Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Catherdral of St. Paul, the Catacombs, St. Peter's & the beach

Apologies, all of these events took place last weekend.

Saturday morning I participated in the Christian bus tour sponsored by my school.  Yes, I did get to wear a headset to hear my tour guide and looked like a fool.  I'm over it.  The Cathedral of St. Paul was our first stop and was completely breath-taking.  I was gaping at the beauty of the main entrance that I didn't even take a picture of it.  I can't tell you much about it because my little headset gadget kept shorting out, but there is a portrait of all 200 something of the popes surrounding the walls of the cathedral.


We hopped back on our tour bus and headed to the Via Appia, which reaches all the way to Southern Italy, to see the ancient catacombs.  On the way we saw the original Roman walls and barely fit through the tiny arch to enter the road.  I think this is how I always pictured Rome outside of the city, as sprawling countryside with cyprus and olive trees lining the roads, and it is exactly like this.  Beautiful.  It was incredible to be walking on road that is over two-thousand years old and is such a distinct part of Roman history.

I would describe the catacombs (no pictures allowed) as an underground maze of tombs that you would not want to be stuck alone in.  They're some obscene amount of kilometers below the ground and were built by the early Christians to house the tombs of the dead- average citizens, wealthy families, and popes.  We could only go down to the second layer with most of the tombs having been raided by barbarians.  Super cool.

The tour ended at St. Peters; however, I didn't go inside because I plan to stay an entire day at the Vatican museum and see the Sistine Chapel (I also wasn't digging the walk home if I had gone inside).

Vatican City is the smallest independent country, crazy right?
My Fourth of July was spent dipping my toes in the Tyrrhenian Sea and screaming Katy Perry's "Firework" at Sloppy's with my comrades from the USA.  Two buses, a long metro ride with entertaining homeless gypsies, and a short walk took us to the coast.  It was cloudy and full of annoying walking vendors but a great holiday nonetheless.

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