3 1/2 hours?! This was after our Pantheon visit, long lunch and another cocktail break. We woke up at 7:30 p.m. laughing at the time we spent sleeping and had dinner at a restaurant we didn’t know existed which was around the corner of where the hotel was (there were a lot of restaurants we didn’t know existed, but we found them!) I had my first rum and diet coke. The rum was Havana 7 and it’s STRONG. We also tried our first pizzas here in Italy.
This particular place didn’t believe in pizza cutters.
Did You Know?
The origin of the Vatican Basilica is attached to the name of Constantine the Great (who was a Pagan). His role as founder of the building is historically probable, albeit not documented, indeed, some have speculated it might have been his son, Constant. The link between the tomb of the Apostle and the universal power of the Roman Emperor was the basic idea of the undertaking. The building itself was a testament to this; its presence was so mighty that it itself assumed the character of a source sufficient enough to give rise to a historical tradition.
And, that it has.