Italy Journal: Week 1 - Rome

11/14/14

I have been awake for 26+ hours. My body tells me that it's 11 am and it's grumpy that I pulled an all nighter. As per usual, I didn't sleep on the plane. The Amsterdam airport was interesting. We walked a crazy route to get to our gate. At the MSP airport, since we were flying international, we were in a different section. The waiting area had a bunch of iPads so I spent the time reading Deadman Wonderland online. My travel team is Jonathan, Joel, Jillian, Micah and Danny. Our name is the Misfits and it really suits us. We're a motley bunch.
I'm currently in my hotel room in Rome. It's small. We walked out to see the bus stop and learn how the system works. In this hour before dinner, I'm keeping my mind busy  so I don't fall asleep. I'm.So.Tired.

11/15/14

Today we went into Rome for our first tour. We had an excellent guide named Suzanne. We toured the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The Colosseum was smaller than I thought it would be, but it was still impressive. I loved being in a European city again. Cobblestones! Ah, the feels. I scraped some skin off my thumb at the Forum and I cleaned it out as soon as I got back to the hotel.

11/16/14

Today was a free day in Rome. I went with a bunch of people to mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. We saw the Pope and heard his blessing. It was pretty surreal. Then I wandered around with Abby, Sarah and Ethan. We went to a beautiful church called San Giovanni. While I was there I found out why I never felt God in fancy churches. It was because I was always searching for him when he was already there. God is in all the people; he doesn't need to be extra there in the church. It's just a building. When people are there and God is in the people, God is in the church, because the people are the church. I sat on the floor and thought about that for a while. When we came back I laid down and slept through dinner.

11/17/14

We toured the Pantheon and some churches today together with R7. We had free time after that, but I ate lunch and came back to the hotel. I'm pretty tired, but I don't know if I can sleep. So I guess I'll play Minecraft and listen to music. It's hard to sightsee every day.
P.s. I did play minecraft and slept badly.

11/18/14

That which reflects God's nature and is therefore pleasing to Him = beauty. I tend to find beautiful that which is pleasing to me, but I have to learn to see as beautiful that which is pleasing to God. I like to call beautiful what which I can see God in.
Today was a class day and I didn't go into Rome. I needed a day off. It was a good idea.

11/19/14

Galleria Borgese. The first villa to be built solely to house art. We took the bust, then had to wait for 30 minutes for a tiny little bus to take us up to the villa. Then we walked a ways through a beautiful park. I wish Dad was here. He would love this. Inside, we saw some amazing sculptures. My favourite was Paulina, sister of Napolean, who posed as Venus. Her husband had been ignoring her, so she gave him the sculpture as a present. He didn't think anything of it, so she allowed the public to come in and see it. Bernini did an amazing job at making the couch cushions look like they were really supporting her. After the museum, we had lunch outside. A man was playing the accordion. His repertoire was limited but good.
Then a group of us went to visit the Priscilla Catacombs. I'm really glad I went. It was super cool to see the old frescoes and mosaics done by the early Christians. Totally worth it. There were so many tunnels that we didn't even go in! It wasn't claustrophobic at all. Christians didn't worship down there, though, that's just a myth. There are 60,000 catacombs in Rome, but only 7 are open to the public. The tombs at the top are the oldest and they would dig further down as they needed. There are no bones there anymore. All the graves are open because robbers broke in to find gold. Then tourists would take pieces of the bones away with them, so they were removed 20 yrs. ago.
A smaller group: Ryan, Daniel, Janelle, Gen, Emily, Brian, Yana and I went to get gelato by the Pantheon. It was dark and there was a guy singing opera. He was really good. Then a man started playing electric guitar and I danced like a crazy person and it was fun. After the bus ride back we ate dinner and I went to bed early.

11/20/14

This wasn't the longest day, but it was the most tiring. Today was the Vatican tour. We toured the church first. We had lunch at a little cafe before heading to the museum. We saw the School of Athens by Raphael and the Sistine Chapel. Oh. My. God. It was breathtaking. I snuck some pictures because I loved it so much, I had to make sure I remembered how beautiful it was. I wanted to climb the dome of St. Peter's afterward, but my feet and back were killing me, so I went back to the hotel with Brian. I had a cappuccino, packed up my stuff and was silly in the evening.

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