Friday, January 27, 2017

Rome, 2015

My first time in Rome and it was a blurry of opulent and grandiose churches, nothing really stood out, except for the church of the holy steps. I remember that church distinctly because people were kneeling while climbing the steps (apparently those are the stairs Jesus climbed when he was sentenced by Pontious Pilate), everything else is just a blur... all the churches were crowded, teeming with people. The Sistine chapel was bursting with tourists, hardly any space to breathe, pray or reflect. In that sense, Rome didn't really imprint on me, it would have been nice to skip all the churches and crowds and just walk the streets, like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. But that wasn't possible, we didn't get to see the Trevi fountain either, which I was kinda looking forward to, had saved a few ten rupee coins to throw into the water, but that place was under construction so we had to skip it. Anyway, 
here's the defining image of Rome, the Colosseum, we didn't go inside, just saw it while driving around the city.
This is the Lateran church... nicely framed against the blue sky...
A pock marked tree...
Had lunch at an Indian restaurant, food was quite good...
Then visited the Vatican museum... which is quite huge and crowded...
Saw this tapestry of the Rising Christ, which was quite captivating...
And The Pietà by Michelangelo, housed in St. Peter's basilica... this is stunning, the features on the face, the folds on the clothes... quite exquisite 
St. Peter's Basilica
Went to the same Indian restaurant for dinner and wine...
Then came back to our hotel, a mass was held in the dining room... after which we night revelers set out to explore Frascati by night. (Frascati is where our hotel was located, on the outskirts of Rome). Had ice cream, cold coffee, walked around a bit and then drove back to the hotel... 
Woke up quite early, reached St. Peter's square and waited in the sun to see the pope. Man! it gets really hot in Rome, we were roasting out there in the square. ... the heat was relentless.
Crowds and crowds of people waiting to see the pope...
Here he comes, that white dot among the blackish dots is Papa Francesco with his guards. The whole crowd goes berserk when he appears, he takes the stage, some scriptures are read in different languages, he says the Our Father and gives his blessings. then he is driven around on the pope mobile, he stops now and then to kiss babies and sick people on the way... and finally he leaves. The whole experience was exhausting yet with friends around, quite fun. After this we shopped a bit, had lunch nearby and then drove to Milan...
where we had risotto for dinner...
Our rooms in Milan... sadly couldn't go out to see the Duomo (Milan Cathedral), I mean we were in Milan to catch the flight back to Chennai, the Cathedral was not part of the itinerary, but we were so close... and we missed it. Woke up early, drove to the airport and ate some good...
plane food...
More food...
Saw a German movie in the plane, Hin und weg (Tour de Force), quite poignant. Landed in Doha, shopped a bit then boarded the flight to Chennai. Qatar airways is really good, they don't herd you into a dimly lit corridor if you are bound for India, which the other airlines like to do. Anyway all that aside, this was a crazy trip... and even though I really did not want to go initially, I didn't want it to end as the days went by. 

P.S: Finally in January 2017, I finish this 2015 travel series... re-living a bit each time I post something. Here's the entire series for this 2015 trip...

2 comments:

Merlesworld said...

I like the look of all the food lots of tasty things there.
Merle..............

Karen Xavier said...

Yeah Merle, food was good everywhere we went...