I must say that Rome is exceeding my expectations so far. It is very awesome so far! It is crazy, crowded and fast just as I expected but I didn’t expect Rome to be this fun to just walk around. I had heard it was unsafe in areas as well. I have walked from one side of the city the other in the last two days and have yet to feel unsafe. No one has tried to pick pocket me like they did in Paris. So far Rome, you are impressing me. Of course I still have one more day to get mugged and thrown in the alley so maybe I spoke too soon.

I have seen all the big sites so far and without question, the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica were the best. This morning I waited in line for 45 minutes to get into the Vatican Museums. I was told it could take up to 3 hours so I was super happy with 45 minutes. The museums were pretty cool for the most part, the highlight being the hall of maps (I don’t remember what it is called, but hall of maps works). It is a long ornate hall lined with hand painted maps of all of Italy. The trip through the museums finished with the Sistine Chapel and the ceiling painted by Michelangelo. So cool to see that and the room where Pope’s are elected during conclave in person!

(It has been so great to see works of art from the most famous of the famous on this trip… Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Donatello, Rafael…yes all 4 Ninja Turtles! Of course many others as well. You don’t get too much, if any, of that in the U.S.)

St. Peter’s was without a doubt the highlight of the trip so far. I have always been mildly fascinated with the Vatican and had always wanted to see the inside of St. Peter’s Basilica. I had read about how amazing it was and awe inspiring. Well, I got to walk through that door today and I have to say it lives up to the hype! It is gigantic, beautifully ornate and it absolutely inspired some awe. I walked around the whole place then took the stairs to the top of the Cupola or dome. It was quite a walk! You can walk or take the Lift, but I decided F-it I’m walking. The view from the top was worth every step! You can see all of Rome.

The Coliseum was neat to see and think about what had gone on inside centuries ago, but unlike the Vatican, I wasn’t blown away by it. I also saw the Pantheon, a few fountains and a few other churches around Rome.  Most of the popular spots are so crowded with tourists that it makes it more of a pain to see. I can’t really complain as I am just one of the tourists as well, so whatever.

Random Rome Observations:

– Are people in Rome very serious about religion? I can’t tell 😉

– Why is that in our large cities every car is normal or over sized and in the cities in Europe 99% of the cars are tiny and fuel efficient?? Oh yeah because we are wasteful!

– Pizza here is different and good. I had some yesterday from a little whole in the wall place away from the tourist traps that was great. The mushrooms on it were melt in your mouth amazing and the mozzarella was as good as it gets. (You can still get shitty pizza here though!) It has nothing in Paddington’s in Salem, OR though!

– There are a lot of fat guys that seem to be dating or married to smoking hot ladies. I guess that has to happen though when just about every woman in Rome is gorgeous!

– Bought a half pound of Grapes and a plum at a little produce market today. It was .41 Euros. That is like 70 cents! In Bend that would have been 4 bucks.

– Otherwise, Rome is expensive. Especially if you are around tourists areas.

– Walked into a Random church today and they were doing some sort of thing…mass? in Italian. The Italian language is awesome to listen to. It is kinda like Spanish with a bunch of flair, or some pizazz to it! I like it. It makes English seem so boring. If Italian was spoken in more places than just Italy it would be fun to learn.

– Speaking of language…I am a bit embarrassed that I don’t speak another language. I am going to fix that. Everyone over here speaks at least their native language and English. I’m gonna get on that when I get home. Maybe I’ll pick up German again?

–  I want to go snowboarding!

– It is fun to watch kids fight with their parents in Italy. They both yell really loudly and use their arms a lot and make big gestures at each other.

– The Rome subway system is kinda a joke. There was zero space on it tonight so I walked back home. They only have 2 lines. They need to get with it. It is also scary down there. So dark and gross and shady!

– Munich in a couple days!!

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