Rome, if not the cradle of European civilization, was definitely the center of it for thousands of years. The senate, the emperors, and the papacy, so much of what is right and wrong with Western civilization can find its origins in this city.
We had only been here for only a few hours and I was already delighted. On our walk to dinner earlier had I commented, “Everything is so old.” Heidi’s reply was, “Yes, and this is the newer part of the city.”
We ate dinner at the Old Bear, a restaurant Heidi and her friends discovered on a semester abroad over a year ago. It has a very delightful atmosphere with delicious food. I had the Roman Gnocci which was delicious.
Today I slept in and took a while to get started, including getting my laundry done. It was a little more expensive than I would have liked, but it felt good to have clean clothes on. I spent the rest of the day just wandering. I went into St. Peter’s Basilica, which is overwhelming. La Pieta by Michelangelo is gorgeous, it does attract a crowd though.
I wandered the rest of the Basilica. It is a vast building. I walked through the crypt and felt a wave of emotion as I passed John Paul II’s tomb. There were flowers, candles, and messages written and thrown on the tomb. It is strange and beautiful that this man, who lived so recently, has so gripped the catholic faith. Rightly so, I think.
I walked down to what I believe is the national building, I’m not sure what else to call it. It was a free museum and had amazing views of the archaeological work going on right in the heart of the city.
After that I wandered some more. Then went to the Old Bear again for dinner today. It is seriously good food. It has been a really good day.
Alright, that about does it for the past couple of days. Tomorrow I’m off to see a Van Gogh exhibition and the Coliseum/Roman Senate area. Should be fun.
One last photo, the Tiber is an especially dirty river. I could see the freshwater of the rain land and float for a bit on top of the river, before it disappeared into the Tiber’s ooze, delightful… and these guys were rowing on it.