I finally contacted my embassy today! Not that I was allowed in. Most useless embassy ever, eh? Still, a kind marine corporal allowed me to call my dad, supervised, standign by the gate. He didn't pick up, so I left a message to call me at the hotel that night at nine. Odd, he normally answers his phone.
Maybe he was in a meeting?
Either way, due to all the rain this very wet day, I decided to visit the many churches in the Aventine region of Rome's city center.
I ended up with my temper pricked rather harshly by a church that requires an offering to visit, and lied about what we held within! Right, okay. Happy thoughts, Marie. Happy thoughts.
From a religious view point, not only die they lie, but they also are selling things inside their sanctuary. This is...look.
No church should ever charge money to see any part of it. Tourism spot or not, that's just fundamentally wrong. From an intellectual viewpoint, I am also offended. They don't want an offering, they're charging admission!
An offering is a gift wiling given, folks. An admission fee is a required payment to enter an area. Do these things sound remotely similar, my fine friends? No? Then how did Santa Maria in Cosmedin get it so horribly confused?
Please, dearest fraud, get it right. You charge an admission fee to see an empty crypt falsely advertised as Hadrian's tomb (which is located in Castel San'Angelo, I believe) and a small fee to take a single photo with the Mouth of Truth. Having your voluntold's stand by the offering box and insist the offering is pad makes it a fee, not an offering. And you still have church services here? You are a tourist spot, not a church. At least try and tell the truth about the money changing?
Anyway, I wandered the Aventine and managed to avoid the brief downpour (it having been mostly sprinkling) by ducking into the metro. I hopped a bus with vague ideas of a bus riding adventure, when I saw what I needed. Ah ha!
Cue choirs of angels.
Here I can insure my message reaching Daddy. I lingered for about an hour, but received no quick reply. However, I now have a library card good for any library in Rome itself, for a year's time. It cost me five euro, and includes book check out and computer use. Unique souvenir, I suppose. I also found a vodaphone card!
Not that I can use it. Italy and Germany vodaphones are incompatible. Of course. Guess who was not impressed? I want my cell carrier to be able to at least work wit itself people.
Three more days and just over fifty Euro left. Easy peasy.
Tomorrow, I promised myself, I would see the pantheon. Today was all about churches.
Speaking of, I have officially seen St. George's cranium. This is apparently a holy relic. Eh? Then again, on Monday I was in a church filled with pope hearts IN the walls.
Do not ask me to understand, please.
Late that night, Daddy and Grandpa were in contact. All would be fine.
The search for the pantheon is on! Four hours after starting, and numerous consultations with no less than three maps, I find myself in front of the Colosseum. How did I get here? Am I randomly teleporting again, because if not then I am so very lost. However, I am glad I was this lost, as it sounded like a bit of excitement.
Rather than be a sensible sane woman and immediately leave, I moved closer to the ruckus. It looked like there was a jumper, and sounded like a fight.
It turned out to be a protest!
There was a giant balloon pillow for the man pacing above gate LVI to land on if he fell. There were police everywhere and the fire department, and the crowd itself seemed to alternate between cheering the man to jump, or encourage him to go back. This is how unclear that it was a protest it was.
However, their were banners.
Google translate isn't too helpful here, I admit. However there was something about tourists, regulation, and Barbera. And despite the protest they still stopped to take pictures with tourists.
I did eventually make it inside the Pantheon. It's still used as a church on Sundays and for mass though it too sells audio guides and the like inside. My Mom would throw a fit. She didn't even let me sell fundraising items in the parking lot as a kid.
Still, the Pantheon is absolutely beautiful. Its mathematical beauty is...the number of perfect swaures, how often the golden ratio is repeated! The art inside, the sculptures, the paintings, are all nothing to scoff at. Here lies Kings, and the body of Rafael. Finally, I have seen all I wanted to in rome, plus some. Definitely not a wasted trip.
The pantheon, by the way, does not lend itself to being found. I started looking at nine, and it was three by the time I got there. Not that it was a search without its own excitement! I managed to find where Julius Caesar died. There are fresh flowers there. People still apparently place them. He didn't actually die on the Senate steps in the forums by they way.
Shakespeare was just limiting scene changes.
There's a cat sanctuary nearby, that is also the ruins of old temples. I got to pet some of the many very friendly cats there, though one tried to scratch if you pet it anywhere but its head.
Just down the street from the Pantheon is another church (St. Ignazzio's) that I found far more beautiful than the Sistine chapel. It's definitely my favorite church of the trip.
I managed to find an internet cafe, called an internet point in Italy. My Dad couldn't wire me the funds, I couldn't Skype my grandparents due to lack of mic and a weak connection, but not all hope was lost.
Have you ever met one of those people who deserve a medal? Someone who is quite simply 'good folk'? Someone like that saved me.
I was confused, lost, didn't have money for my hotel bill, and wanted to go home. With my luck as it was, I would end the week in jail. I got online to contact my dad, and my friend and I talked. He said he'd lend me the money. This man I owe, and I've only known him for a year.
He's a good man.
Either way, Thursday in Rome was a very sedate, but fun adventure.
One Final Byte: Unsung masterpieces are the best sort of masterpieces.