Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

And, finally, Rome

And now for the final episode of "Highlights From Europe." Today's featured city is Rome. Tune in next week for our new series, "Highlights From Québec City."

This is an Egyptian Obelisk in Piazza del Popolo, near our hotel. It dates from the twelfth or 13th century BC, and was stolen from Egypt and brought to Rome in the time of Augustus. Neat!

Here's the Trevi Fountain. It looks innocent enough by daylight, but once the sun sets it become home to the notorious "Flower Guys."

The Pantheon! Unfortunately, half of the dome on the inside was covered by scaffolding for "restorations," much like every single interesting site we tried to see.

This is the site of four ancient Roman temples that were only discovered recently when a developed tried to build a condo on top of them. One of these temples, fascinatingly enough, is where Julius Ceasar was murdered. It's also a cat sanctuary, hence the cat. You can't really tell from this photo, but there were cats everywhere. Like, anywhere there was even a patch of shade, there was a cat. It was kind of ridiculous. Mainly because I'm pretty sure Chris and I spent more time admiring the cats than we spent looking at any other site on the entire trip.

Next, a spiral staircase in the Vatican Museums. It was pretty. Prettier than the Sistine Chapel.

Catholics seem to have some sort of strange fascination with death and bones. This is the bottom half of a statue dedicated to some Pope in St. Peter's Basilica. If you can't tell what it is, it's a headless skeleton holding an hourglass, presumably coming up from hell to take him away or something. This is vaguely confusing, as the top half of the statue shows the Pope surrounded by four women representing virtue, justice, and, uh, two other good things that Popes strive for. If he's so awesome, why is a skeleton coming to take him away and not, say, Jesus? Huh? HUH?!???

This is the ridiculously elaborate canopy that the Pope sits under during mass. It's directly under the dome of St. Peter's.

Once again, Chris braved the climb to the top of something tall. This is the view of St. Peter's Square from the top of the basilica. (By the way, if you're at all claustrophobic, don't attempt this climb. It starts out okay, but as you get closer to the top the stairway gets narrower and narrower, and the walls curve inwards with the shape of the dome. It's like one of those nightmare scenarios where it just keeps getting smaller and smaller until you get stuck and can't get out—until you starve for long enough that you lose enough weight to move again, that is.)

This is in the forum—behind the ancient pillars is a medieval church. It's amazing how quickly you stop being impressed by things that are only 500 years old when you're surrounded by other things that are over 2000 years old.

This is the Palatine, which is the ruins of various things, including palaces and grounds used by several emperors.

Guess what this is! Too bad about the bridge through the middle of it, built for, once again, restorations. If you look closely, you can see the cages where the animals used to be kept underneath the bridge. That all used to be underground, but they've excavated it now, most likely to impress all the fat Americans wearing ass-shorts that we saw.

Some authentic Roman graffiti. Just down from this was "Stef, Sara & Lindsay BFF!" Yep, there's nothing like vandalizing cities you don't live in.

And, finally, this is an interesting old area of Rome called Trastevere. Apparently the people who live here consider themselves the only true Romans (ironic, since Trastevere wasn't even part of Rome until relatively recently).


Anonymous iris said...

Oh! I remember that statue from St. Peters. When I was there I parasitized myself to an English tour group and heard the commentary for a few of the spots. (I'm sure God didn't approve of that.)

Anyway, I remember the tour guide said that when they unveiled that sculpture group, one of the ladies was bare-breasted (gasp!) and was deemed too offensive. So they had to cover her up with a piece of bronze that looks like a soft flowing robe and then paint over it so it looks like marble.

They sure did a great job because I couldn’t tell the difference between that and the red cloth covering the skeleton (real marble).

8:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Fuck. Nice Pix.
I've got to say that I'm suspecting that you've been posting pictures from postcards, and that you didn't go to Europe at all. How gullible do you think we are? Europe! Psh. Sure.
Anyway, they're pretty terrific snaps. Collin.

10:47 PM

Anonymous iain said...

Hmmm. Here in Canada, my cat sleeps in the sunlight instead of hiding in the shadows. Man, is Europe ever backwards.

1:51 AM

Blogger KV said...

Makes me wanna go to Italy

2:35 AM

Anonymous Dave (Berry) said...

Because, quite frankly, this blog needs more cats:



12:51 PM


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