Mediterranean Cruise

May 2004
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Wednesday, May 26, 2004, Civitavecchia Italy

Rome wasn't built in a day, but we tried to see it all in one.

Our travel time from the port in Civitavecchia to Rome was supposed to be about 90 minutes. Unfortunately we got stuck it the worst traffic I've seen in a long time. I know that's hard to believe comming from a Chicagoan. I lost track of time but I think it ended up taking us about two and a half hours to arrive. Due to the traffic and the pope's schedule the guide decided to take us to see the Colosseum first.

The Colosseum

I was very impressed with the Colosseum. The fact this it was built close to 2000 years ago without the use of modern machinery is mind boggling. There was a lot about it the reminds me of modern sports stadiums. For example, up to 50,000 spectators would enter the Colosseum through one of 76 entrances using numbered tickets. You can still see the Roman numerals over each entryway. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to go into the Colosseum. Instead we walked around the Roman Forum where we saw the Arch of Titus and other ruins.

The Colosseum Arch of Constantine Arch of Titus

The Trevi Fountain

From the Colosseum we took a bus over to another part of Rome where we walked over to the Trevi Fountain. The fountain is very large and quite impressive. Because of all the buildings surrounding it you don't realize how big it is until you're right in front of it. Legend has it that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder while standing with your back to the fountain it will ensure good fortune and a fast return to Rome. Unfortunately Aaron and I didn't know the exact details of this and just threw coins in normally. Hopefully we'll return despite the error.

The Trevi Fountain

The Spanish Steps

I didn't really understand what the big deal was about The Spanish Steps. After researching it on-line I'm still not sure what they signify. It is a nice place to sit and relax. I think the significance might be that it's a good place to meet and gather.

The Spanish Steps

The Vatican

I think we broke a record for the shortest trip to the Vatican. Unfortunately when we arrived we were already running late and we ended up fitting our entire visit to the Vatican into about 90 minutes. We started out in the Vatican Courtyard where our tour guide explained the different parts of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling. Unfortunately we pissed off the tour guide by asking him to shorten his lecture due to our time constraint. From the courtyard we walked very quickly passing through many rooms on our way to the Sistine Chapel without having a chance to really see what we were walking past. Many of the ceilings in the hallways were highly decorated. A few of us got separated from the group as we were weaving around crowds, but we just kept following the signs pointing to the Sistine Chapel. Eventually we made it to the Chapel. Even though I had seen pictures of the chapel ceiling before the chapel wasn't quite what I had expected. It wasn't as long or as big as I had expected, but the ceiling was much higher than I expected. It was difficult to see much detail due to the ceiling's height.

Vatican Courtyard St. Peter's Cathedral

After viewing the Sistine Chapel we walked over to St. Peter's Cathedral. St. Peter's is an enormous cathedral lavishly decorated with many paintings and sculptures. Unfortunately by the time we arrived I was tired and didn't spend much time looking around.

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