I don't remember what this is. More pictures later.
Boy has it been a long day. I had a wonderful night's sleep, and a great breakfast (although America definitely uses a lot more sugar in everything than everywhere else, I've found). My group took the metro to Vatican City to see the Vatican Museum, where the Sistine Chapel is, and St. Peter's Basilica. We had trouble with the tickets at the metro station, and one of the machines broke, so there was so much buildup with 30 tourists. All the locals got so fed up with us. That is one thing I keep noticing: the Italian people seem to have no patience for tourists, because they deal with them all the time. I'm sure that's how I'd be if I lived in a high-traffic tourist spot. I don't blame them, but it doesn't feel good to be talked down to all the time.
We had a surprise today at St. Peter's square. It was the 80th anniversary of the something something, so the Pope came out to talk! There was a huge crowd there waiting for him, and it reminded me of General Conference. Except he rode around in that ridiculous little truck waving for like ten minutes. And then when he got up to speak he sang first. It is all so foreign to me. Um...yeah. In Europe there are so many languages spoken, that everything official is read in like ten different languages. Crazy! The statues on top of the square are all so beautiful. I really appreciate all the architecture in Rome, but the cathedrals, no matter how beautiful, don't really evoke any spiritual reverence from me. I can appreciate them as art, but strangely long for a simple church like the ones in the LDS church. The simplicity leaves room for pondering, I think. I never thought I would say I miss our plain churches, but in some ways, I do.
We were talking about how we didn't really like the pizzeria we went to last night. My roommate Amber has a theory that it was run by the Mafia. She thinks so because our concierge referred us to them, and they seemed like a "tourist trap." I don't really believe her, but it's fun to entertain the thought, especially when it's actually feasible.
We had time to walk around Rome today for a long time. Everywhere we went I wanted to take a picture. We saw a garden courtyard in one building we walked past, with a cool spiral staircase next to it. Naturally, we wanted to go in and take more pictures. This dude in some sort of foreign military uniform was in there, and didn't say a word to us. And then his friend came in in another uniform, and yelled at us to get out. I can now check getting kicked out of the Brazilian Embassy off my bucket list.
I had a feeling I wouldn't like the food here, and I was right. It seems like all there is to eat in Rome is panini, pizza, and gelatto, or food from a really expensive sit-down restaurant. Well, I finally found a place near the Spanish Steps that sells amazing lasagna. I always split a meal, just so things are cheaper. I find myself hungry most of the day because we walk, but it's helping with the budget and hopefully my waistline. At the lasagna place, our waiter took 10 of us downstairs into a secluded room. He flipped around the channels on the TV and turned on MTV for us. It cracked me up! We're here to get a feel of the Italian culture, and there are so many American influences everywhere.
Jeannette, you were right about the cargo pants that turn into capris. They ARE so European. Some dude thought I was French today! Other than that, everyone knows for a fact that we're American.
I bought postcards for everyone today, and POPE stamps at the Vatican Museum. I didn't even realize it, but they're pretty legit. Expect letters and postcards soon, but first, I NEED EVERYONE'S ADDRESS! (Including both grandparents, mom and dad.) Please comment back with your address so I can send you something cool.
I found out by reading the fine print in my phone manual that my phone doesn't work outside of the US and Canada. I'm pretty pissed off at myself that I didn't ask the cashier at WalMart, but I have a feeling that he wouldn't have know and lied to me anyway, so I guess either way I would have been screwed. I'm thinking about either buying a phone card or just waiting until we can get better internet. The hotel here in Rome only has one computer ( for like 100 guests), and the WiFi is out. We're all getting impatient to talk to our loved ones, especially met! I want to hear your voices! Just know that I am having a great time and will try to call soon. Also, once I can get internet on my computer for a long period of time, I will post pictures. I have taken a ton already.