Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Highlights from ROME

Kerry and Brett's engagement
Engagement pics

After our first day we had a fantastic dinner at a small side street restaurant. We all had some wonderful wine and dinner and hurried home exhausted when the rain started. Neil and I fell asleep within about 10 seconds of putting our heads on the pillows.

I woke up when Kerry was knocking on the door and telling me she has something to tell me. I would have been worried something has happened but I was so out of it that I turned the lights on and ran around the room for about 5 minutes trying to figure out where Neil has put my pants to dry. Finally I opened the door and they came in.

Kerry showed me her ring and I was jumping up and down with my pants almost falling off. Apparently when they got home Brett told her he wanted to go out just the two of them. Kerry had no idea what was about to happen and thought it was a silly idea since it was raining outside. But he insisted and they went to Trevi fountain. There were a few people there. He got on his knee and asked her to marry him in Italian and English. The people standing around were cheering and the polizia car turned on its sirens. Of course she said "Yes" and the local photographer took 2 pictures of them.

It was romantic and beautiful -- Brett did very well :)

The genuine oldness and beauty of everything

It was almost surreal. It felt like something from a movie but this was the real deal not a Universal Studios of Disneyland.

The city is beautiful, romantic, full of history. I was walking on the streets and had to remind myself that Cesar was walking on these cobble stones and so much of what we know of the world now came out of here. It was amazing.

The busy streets with honking, sirens, traffic going 56 different directions. People, gestures, Italian language
Streets pics

Seems that Italians love to use sirens. They also love their bikes. They are characters. Old men well dressed, older women very well posed smoking on street corners. Talking this mysterious beautiful language, expressing more with their hands than with their mouth. But using the latter very loudly.

I was warned that men there tell women how beautiful they are and are not shy about it. They weren't shy at all, that's true. They would openly look and check out girls. I would like to think that no one whistled at me because we were in the company of two gentlemen but I can dream... :) The only attempt by one waiter to teach me properly say "gracia" was met with a very angry look from my husband and the guy retrieved as quickly as he appeared. No, we just decided to eat at a different restaurant.

The food and gelato (Italian ice cream)

The food was beyond good. Generally I try not to eat all the flour products as they interfere with my ... how should I put it... regularity. But there was no way I was even thinking of feeling guilty for eating as much pizza, pasta and other very naughty things to the full. We ate fantastic food, the highlight for me was baked cannelloni, we drank wine, we ate gelato. Italian ice cream is the best. There are about 4855859687 varieties of it and they are all good. After eating our bellies full at the restaurant for lunch on the last day, we stopped and spent about half hour picking only 3 kinds of ice cream each.


There was so much religion. There was a church on every street corner. So many and so beautiful, so detailed, so old, so elegant, so full of genuine, one-of-a-kind art that after a while you look at it and don't think twice about it. The sad thing was that God there didn't seem personal. At least to me and to me that is what faith is -- personal relationship with God. I want to be very careful how I say this because I don't believe in bashing people who express their beliefs in God in a different way, but to me, there were more statues of church fathers and popes than of God. The one time I sincerely felt art as a form of worship was in the Sistine Chapel.

It is big and by the time you get there you've seen so much beauty that it's like "Ok, we've done it", but it was one place where I got the feeling that God was being worshipped in the making of this piece of art. It was about Bible and about God and about man and about the journey of a lifetime and the journey of world creation. It was expressed with so much talent and so much passion that it touched me differently than that magnificent basilicas and other religious symbols.

Traveling with Kerry and Brett

It was so much fun traveling with Kerry and Brett. All four of us seemed to balance each other out very well. Kerry and Brett were in charge of making decisions where to go (I hate doing that) and finding the way there (I am not so good at that), Neil was helping them and keeping up good mood and I was the photographer on duty. Neil helped with that as well. We also got to spend time with the two of them and got to know them better. It was lots of good time and fun.

One of the funny things that will stick in my mind from the trip is the white van parked in a big square. We were walking and talking and taking pictures when I turned around and saw this motion inside the tinted windows of the white van right next to me. Of course that I had to investigate what's going on and realized that there is a naked butt and a future generation in the making. Of course I couldn't keep my mouth shut so as discreetly as I could I had to tell the three of them. We had such a laugh about that the whole trip.

Also, St Peter's basilica (the main church in the Vatican) is built in honor of Peter because Jesus said "Upon you I will build my church". So they claim to have Peters bones buried under the main altar. As for certainty if these are really Peter's bones, the answer is "definitely maybe". We (I) thought it was hilarious and that phrase became the staple phrase of our trip.

It was beautiful three days. My whole life I have dreamt of going to Italy and finally it came true. Every morning Neil and I woke up and told each other "We are in Rome!" Actually, it was more like "WE ARE IN ROME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". It was everything I thought it would be and so much more. Completely worth the money we are not saving for retirement (ask me again in 30 years). If you have a chance, go for it, it's one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Rome Day 1 pics

Rome Day 2 pics

Rome Day 3 pics


Felicia said...

Wow, it sounds like you had a fantastic trip! Very nice photos, you did a great job as 'a photographer on duty'... when are you not on duty!?:) Viva Italia!

kontrabanda said...

Viva Italia! Feli, soon it will be Viva Londres! :) :)

rochelle said...

Felicia ALWAYS beats me to comments! I guess it's because her day starts and ends earlier than mine :) I LOVE this. thanks for telling the story of Kerry and Brett, so sweet! You all look so happy, isn't it wonderful having a wonderful extended family? I can't tell you how happy I am for you.

Kori said...

Ags, I am SOOOOOO jealous. We went to Italy for our honeymoon and totally loved it. I want to go back really badly! Even more badly after seeing your beautiful pictures. :-)