First and foremost, my apologies for taking such a long break! So, we were in Rome, walking along the cobbled streets, seeing huge old buildings, priceless pieces of architecture and art adorning the sidewalks! If you have the time and the inclination, walking the streets of Rome with no agenda is the best thing one can do.
Talking about day 1 I missed a very very important and beautiful monument – St. Peter’s Church. Well, it technically is a part of the Vatican city, and it is a very impressive and interesting monument. If you see it in twilight, you can experience its magnificence much better – but we saw it in the late afternoon. Well, in a city where twilight only begins around 8.00 pm, 5.30 in the evening is late afternoon, I suppose.
And so we took this city bus to Vatican, looking for someone who might be able to tell us what stop we should get off at. Incidentally, there was an obviously Indian couple on the bus, who looked like they might have some idea about where we should be going, but they were neither inclined to communicating with us (the bad impression that is prevalent about Italy, may be?) nor did.
So we asked this youngster who seemed to know a little bit of English – and who at least understood that we were trying to get to the Vatican City. So we boarded this bus and got off at the stop we thought she’d told us to get off at, only to find that it was St. Michael’s which is also the local museum for something or the other (I didn’t understand that even when I was standing in front of the place, since the name and details were in Italian). But the good thing is you can walk a few hundred meters and reach St. Peters! It is a huge church adorned with straight columns on its passages and the 12 apostles standing on the roof!
All Catholic Churches request the dear beloved to be appropriately dressed. But more than that, they make arrangements for them to be so! Outside every single church we visited, there was a service provided by the church to give people wraps to cover the upper half / lower half of their bodies as required. Something that I found very, very surprising and very very good thing to do. (I wish I had a picture of the people wearing them)
Inside the church, there are beautiful stain glass windows ( A standard feature in all the European Churches I suppose), rich paintings (some of them I am sure are priceless – the names that you can read inside a church would simply leave you gaping I believe).
And before you start commenting on the photo! Flash is forbidden inside the church, so I simply managed to click pictures with my mouth agape and hands shaking in awe and excitement! 🙂 I wish my hand was steadier though! And then of course we saw the famous change of guards (without actually realising what was happening). Inside the church you feel a sense of awe and peace at the same time. Awe at the dimensions and the beauty, peace because there is actually a ‘positive aura’ in there – the kind that I feel exists at the temple of Somnath.