Europe

The Agony and the Ecstacy

May 18, 2015

As we mentioned before, Aaron and I were at our breaking point with sightseeing.  It was our last day in Rome and we still had yet to visit the Vatican.  What kind of Catholic visits Rome without making a trip to see the Vatican? (I could feel my mother’s disdain from 5,000 miles away.)  So Aaron and I rallied our spirits, slammed some coffee, and headed to the Big Kahuna, the Motherland, the Pope’s pad, the Holy See, the VATICAN.

If you are claustrophobic, have social anxieties, hate crowds and/or people touching you, or (like me) have a fear of selfie sticks, DO NOT visit the Vatican.  It is not for you.  But, Aaron and I had paid for the torture, I mean tickets, and I’ll be damned if we weren’t going to “get our monies worth.”

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In order for you to vaguely empathize, imagine being surrounded by music festival enthusiasts (ugh, the BO) and prodded through room after room and hall after hall with no air conditioning.  Multiple tour groups were shoved in the same small rooms/halls, all with radio headsets on different channels which interfered with each other and ended up sounding like Mona Lisa’s shrieks as her eyebrows were ripped off.  I digress…  The museum’s tapestries, frescoes, and paintings were very neat to see but most was lost on me as I avoided people who looked like they might be carrying the ebola virus (I now lived the phrase “avoid like the plague”). As we were shuffled through to the Sistine Chapel, I became very excited.  Surely, this is worth the wait!  We were instructed to turn off our headphones, remove caps, stow cameras and phones, and remain SILENT out of respect as you are in a chapel.  I finally got some relief from the crowds as they only allow so many people in.  But my awe-stricken thoughts of the ceiling were interrupted constantly by “friendly reminders” to “SHHHH” or “PUT YOUR CAMERAS AWAY,” “REFRAIN FROM TALKING.” I walked out disappointed, but just as glad as Michelangelo was when he finished the Sistine Chapel.

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We were then ushered into St. Peter’s Basilica.  Amazing, stunning, beautiful, magnificent, impressive, I could go on and on. But words still cannot describe St. Peter’s… The dome, the baldacchino (or alter), the Pieta, the Cathedra Petri, all were masterfully created and displayed.  It was absolutely breath-taking.  After ditching the guide and wandering on our own for some while, Aaron and I left peacefully.  As we walked out of St. Peter’s, we looked out at the beautiful colonnade which was best described to us as “symbolizing the welcoming, open arms of the church.”

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With the Vatican behind us, and (thankfully) no more sights to see on our list, we decided to cut our last day in Rome short and head to the beach a little early. The only thing that stood in the way of us and the beach was a snooty rental car agent.  After witnessing her snootiness firsthand, I decided to grab a seat and let Aaron handle the situation (while remaining close enough to observe the show).  I don’t know if it was my leaving, Aaron’s rugged-good looks, or a combination of the two, but unbeknownst to us, our destination, Sperlonga, was her favorite vacation spot.  The snoot suddenly turned giggly with dinner recommendations and best wishes.  Unamused and bemused, we left keys in hand to find our rental.

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Shoving our bags in the “trunk” of our tiny Fiat was a small feat, but we were soon on the road. After scouring the dash for air conditioning for fifteen minutes with no such luck, we chalked it up to the “stupid european cars.” We drove two hours on the highway with the windows down.  We may have been deaf, but at least we were cool and leaving the city!

We arrived at our lovely resort with an old-time charm.  Since we had a beach front view, we threw our bags on the bed and quickly opened the windows for some fresh sea air!  Dinner was right across the street with a similar view of the Tyrrenian Sea.  The seafood was fresh and delicious!  Tired from the long day, we feel asleep with the calming sound of the waves crashing.

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