Sunday, 24 October 2010

SO much learning!

If i can say a few things about Rome it's that it was complete knowledge and sensory overload! We did alot in the 5 days we were there and the day at the Vatican especially completely exhausted me! Virginia and I met this Aussie guy and other Canadian girl from Toronto and we all decided to take a group field trip to check out the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. We opted again for the audio guide because tours were way too expensive and none of us knew enough about anything to make it worthwhile just walking through. There was SO much information and a ridiculous amount to look at. As we walked through from room to room filled with art from famous artists and scultures the detail was completely overwhelming. Each room seemed to out-do the other. The Popes have all had so much say in every detail of the Vatican and it was really neat to see how all the styles have changed over the many years. Every section of each room had so much going on and there seemed to be meaning behind absolutely everything. After 2 solid hours of facts i started to sort of go the more speedy route and just stop and learn about things that looked especially interesting to me. The main goal at the end was to experience what all the buildup led to - the Sistine Chapel. It was much smaller than i was expecting but had a very calm and familiar feel. I was looking at original paintings from Michaelangelo that I remember seeing all my life. The final judgement was very impressive. I stood there and looked at it for a solid 15 minutes which is probably a record for me. I don't know much about art at all and normally find it hard to appreciate it as much as some others... but listening to what each part meant and the thought that went behind painting it was very incredible. We weren't allowed to take pictures or talk but most people i think got totally lost in the moment and forgot both of those rules.
I took a million pictures but in no way will they truly capture the beauty. I would look at the screen on my camera after i took each picture and just be disappointed with the results.

The next day we took a 2 hour train ride into Naples and then a half hour metro ride to Pompeii. It was much more impressive than i expected! Pompeii was a city that got completely buried when a volcano erupted many years ago. Apparently they didn't even discover the city for many years after and since then have been doing excavation to learn more and reveal what's left of Pompeii. Most of the buildings were only half the height that they used to be but it was very interesting how they were able to restore it so well. They even have moulds of the people that were buried alive. I have pictures of children and adults all laying down probably while they were trying to hide from the explosion. It was very very interesting! Also a very exhausting day between all the walking and learning and combined 5 hours in travel time that it took to get there. However, it was very well worth it!

That ended our time in Rome. It was very expensive! Since there are so many tourists and so many things to do they kind of take advantage of the fact that people are willing to pay. Since we got 2 free meals at our hostel a day we only bought lunch every day and besides that paid for transport and admissions into all the places we wanted to go. However, Virginia and I found that our money just seemed to fly away.

Right now we are in Florence and very happy to be spending a bit less money. There's also lots to see here as far as art, history and culture but we're going to try and take a bit of a slower pace. Good news is that this hostel is very organized and actually one of the nicest places i've ever stayed in! Our Canadian friend that we met from Toronto recommended it to us and we are both so glad that she did. We are staying in a 6 person female dorm that is very big and clean. They gave us our own towels and little kits with shampoo, body wash, nail files, and stuff like that. The hostel has a restaurant, pool, jacuzzi, work out room, laundry, and is just a massive place! AND the best part is that it's 10 euros less per night than we were paying while in Rome! Also free wi-fi with a solid connection! Finally! Today we plan on doing laundry and wandering around to maybe do a bit of shopping! Florence is supposed to have amazing leather markets so we might go check that out! Since i have no room in my bag and hate my life every time i have to put it on my back i'm hoping that will be enough motivation to not buy anything. We'll see...

The only 2 things that i know i want to accomplish while being here is going to see Michaelangelo's David and the Duomo. Other than that we're hoping to make some friends and get some tips or motivation from them! We have booked 3 more nights but i have a feeling we might try to extend our stay... i'm kind of enjoying having a few luxuries :)

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