Crunchy Thoughts

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7/21/99 Day 13 “When in Rome Day”

[A continuation of my travel diary from the summer of 1999, which I kept as I travelled through Europe. — Present-day Carrie]

Good Lord, it is so hot down here. And these crazy Italians act like they have never heard of air conditioning.

I think the heat’s gotten to their heads. Today we went to the Vatican, therefore we had to wear jeans. Wasn’t too bad, though. I got to see the Sistine Chapel! It was so very eye-opening. I don’t know quite how to describe it. For so many years you hear about it & see pictures and movies and books & books & books, but you never actually think that you’ll see the genuine article. Actually painted by Michelangelo.*

What was also sorta nifty was that a few years ago I was reading a magazine that was talking about how they restored the paintings in the chapel, & it pointed out this one slight of hand that Michelangelo made in the Last Judgement. Where there was supposed to be a serpent’s hand, it was flesh colored like a human’s. I’m not pointing this out to say ha ha he made a mistake; it just reminds me that everyone is human, even the magnificent Michaelangelo.

Earlier today we saw the ancient ruins of Rome: the Coloseium (sp?), a sacred passageway, & a bunch of temples of all sorts. At one point we sat on a foundation of one of the buildings, & I got a small rock out of it. They were very loose. I think it was the Roman’s version of cement. Very neat to have a rock that served a purpose such as that, holding up one of the great temples of ancient Rome.

Oh, what else did we do? Saw so much stuff. Rome would be ok if it wasn’t for the heat. One of those cities you visit in early spring. Oodles better than Florence, though. ‘Course, I had a bad experience in that city.

Just one more day, then we’re heading back to the states, which reminds me. Last Friday, I think, JFK Jr’s plane crashed near Martha’s Vineyard. Him, his wife, & her sister are presumed dead. I don’t think they found their, um, remains. How morbid. Oh, & yes, it was international news. That’s how I found out.**

And what joy. I get to ride on a plane day after tomorrow. We’re going from Rome to Gatwick in London, then from there to Atlanta, then drive back to Alabaster. Speaking of, today I bought an egg made out of alabaster. To remind me where I come from.

Tomorrow we’re going to Pompeii, which I’ve also read so much about but never thought I’d actually see it. Gonna be an all day thing.

Gotta get up early, so I suppose I should go to bed. I’ve written so much today; I’m so proud of myself. Not of the handwriting, though. Oh well. C’est la vie. La vie.

The Coliseum (bigger)

The Roman Forum plus bonus columns (bigger)

Columns and Cremations (bigger)

The Man Himself (bigger)

Looking towards the Vatican (bigger)

The Vatican City (bigger)

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica (bigger)

Mosaics and Fountains (bigger)

More Fountain (bigger)

*Favorite thing I saw the whole trip.

**The vacation curse strikes again. We were all in an Italian restaurant, eating real Italian pizza (which is nothing like American pizza), watching their news, trying to figure out what had happened back in America. Finally our waiter translated for us.

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