The day began for Jill and I with a brisk walk with Miwa beginning around 3AM. She seems to be having trouble dealing with the jetlag, no matter how many times we explain it to her. It’s odd, but I think I actually preferRome in the wee hours of the morning. We have the streets to ourselves, and there are enough street-lights that you can see pretty much everything anyway. So far we have managed to out-run the would-be muggers.
We were back at the apartment by 4, and I tossed and turned until at least 6, so when the alarm went off at 8:30, I was not so eager to get out of bed, nor was I alone in that lack.
Our goal was to be out of the apartment by 10, so we could make our reservation to the Vatican museums at 11am, however, we didn’t make it out until 10:15 and had to set a brisk pace to the Vatican. We arrived at St. Peter’s Square at 10:40, but then discovered that the Museum entrance was another 1km around the walls. We were supposed to be there a half hour to 15 minutes before the reserved time so we once again picked up the pace. As we rounded the first corner it became clear that the 1km was all up hill. Mitzi began to fall behind and her breathing began to worry me.
Fortunately, there was no line up (reservations were probably not needed after all) and we breezed right through the entrance (well, Mitzi wheezed through). We then spent 20 minutes allowing Mitzi to recover and changing Miwa.
The Museums were neat, though I wondered why a catholic institution would have so many Egyptian, Greek and Roman gods on display. Perhaps it is like putting the head of your enemy on a pike above the gates.
The general consensus was that the rooms painted by Raphael were better than the Sistine Chapel, though smaller in scale and both were in fact spectacular in their own rights. Miwa enjoyed the busts, she would make eye contact, squeal, and laugh just as if it was a real person. We spent 2 and a half hours quickly walking through. There were rooms I could have spent an entire day in.
On our way after the museums, we saw that the line to St. Peter’s Basilica was very short, so we decided to go in. Right outside the entrance we were stopped by a tour guide for a Japanese group who then (as if we were part of the tour) went on and on about how cute Miwa was. Mitzi, the proud Grandmother, stepped forward and said (in Japanese), “She’s half Japanese, you know!” All of the tourists were quite impressed.
Miwa was disappointed to leave the adoration of the group, and had a melt down just as we entered. To keep her quiet, I set off at a brisk, bouncy pace and didn’t get much of a look at the front half of the basilica. Miwa was asleep by the time I got to the altar, so she missed the adulation given to her by the next tour group. My impressions of the Basilica were that it was really big, beautiful and full of Japanese school- girls in short-shorts with poor flash control on their camera.
Today I learned that Jill has a rare form of Turret’s syndrome where, when she is in a holy place, phrases like “My god!”, “Jesus Christ!”, “Damn it!”, and “What the Hell?” leap from her lips at moments of dead silence in large crowded rooms. Jill finds this phenomenon entertaining and usually adds a little chuckle to each string of expletives.
On our way out of St. Peter’s Square, we ran into a tour group on Pilgrimage from Seattle who had been on the same flights as us on the way here. The waved at us and we turned around to see who it was behind us that they were waving at. After the confusion was sorted out we found that they were on their way to mass in the basilica. We were on our way for Pizza.
Which brings us to dinner! We had Pizza and some sort of rice-pudding-in- pastry thingy from Forno di Campo de’Fiori, and I split the middle on the wine front at 2.90 Euros and came out with a winner. The 2008 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo from Roccaventosa is by far the best wine under 3 Euros I have ever had (Jill interjects, of the 3 Italian wines he has bought ever). Definitely in the $20 price point if found in a B.C. Liquor Store. (It should also be noted Ben is writing these posts after drinking most of the bottle of wine that he has bought…..)
Author’s note: The following was written whilst sober in the morning, and thus is less entertaining.
We were expecting Masumi to arrive at her hotel around 7pm, and since we figured Miwa needed to stay up later to get over her jet lag, Jill and I set out for her hotel at 9:40pm, Mitzi stayed behind so she could lay awake and worry about us. On our way we accidentally ran into the Trevi Fountain, again.
We got to Masumi’s hotel about 40 minutes later and rang her room. I was on my back from the washroom just as Masumi and her husband-to- be Nobuyoshi Ishizaka stepped out of the elevator. Masumi looked at me and said, “Ben! You’ve gotten fat, yo?” Nice. I guess I’d better try to lose a few pounds. We had a nice visit after that Miwa put on quite a show of bouncing and squealing. On the way back, we accidentally ran into the Pantheon, again.
We got back at 12:15, and Miwa slept until 9:30AM.
Miwa, our pudding people baby
Miwa squealing at busts
Vatican Swiss Guard