Sunday, March 16, 2014

Italy -- Day 3

On our third day in Italy, we drove up to Rome in our rental car.  We'd used a hostel website to get some good last-minute discount rooms at an interesting old hotel in Rome, the Hotel Texas.

It's a good thing I liked the hotel, since I got to see a lot of it for the next few hours.  The hotel management needed to see our passports before checking us in, and Steve couldn't find his passport.  The rest of us sat around the hotel for at least two hours while he unpacked and searched all his luggage.  It was not the most exciting part of my trip to Italy.  Mostly I sat around taking pictures of everything in sight, since there wasn't anything else for me to do.

Our hotel room in the Hotel Texas.

The police station across the street.  (You can't really tell from this picture, but we could see the police officers walking around inside.  I just didn't want them to notice me photographing them.)

The view down the street.

The painted ceiling in our bedroom.

Bored selfie.

We really did wait around for at least two hours.
A detail of part of the painted ceiling.

Steve eventually decided that his passport hadn't made the trip to Rome with us.  He called our hotel in Naples, and they hadn't seen it either.  He finally decided that he might have left it at the car rental place in Naples when we first arrived in Italy, so he decided to drive the three hours back to look for his passport there.  He asked for volunteers to go with him.  I was like, "Whatever, dude.  This is your problem.  I didn't pay all that money to fly to Italy just to drive back and forth between Naples and Rome for people who can't keep track of their own things."  Well, that's not what I said, but I'm sure it was rather obvious from my facial expression.  These sorts of opinions usually are.

Sophie ended up going with him, and Heidi, Herb, and I decided to explore Rome on foot on our own.  It was a little tricky figuring out what we should see, since we wanted to see something worth seeing but not something that we'd have to go back and see when the others rejoined us.  We ended up going inside a nice Cathedral near our hotel.

 Then we stumbled upon the non-photogenic backside of the Colloseum.
 And we wandered around to the front to take some pictures there.
We saw the missionaries outside of the Colloseum too, and we stopped and said hi.  There was an Italian member of the church with them as well, and he said we should go check out this place:

So we did.

My halo isn't usually this obvious.
 Then our path led us to this church.

There was a mass or something going on inside -- something that involved a lot of beautiful singing -- so we stayed in the back.  But Heidi was taking pictures of the artwork, and this attracted the attention of one of the church security guards.  Unlike what you might think, though, she wasn't in trouble.  Quite the opposite.  He told her that since she obviously appreciated art so much, she should come with him to take a look at something in the convent part of the church that was closed for other tourists.  There was a chapel there with a mural painted by somebody or other famous.  The security guard explained it to us as he escorted the three of us back there to take a look.

Now, I'm usually pretty apathetic about art, but I really like this place, especially the way the artist created the illusion of depth on flat walls.
 All of the columns are just painted on the walls, which I thought was pretty nifty.  Honestly, (spoiler alert!) I liked this place a lot better than the Sistine Chapel, which we went and saw the next day.

After thanking our friendly security guard profusely for the private tour, we walked down the Spanish steps and headed back to our hotel, where we were happy to discover that Steve had indeed found his passport at the car rental place in the Naples airport.  And that was the end of day three.

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