Thursday, April 19, 2012

Week Fifty: My Adventure in Rome, Part Four


So I get the number to block my card today...and promptly ran out of minutes calling it. There was no way to put more minutes on the card, and believe me I tried. The hotel reported the card stolen for me, and advised me to go to the embassy.

The American embassy in Rome is an elaborate building, gated in, guarded by Italians. It was also closed. On a Monday. Everything in Rome, by the way, is closed on Monday.

Okay. Well. I'm stranded with about 185 Euro at this point. I don't know when or if I will get more. I can't contact my dad. Deep breaths, calm down., don't panic.

I can't fix the situation today, so I'll just sight see instead. So there.

I was in Via Veneto, so decided to explore. There was the 350 year old Fontane del Tritone, and I drank from Fontana del Api which is a giant clam shell decorated by four legged bees. Someone forgot that bees have six legs, not didn't they? Being Monday, Palazza Barberini was closed, as was the Santa Susanna, but I snapped pics outside and proceeded to get lost.

My map reading skills were getting a work out. Somehow, I ended up on Quirinal Hill, which is quite the hike. I am not, you understand, entirely certain how I managed it. Then again, I only know I was on Quirinal hill because it has a great big obelisk/fountain/statue mish mash.

Still, I got to see the Italian President's home, a church called Santa Vincenzo e Anastasio, the Trevi fountain and the aforementioned giant monument. It turns out, the statues on either side of the obelisk are Castor and Pollux.

From there, I am pretty certain I teleported without knowing it to the Spanish steps. I am lost in Rome, tired, hungry, and would like to know how to get to my hotel, even if seeing all the sights is very interesting!

I try to find the metro.

Instead, I find three different churches. Rome has pretty much a thousand churches. It also has a million beggars, by the way. Paris is the city of love and lights, Amsterdam the city of bikes, but Rome? Rome is the city of churches of thieves.

However, as I watch Walker Texas Ranger in Italian that night in my room, having miraculously made it back to the right place, I believe firmly all will soon be solved.

Yes, you can laugh here.

One a side note, Chuck Norris sounds tougher in Italian.


I start the day out, determined to get to the embassy. I ended up in Vatican City. Okay fine, I give up. Instead, I explore St. Peter's square. First up is the basilisica. The line is long, but the vatican knows how to move lines quickly, I assure you. The church is way too crowded to actually move in, but I get to see Michelangelo's pieta and it is beautiful. I actually wrote the initial draft of this day's blog sitting in the shade at St Peter's square.

I know in Amsterdam and Paris alike, I claimed to be overwhelmed by all the art I had seen. In comparison, they were nothing.

Oh! The sights I have seen! Had I had the funds, I would have spent two or three days in the Vatican museum. As it was, I can advise you only to save the Sistine Chapel for last so you can, in fact, see it all.

Still, despite what has happened, I can't help by feel blessed. I have many regrets about this trip, but coming is not one.

By the way, why is it St. Peter's square, when it is a circle? Really? You odd, odd folk.

Today is the mighty day when I finish my sightings of ninja turtles by they way! All four were in the Vatican museum. It's awesome. I may not be the richest person to visit Rome, but I can certainly say I'm one of the more blessed.

I was actually sitting there writing that waiting for something to dry. You see, they had this Gutenberg press in there, and it was free to make a sheet. The thing was not dry until the next morning, though, and by then entirely illegible and thoroughly smudged.

Around two, I gave up on it drying and headed to the hotel to let it dry there, and from there, I would try again to find the embassy. Or rather, I would try to get to the hotel.

You have to keep in mind my very special sense of direction, combined with my super not so amazing map reading abilities. In other words, I spent the rest of the day in search of a bus stop. By three, I was lightly burnt. That would fade by Thursday. By five, I had enough sun I was sick, quite literally. By nine, I finally ended up at the hotel. Nine! Urgh!

Not that I didn't see an awful lot as I searched for that ever elusive bus stop. I just didn't see what I was looking for! I ended up covering half the Navona region, all of Vatican City, saw the Castel Sant' Angelo, the Palazza d'Giustizia, Bernini's angels, visited Santa Maria del Popolo, and nearly passed out in the Tiber River.

Whoops. Too much sun, too little water.

One Final Byte: Water keeps you from passing out in rivers.

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