Spring Break Entry 1!

7 Apr

Rome!

Before I write this post I would like to throw a disclaimer out there for everyone. Since I went with my brother and we are both doing blogs and there is so much to talk about and so little time I will be writing about Rome and Brandon will be writing about Florence and they will pretty much be identical to each other. The only difference is the start since I will talk more about what we did in Vienna when my mom and brother first got there and Brandon will talk about his time with our Mom in Maastricht. You are welcome to read the Rome and Florence parts of our trips on both of our posts be aware that you will probably have a déjà vu moment.

So first of all I would like to say that I had such an amazing spring break. My mom as I have said before came from home to visit my brother and me and also to travel during our spring break.  As you will ready from Brandon post the trip to me was not smoother.  My brother could not reach me when he got into Vienna because he lost access to his phone because he turned it off for the first time to save battery and did not know the pine in order to unlock his phone.  They then both got resourceful and found an internet hot spot and started contacting all of my friends and me via Facebook and he also downloaded Skype on the computer in order to be able to reach me. It was a good thing I was finishing up my last post when he Skyped because I saw his skype immediately and responded and went and got them. It was a crazy start to the trip.  Since they were up since 330 getting to me it was a long day for them already. I then showed them around Vienna to all of the sites close to first district like St. Stephansdome Cathedral, the Hofburg, Rathouse, Nashmarkt, and many other beautiful places.  At the Nashmarkt we got some dried strawberries which were amazing and a fresh pastry.  It was nice to show they around because I could be the tour guide and them about all the places that I had been learning about in class.  We then went to bed early because they were exhausted and we knew the next day or Sunday there was a lot more traveling in store.

We got up relatively early on Sunday so I could show them Schonbrunn palace. I had still yet to go there which was very sad on my part but I have to tell you that I will be going there much more often both running and I am also going to plan a picnic.  There is so much greenery and area to walk and at the top of one of the hills you can see all of Vienna and St. Stephansdome.   It was just an amazing site and a place that when flowers are in full bloom will make your draw drop.  After Schonbrunn we then went to the Prater which turned out to not have been such a good idea. The Prater is a theme park that I had also never been to and we decided that we thought we had time to go see it quick before he had to catch a train to Bratislava for our flight to Rome.  Because of going to the Prater we ended up running a little late and had to literally run from Uhbahn stop to SBahn stop and then to the train station and made it on the train with 2 min to spare! It was so intense and I was proud of my mom for running and making the train.  She was a trooper the whole time putting up with Brandon and I’s walking pace and running around.  When we got on the train we were all sweating but happy we had some time to relax until our plane.  In the airport I ended up seeing 5 of my friends from my program that were on the same flight going to Rome.  Getting on the airplane was hectic because Ryanair likes to make things difficult and there are no assigned seats so everyone rushes to get their seat and a spot in line.  After we got our seats on the flight it was relatively easy.  Then on our way from the airport ot the central metro station we then met girls that were studying in Rome. We asked them about hinks and things to make our lives easier while we in Rome and while I was talking to them some girls in front of them overhead me talking me talking about Vienna. I ended up meeting some people that study and hang out at the same places as me so that will be fun to see them around Vienna.  Then after making our way to our Hotel with the help of one of the nice girls from Rome we got something to eat. One of my best friends from the program was also in Rome that night so he met with us and had dinner. It was a great time and nice to hear about some of the things we would be doing the next day.

The first day we walked or stood almost all day long and that would become a theme for the trip.  We had previously bought Vatican Museum tickets which I would recommend everyone to do because the lines are just crazy and you save like 2 or 3 hours by buying the tickets.  In front of and around the museum there were just swarms of people everywhere and everywhere you looked there were umbrellas and scarves that denoted who the tour guides were. There were also people asking from all over if we needed a tour or not and that with the tour you can skip the line which you can. I felt like I was back at Purdue during BGR with everyone’s Boiler Beacons everywhere. We ended up getting into the tour guide line on accident because there are no signs anywhere in Italy and we waited about a half an hour but the other line probably would have taken three hours.  The Vatican Museum is huge and after we eventually got in we where again confused where to go because of the mass of people and the lack of signs.  When we finally got through to the museum there was an Egyptian exhibit and so may Roman statues and busts. It was really interesting to learn about all of the Roman gods and when and how they were created. I also saw a guy at one point doing some restoration on one of the statues. I couldn’t see much but it still looked pretty cool. I am also happy that we went to Rome and saw the Vatican before going to Florence because seeing David in Florence would have made all of these other statues look not as impressive. The David statue is just magnificent.  He will be talked about later though by Brandon.

One thing I found sad was that some people just walked through the whole museum just to get to the Sistine Chapel. There are so many other great works of art that many people just walk past.  One of the works of art that I did not understand but asked my roommates about today was a large sphere that was in the middle of one of the squares. It was all gold with some cracks were you saw some gears. I guess it was made in the 1990’s or something and it is a metaphor for how on the outside the earth looks smooth and good but there are so many problems and complexities and problems on the inside that need to be addressed which the gears signify.  I think this is a very nice piece of work and I totally believe is a great work of art but I felt that some other ancient work of art could have better served as its place.

After about 2 hours in the museum we finally made it to the Sistine Chapel.  You were not allowed to take pictures but when I walked in everyone was taking snapping shots. I thin took some as well but just enough so I could get a good memory of what I saw. I felt bad though because many people were not respectful of the chapel and were very loud and not respectful.  The Sistine Chapel was also not what I expected. I thought all of the pieces on the ceiling would have been a lot larger and that the chapel itself would have been a lot larger. I still think that the chapel was amazing and that the works of art were amazing. I could not imagine though Michelangelo leaning backward to paint for days and months and years on end. It is a true masterpiece.  The ceiling which had the most famous works of art was beautiful. It was divided up into 9 sections and each of the nine sections were divided up  into three stories.  The first three were about the creation of the earth with land and water.  The next three had to do with Adam and Eve and the creation of man.  My friend told me before I went that I should look at Adam in the most famous picture of him almost touching god because he has a belly button.   Michelangelo was upset with the church so he drew the belly button on Adam. The belly button signifies that a person is created by man so that was his way at getting back at the church.  The last section of three signifies Noah and the Ark and also his drunkenness.  The Last Judgment was also amazing. It shows Christ and people going to heaven and hell and angels pulling people from Purgatory up to heaven and people being pulled to hell.

After leaving the Sistine Chapel there were many crucifixes in gold and other great works of art. Since St. Peters is right next to the museum we went there next.  We ended up waiting in line for over an hour and never getting in because I guess there was a service with the Pope that you needed tickets for that we did not have. It was not a complete bust though because my mom ended up  getting interviewed by a lady from the Washington Post! I was just in shock as she was getting interviewed and her quotes were getting written down so hopefully she makes in the paper. She was asked about the Pope and the recent sex scandals.  I will let everyone know if she actually gets in the paper. After we realized we would have to wait till tomorrow to see it we decided to see the sights of Rome that were not by the Coliseum.  We walked to Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and just around the area. Lets just say we walked until about 8:30 p.m. when we finally had dinner and man did we need it. Dinner was really good each night in Rome. The Spanish Steps did not really excite me that much and there were so many people on the steps.  The flowers were also not put on the steps yet so I feel like it would be more beautiful in the summer. When we walked to the Trevi Fountain I was not really that excited but then when we got there I loved it. It was so much fun taking the throw the coin in the water picture and just people watching. The fountain was also a great work of art and a must see sight.  We went to bed early again that night so we could get up early to go to St. Peters Basilica.

We got to Saint Peters around 9:30 and it was already packed. We waited in line again but at least this time we were able to get in.  We wet up to the cupola which was amazing and something that I would recommend everyone to do.  It was like 500 steps but if you do it do not pay for the elevator because it is not worth it.  The hardest steps come after the elevator so you are really paying for nothing.  The awesome thing about going up was you got to see the inside of the church from an aerial view while also being able to see all of Rome. We then went down and saw the rest of the St. Peters.  That church is the most magnificent church I have ever seen and your draw drops when you see it all.  When we walked over all of the rest of Rome we had not seen the day before we seriously saw pretty much all of the sites.  There are really too many of them for me to name that we saw but the ones I will talk about are the Roman Ruins and the Coliseum.  I would recommend getting a guided tour for only 4 euro more because I think it would have been really beneficial. Sadly we did not get it because we were trying to save money but it would have definitely been worth it. There was just so much information that they had that was not written anywhere and we listened in on a couple of the tours.  One thing that was sad was that after the Roan Empire collapsed the Coliseum and Forum which are in the Roman Ruins were used a quarry and also a dump site. It was still amazing to see and another definite must see.  We walked around till about 7:30 again and decided to reward ourselves by taking the metro. It was nice to nice walk the 35 or 40 min back to our hotel although form the train station we still have to walk another 10 min.  Overall Roman was amazing but I have to tell you that tourists were really annoying even though I was one of them. Haha.

ROME overall quickly

Lets just say that I saw the craziest drivers and roads I have ever seen. Motorcycles can go where ever they wanted and pass really anyone they want to. At a stop light there would be three lands when there should have only been two because the motorcyclists make their own imaginary lane.  In addition at very big tourist stop or really anywhere where people were there were people selling things.  They either sold hand bags, watches, flowers, pictures, these rocks that made noise when you threw them in the air and they hit each other. The sales men were really persistent and one time they almost stuck some roses in my mom’s hand. I was like no! It was overall really funny and I was fascinated in how they worked.

Well that is the end of my over 2500 word entry so if you read all of this I congratulate you.  Look soon for the next installment and I hope everyone is doing well! Scotland is this weekend!

Benjamin

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One Response to “Spring Break Entry 1!”

  1. spring break texas April 13, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    keep them posts coming they are very informative

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