September 30th, 2012

mathman

Italy recap: Day 4 (Borghese Gallery, opera)

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Wednesday 2:30 PM
Today was the Borghese Gallery (you make reservations for a timeslot - ours was 11 to 1). It was a bit of a walk to get there but was saw some nice parts of Rome, including the US embassy. We arrived early, which was good because first we had to wait in line for our (already bought) tickets, then in a line for an audio tour, then in a line to check our bag/cameras/phone. They seem very protective of the Gallery (although there were no metal detectors like in the Vatican), and after we entered we could see why - the place is absolutely stunning. Not terribly big as museums go, but many beautiful sculptures, paintings, and mosaics. My favorite sculpture was "Apollo e Dafne" by Bernini - Apollo has just caught Daphne, who is being transformed into a tree. David's favorite was "Paolina Borghese" by Antonio Canova, a sculpture of a member of the Borghese family reclining on a couch. And we got a kick out of the painting Danae by Correggio, which is so dirty in subject matter (according to the audio tour) that I won't describe it here (but ask me if you're interested!) Jupiter was a tricky god...

So the organization of the museum was a bit of a mess (it was unclear which line you had to wait in first) and the museum is on the small side, but I enjoyed it a lot. Afterwards we walked back, had lunch (and gelato!) and are resting for a bit before deciding what to do next - we have tickets to the opera (La Traviata) but nothing planned until then.

6:30 PM

We decided to walk down to the Time Elevator, which was a short movie about Rome with moving seats, "special effects" (i.e. wind blowing at you), etc. It was cheesy but fun. We also read the plot to La Traviata so hopefully we'll be able to follow along tonight, since it's presumably in Italian!

9:30 PM

La Traviata was good but we bailed early because it was in Italian, but also the theater was miserably hot with no A/C or fans. It was a nice little theater, though, with a bar inside so you could drink wine at your seat!

Then we had delicious gelato. (I should really end every day with that sentence!)
mathman

Italy recap: Day 5 (Colosseum)

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Thursday 5 PM
We slept in a bit and made our way down to the Colosseum, which is a pretty impressive building. Spent a bit walking around inside - there were a lot of informative displays, which was nice. (Fun fact: for a while they would flood the floor and conduct naval battles!) Afterwards with our newly-acquired bus map we took a bus to the Campo di Fiori, which is an outdoor market. After doing a little shopping, including a Balotelli jersey and turning down some "Bunga Bunga" sauce max, we sat down for some lunch just as it started to rain. Score! The lunch place had a TV showing a soccer match, which I eventually deduced was Inter Milan vs. AS Roma. The channel that was broadcasting the game had literally no information on screen - no score, no "who scored that goal", no "who got that yellow card", no "who is being substituted in". They didn't even show the final score when the game was over, although it was clear AS Roma had lost.

The WiFi at our hotel occasionally works now, but only occasionally, so I was using my international data plan when I saw I had a voicemail. Turns out it was from ADT saying our burglar alarm had been set off! I tried to call them but I wasn't able to make international calling work - luckily some friends checked out the house and it looks fine. (thanks friends!) [Ed: after a few more false alarms this past week we had someone come out and fix the system. Yay!]

We took the bus back to the hotel and then went out for some wandering - it started to rain harder so we ducked into a cafe and got some hot tea, from where I write these words. [Ed: and as I type these words I'm drinking hot tea! Although not in a cafe.]

Aside - we've seen a few places now a calendar called "The Vatican", but would be more accurately called "Attractive young priests doing things around the Vatican". Weird.

Aside - I swear, we were offered umbrellas by fifteen people on the mile walk back to our hotel!

Later

Walked around the corner for dinner, but it's been a quiet night other than that - resting and relaxing.