I have been working SO much on client photos and business stuff, yesterday I needed some time with some personal photos. I’m sure that the people who have been bugging me to post honeymoon photos won’t complain too much, right? Going through these photos again, and reading my journal that I wrote while I was there, makes me smile. I realize the value of the written word, but I got writer’s cramp last time, so maybe on our next trip I will have to type it out on my iPad. Because I don’t want to miss a thing, I want to remember every single little thing. The little things are sometimes the most important, the best memories. I asked Tom the other night what his favorite memory was from our honeymoon, and his answer surprised me – me, sitting on the balcony in Rome, and then on the cruiseship. It was my quiet time, my time to relax and enjoy the sunrise. I don’t know if he enjoyed watching me because he was watching his new wife, or because he was amazed that I was up so early – because let’s face it, mornings are not a strength of mine. But he told me his favorite memory, and it touched my heart, and I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to know that he had some memories too, without writing them down. What a special trip for both of us.
Anything quoted is directly from my journal, keep in mind I wrote about the previous day in each entry, that’s why the dates are funky. :)
September 16, 2011.
I think. It’s our third day here. I’m here again, at one of my many happy places while in Rome. On the balcony, watching the sun rise with my coffee and my journal. Awesome, right? It’s Friday, only two days left in Italy. That fact is bittersweet though. I’m excited to get on the ship and relax, but I’m so in love with Italy. It is crazy to know that as I sit here, to my right, beyond a wall and some trees, sits the Vatican. The VATICAN, a completely different country, buildings full of history and art!
Yesterday at breakfast I told Tom “oh my GOSH they have olive oil in the salt and pepper caddy thingy – this is SO my country!” Seriously, how cool is that? Speaking of cool – our breakfast at the hotel is FANTASTIC. Pastries, eggs, ham & salami, cheese, and my favorite – tomatoes & fresh mozzarella. With olive oil, of course. Can I take the awesome staff home with me, please?
Before any trip we take, I’m a little OCD about packing. I want to make sure that we have everything we need, especially while visiting another country, because sometimes the things that we use everyday are difficult to find in other countries. I knew that our phones wouldn’t work while we were in Europe, and since that was the primary timekeeping method for both of us, I bought a watch instead. It is truly an awesome watch, it has Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl on it with pink rhinestones! (BLING!) At the top it says “Anything boys can do girls can do better.” Why am I giving you such a detailed description of the watch? Because it’s necessary to understand the next few sentences.
The watch had a rather round face and was digging into my wrist, but it was our only method of keeping time. I put it in my pocket, and Tom insisted on wearing it. My husband. With pink rhinestones on his watch. Or rather MY watch, on his wrist. The ENTIRE breakfast was spent commenting on how awesome he looked, he was very proud. Sarcastically, of course. I kept telling him that I would wear it, and he said that he was comfortable enough with his manhood to wear it. So, he spent almost two weeks in Europe with this watch on. I’m sure anyone who saw it was a little confused, oh well.
Another notable fact about Italy – THERE IS NUTELLA EVERYWHERE. Umm… YUM! They have little packets of it with breakfast, like we have ketchup in packets.
Randomness – I really miss Kaden. The time difference makes it really difficult to talk to him. I got up at am today to call, but he was already asleep, I had just missed him. I will keep trying, I miss him terribly.
More about yesterday… let’s see. We ate breakfast and went down to the lobby to meet our escort for the Vatican tour. We spent an hour in traffic, fearing for our lives. Now let me be clear – the driver wasn’t bad, but fearing for your life in traffic is apparently an everyday thing in Rome. So we did our hour in the car, and were dropped off at an office. No instructions, nothing. The guy just left. Umm okay. So we went inside to find out that we had to confirm the tour. We finished paperwork and waited for the bus. Now keep in mind, we’ve now spent an hour and a half for a Vatican tour – and the Vatican is a five minute walk from our hotel. We had no idea we would have to go into the heart of the city to go back to where we came from. But, we did. We waited for the bus, the VERY full bus. Mariachi was our tour guide, and at first she seemed quite subdued and quiet – but we found out she has QUITE the personality.
When we arrived at Musei Vaticani, we were surprised to see a line almost a mile long. No exaggeration, it literally stretched for blocks. Luckily we didn’t have to wait in line because of the tour – the primary reason for booking it – so we got our audio thingies and went inside.
At first, it wasn’t impressive, I was kind of disappointed. It looked like any other museum gift shop – boo. But we went up several VERY steep escalators and entered a different WORLD of opulence, wealth, and affluence. The artwork was unbelievably amazing. We went from gallery to gallery in complete awe. Every square inch of each room was decorated. Some ceilings were painted to look three dimensional, like sculptures, but were actually completely flat. The tapestries were so detailed and HUGE. One of the tapestries of Christ had an odd effect – no matter where you were, his eyes would follow. It was definitely a little unnerving. The art was gorgeous, but the stories and history were even more amazing. That was the best part of being a part of a larger tour, with a local guide – she knew the stories for things, the little nuances that made the art more than it seemed to be. For instance, most of the figures in the Sistine Chapel paintings by Michelangelo were originally painted completely nude. After Michelangelo’s death in 1564, the church declared the nudity to be obscene and commissioned his apprentice to cover the genitals with fig leaves. Michelangelo studied cadavers and human anatomy to create his pieces of art, I’m sure he was probably turning in his grave when someone painted fig leaves over art that he spent so much of his life on. He originally told the church that he painted them nude because “we are all naked before God” but after his death, his work was changed.
Mariachi told us these stories, and I appreciated what I was looking at that much more. We kept moving through galleries until we got closer to the end of the tour – the piece de resistance, what most people wanted to see, including myself – The Sistine Chapel. The chapel itself was breathtaking, such an amazing piece of art. I was daydreaming of shooting a wedding there, and looking at all of the different stories painted onto the ceiling. However, I must say, the sense of awe and wonder was severely dampened by the guards that were constantly yelling at everyone. Here we are, in a sacred place, asked not to speak loudly for that reason, and the guards are yelling “NO FOTO, NO VIDEO” every few seconds. Oh yeah, I went there. So because I started down this path, let me explain the reason we were given for not being able to take photos in the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican officials said that selling photos is how they pay to renovate the chapel, and for that reason, they don’t allow anyone else to take photos so that they have the sole sales rights.
I take issue with this for lots of reasons, most of which I won’t go into here, but typically my thoughts when photographing places are, ask for forgiveness, not for permission. I couldn’t bring the camera up to my face, so focusing and taking the photos with my hands at my waist wasn’t easy. I figured, hey, if I’m fast enough, I can take one photo real quick. They were NOT happy with me, and I immediately had guards near me. Tom had walked away because he knew I was going to do it, and he didn’t want to condone my breaking of the rules… and when the guards approached me I apologized and tried to placate them, and they moved onto someone else with a video camera. Tom was NOT happy with me, he told me later that he thought we were going to be arrested by the Vatican police, and that he didn’t want to get in trouble with the Vatican because they might have “connections” with God. HA! I told him that I highly doubt God would be pissed about one photo, he has bigger things to worry about. Plus, either way, the guards were yelling at us. May as well get a photo and give them a reason, right? So, I got in trouble. I’m sure that Tom had flashes of us, on the news, arrested by Vatican police, and his VERY Catholic family freaking out. But alas, no such drama took place. I got a lecture, and kept the photo. ;) I LOVED the Sistine Chapel, I was amazed and would have loved to spend some time in there completely alone, in silence, without all of the tourist craziness. Just time with me and God, taking in all of the history that has happened there.
My feelings for the chapel could not have prepared me for St. Peter’s Basilica though.
Wow, Wow, WOW. The church was truly amazing, literally breathtaking. So much beauty, so many things to see. Tombs, altars and memories. The light streaming through the upper windows. Art pieces of suffering saints. Sculptures of popes, and Christ. Altars made of precious metals, domes, paintings, and just… WOW.
The one piece of art that really got to me was Michelangelo’s Pieta. A marble statue of Mary, holding her crucified son. It was hard to get a good photo because of the glass, but this was definitely one of my most favorite pieces from the entire day. Historians say there are issues with the validity of the representation of both of them – because Mary is depicted as a young woman, and Christ is grown, but regardless of ages, to me, I saw a mom, holding her son. It was VERY powerful, and I fell in love with the sculpture. It was behind glass because someone had previously vandalized it and tried to destroy it years ago, and it is now protected. It is the only piece that Michelangelo ever signed, and is striking.
Pope John Paul II’s tomb is still on display, and there were several priests, nuns and followers praying at it. We passed it, and several other tombs, with the faithful praying and touching everything they could.
When we walked out into St. Peter’s Square it was SO bright, we weren’t prepared for that. St. Peter’s Square was beautiful, really. But not my favorite site that we had seen that day. Until later. ;)
We had kind of jumped in with both feet when it came to touring, especially for our first full day there – and we were exhausted. We got some water and decided to go back to the hotel, for our daily treat – siesta! I love naps, no argument from me, but I’m kind of surprised Tom wanted to nap. Usually he will not actually lie down to nap, but just lie on the couch and pretend to be awake. I don’t know if it was leftover jetlag and our schedules being so off, or just relaxing after the wedding, but we napped every. Single. Day. And then we would wake up, and decide where to spend our evenings sightseeing.
I literally took THOUSANDS of photos on our honeymoon, and to share them all on my blog would be far too many. Please click below to watch a slideshow of more Vatican photos.
Day 2 to be continued, with our evening bus tour in Rome…
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