Rome. Is. Awesome.
I know every city in Europe is full of history. You can feel it in every cobblestone. But there's something about Rome that is almost overwhelming.
"That's where Julius Caesar stood. That's where Nero lived. That's where gladiators fought. This building has been here in some form for 2000 years."
On our first night in town, we checked into our apartment (a slightly awkward arrangement in which we had one bedroom and a couple had the other room and there was only one bathroom) and then we went straight out for dinner. We've had a problem with forgetting to eat on the days we travel...oops. after a quick calzone meal, we tried to get back into the apartment. Tried.
So I apparently am key-impaired. The door is one of those typical European ones, where the handle doesn't turn--you use the key to unlock and push the door open. Only it wouldn't unlock or open. For half an hour. We asked the owner for help, and she and her awesome husband came over. Of course it took them about 4 seconds to open the dumb thing. Since then, I always practice opening doors, like a small child...
The next day, we slept a little late and went to the colosseum. I love the colosseum. It's way smaller than it used to be, but it's still huge. It had this strange quality that makes it feel only large until you glance across the arena and see how tiny the people are over there are. Standing there and imagining what it would've been like to experience the colosseum during the games. Well, you know, without that whole people killing eachother thing.
We found ourselves a part of a tour group that had some great info, and afterwards they offered a "free" tour of the forum. The guide we had there was a British guy named Alex. If you ever go to Rome, get his info from me, because he's brilliant and knows everything about ancient Rome. He has worked at the Louvre, now he works at the Vatican. No big deal, right? At the end of the forum tour he offered everyone a morning or night walk through the "Secrets of Rome" the next day. It was expensive, but we like learning and Alex was a great guide, so we went reserved spots for the next evening.
The following morning we headed to the Vatican. I'm not Catholic, but I love the museums there. I'm pretty sure I hurt my neck looking at all of the ceilings. It's amazing. The Sistine Chapel, you guys. The rooms filled with statues. We wondered what would happen if all the museums in the world agreed to give the owner countries back all their art...so much art has been stolen or "borrowed" from its home over the centuries.
It takes hours to walk through the museums. I think we did it in about 3 hours, and that's not including the ginormous line out front.
By the time we got out of the museums, checked out the basilica, got pizza for lunch, and headed back to the metro, it was almost 4. The days go by so quickly here. I know it's because we are always headed somewhere, but I wish I could slow time down. I want to be here forever.
The night tour was spectacular. The monuments in Paris and Rome are lit from the bottom at night, so everything is bathed in golden light. It's like a dream. We went in a few churches, stopped in a few stinky alleyways....gazed slack-jawed more than a few times. Glass coffins, false ceilings, illusions. You know, typical awesome things.
And then it was done. No matter what city we go to (well, except for Milan), I wish we could be there/here longer. I could spend months in Paris and Rome. Years. Germany feels like it was so long ago, but I could spend years there, too.