El albergue

El albergue

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day two

The Vatican Museum is all just a bit overwhelming, especially when your legs are already tired from all the miles of walking you did the day before. You actually almost feel like running away to escape the halls lined with statue after statue and painting after painting. Nearly any single one of these thousands of pieces of art would be worthy of at least 10 or 15 minutes of quiet contemplation, and here you have them stretching out before you in endless rank and file. Nearly four miles in total, I’m told.

We had fun touring around everywhere with our goofy
hostel roommate Pablo.

The Sistine Chapel was so much more interesting to see with the little bit of background info offered by Rick Steve’s Italy guide. Understanding what things were was the key to understanding even just a part of what Michelangelo was trying to communicate. The ceiling is a personal retelling of the Creation of the world. That most famous painting in the middle, The Touch I think it’s called, has to be how he imagined the first moments between Adam and God. It is “the gospel according to Michelangelo.” The artist was in his mid 30s during the four years it took him to paint this masterpiece, and at an older age he returned to the chapel to paint his epic Judgment Day covering an entire wall. Its huge scale gives a sense of enormity to this solemn event. It shows everything from the dead being pulled from their graves to the righteous ascending to heaven to the unrighteous being dragged down to hell by demons to Jesus in the center, hand upraised as he divides the sheep from the goats.

We had a lovely dinner at a great little restaurant in Trastevere.

I love the little neighborhood of Trastevere, or “behind the Tiber.” It feels free yet a little cluttered, something like Malasaña in Madrid. It made me feel rather alive to move through the thronging young people out for a night of good food and drinks with friends. If barrios were people, I’d like to be friends with this one.

Ah the famed cats of Rome... can I take you home?

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