On our own, we found our way through the Sistine Chapel.We were not allowed to take pictures or talk, but it was a truly impressive sight. Of all the things to notice, the ceiling is so much higher than I imagined, but the room was filled to the brim. Security prevented anyone from stopping in the actual chapel, not that there was a choice with so many people pressing to move forward! If claustrophobia is an issue, perhaps a different time of year would be better to visit. It was still brilliant wandering though the exhibits on cultures of the world, from ancient Egypt, China, India to the new exhibit in process about the support of the Vatican with archaeologists preserving Aboriginal cultures in Australia.
The best part of the visit was the visit to the top of St. Peter's Basilica. Though it was a separate ticket, it was worth the trek for the best view of the Vatican, and the city of Rome.
The evening passed with a private show from my host sister on a piano in small seafood restaurant and some browsing around the city.
The next day, I wandered in the Piazza di Spagna. Directly beside the famous steps rests the former home of John Keats and the Shelleys that is now a museum. While my host family shopped in the downtown district, I gleefully explored exhibits. It took a trip to Italy to learn the origins of a popular English expression. Apparently, the phrase 'pushing up daises' is derivative of the feverish ravings of Keats in the master bedroom. Dying of tuberculosis and mad with fever, Keats believed himself to already be dead for several months before he succumbed. He would often say that he felt the daises growing into him. The ceiling, with ornately carved daises facing the floor, still has the decorations, despite everything else being burned in the room to prevent the spread of disease.
After that enlightening experience, my host family and I spent the last full day wandering around Rome into various churches and light tourist shopping. We were blessed with beautiful Italian weather the entire trip. After another day exploring (and eating) Italian cuisine, we departed in the morning the next day for the airport to take us back to our Belgian home.
|The Belgian coming out in my host sister while dining in an outdoor restaurant in Rome. Note the proper way to eat Belgian frites: with copious amounts of mayonnaise and a fork.|
|Lise was the one outwardly showing what we were all feeling inside. Taken right before I discovered if I was flagged for travelling through Atlanta and Brussels (TWICE) within the past three months in the wake of Ebola spread.|