Friday, April 16, 2004

Rome and Pompeii

For our second day in Rome we decided to take things a bit easy (mainly because most places were closed). We went for a trip around the Spanish Steps (Spagna) and the buildings around there. It seemed like half the town as out and about that day.

The next day was our trip to Pompeii (and Naples, but didn't stop there). We got on a bus at about 0730 in the morning to be greeted by possibly the most cheerful person I've ever met. Alexandra, our tour giude was so chirpy it had to be chemically induced, IMHO. So anyways, after a couple of hours on the bus we hit Pompeii. The outskirts of Pompeii and Naples had the strangest mixture of industry and cottage farms I'd ever seen. Probably coz the volcanic soil was so rich.

The actual city of Pompeii was very cool. It's amazing how well preserved some of the buildings are, but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) all the really cool stuff has been moved to the Museum of Naples. Our guide took great pleasure in showing us the phallic arrows pointing to the brothels and the brothel itself. Maybe some post-discovery "restoration" was done to the pictures in the brothel, coz there is no way they would have survived in such good condition.

On our way back to Rome we got stuck in a 5 hour traffic jam, during which our guide somehow managed to be even more chirpy (if that was possible) - though she did spend some time bitching about Berlesconi (there are billboards of him stuck up everywhere - very wierd).

For our final day in Rome we visited the Vatican Museum, and made a beeline to the Cistine Chapel. This still took a few good hours, during which we passed more amazing pieces of art and history than you could possibly imagine. The Cistine Chapel was very cool. The picture of the Last Judgement is HUUGE and takes up an entire wall. The other pieces by Michaelangelo (specially the Creation of Adam) looks tiny beacause it's on the ceiling some 30 metres above!

After the Museum we began what was going to be a regular ritual, running for our train. We just managed to get on to the train to Florence, which is our base for the next few days.

We got a little look at the Tuscan countryside as we made our way to Florence, but it was rather overcast and the area near the train line seems to be very industrial. We will be making a trip to Siena and some other little towns in Tuscany in the next few days, so hopefully will be able to see more then.

No comments: