23 September 2013 Monday – Rome

Today the five of us took a city tour of Rome. Our guide was named Marco, and he was great. He had this aversion to Smart Cars, which seem to number by the thousands here. I'd estimate about 40% of all cars in Rome are Smart Cars.

The tour was well worth the price. We spent the whole day traveling from site to site, taking photos. And we took lots of them.

We told Marco what we was planned for the next few days so he could avoid duplication. Even so, we saw an incredible amount of things.

Among them:

1. A huge white monument building that the locals affectionately call the “Wedding Cake”.

2. Trevi Fountain and other fountains

3. The Spanish Steps

4. Several obelisks

5. Several monuments

6. Some really cool churches with fabulous artwork.

7. The Circus Maximus, which is where the chariot races were held.

8. A famous gate with a keyhole, through which could be seen St. Peters's Basilica. It was odd how so many tourists lined up to peak through the keyhole. I took a little bit longer than most, trying to get the perfect photo through the keyhole.

We visited a Cappuccin monastery (from which we get the drink “cappuccino”) where they have a very unique crypt: Many of the rooms are decorated with the bones of the dead monks, arranged into artwork. It was pretty weird to see all those bones made into art, but unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos.

We also went to a tall overlook (one of the seven hills of Rome) with a monument and a great view of St. Peter's Basilica.

At the end of the tour, we visited the catacombs of San Sebastiano. This was very interesting because it contained 7 miles of tunnels beneath the church. At one point it contained 100,000 bodies. It even contained an underground chapel. It was a very spooky place. I dug around for my voice recorder, but couldn't find it in my backpack. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any photos. Apparently there are several other catacombs just like it.

Tomorrow we visit the Vatican. Unfortunately, I've got a cold now, so runny nose and all. Erg.

Famous quote for the day:

Marco: “Here in Italy, we have a famous saying: The mother of all idiots is always pregnant.”