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Accelerated Evolution

My trip to italy

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I dont know if anyone but Ceraziefish noticed, but the reason I havent been posting since 2 saturdays ago is because I have been in italy. Ive been on the internet, but doing other things as the internet cafes are very expensive and I wanted to pay as little as possible. Fortunately my hotel here in Florence has free access, and Im bored so instead of waiting until I get back so I can post everything I did along with pictures, I will just post what I posted on another board now, and then pics when I get back on saturday.

Yo bitches. I found a place that sells internet for 50 euro-cents every 15 minutes, which really isnt (damn italian keyboard has no apostrophie) too bad, so I thought I would check in, though I dont want to pay too much so this will be somewhat rambling and disjointed. The following is an account of my adventures so far, and is VERY long and boring if you dont care, but here it is anyway.

This is my last day in Rome, as tomorrow we leave for Naples, which means Pompeii! After getting in on sunday I went immediately to bed, being rather knocked out as I was by the 14 hour flight. The next day we saw Neros Golden Palace, the Colloseum, the Roman Forum, the square of the Musea Capitola, designed by Michaelangelo, the Vittoriano, the Pantheon, an old church that contained 2 BEAUTIFUL Carravaggio paintings (by the way, Caravaggio and Bernini are by far my 2 new favorite visual artists. LOOK THEM UP.) and then Romes only Gothic church, which had some lame Michaelangelo sculpture. The next day we saw the Vatican. This took the whole day. The line to get in was a FULL KILOMETER. Nonetheless it was COMPLETEY worth it.

Aside from the thousand (easily) or so Greek and Roman statues they had, the wonderful Egyptian exhibit, etruscan urns, and many nice, though relatively unremarkable frescoes and mosaics, there was the SISTINE CHAPEL, and the less publisized, though I though much more sublime Raphael Rooms. To put it eloquently, HOLY GOD. You hear about these things, but until you actually experience them you really dont understand. You wander through about 8 or 10 rooms whos walls are completey covered (and I mean that entirely litteraly) with masterpieces by Raphael and his students, which leads right into an architecturally very boring room with completely flat walls filled with beautiful scenes of Christ doing various Jesusy things, but then you look up and see right in the middle of the ceiling the Creation of Man, that image you have seen a thousand times before in crappy adds and whatnot, but now youre actually seeing int, flanked by lesser-known works covering the rest of the story of creation, and just when you think it cant get better you turn around and see on the wall that you just came in through the Last Judgement, 30 some feet wide for 40 or so tall, every last inch a masterpiece. The only thing that detracted from this was the fact that by this time my feet were SCREAMING in pain at me, and it was very distracting.

THEN after exiting that room, getting some pizza and sitting and resting for a bit, we wandered over to Saint Peters Basillica. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I use the word rediculous to describe a lot of things that probably dont deserve such a strong qualifier. Well, if anything ever deserved that description, its Saint Peters Basillica. This thing is RIDICULOUSLY proportioned. Go look up pictures of it. The plaza in front on it is mostly surrounded by what, when I saw it in the distance though was a massive freeway, topped all along by statues of various whatevers, and the plaza is easily 100-150 yards in diameter. Then you get to the front of the building, and its a massive imposing wall with giant pillars and huge inscriptions on the front. Oh yeah, I forgot the massive obelisk in the front, 80 or so feet high (I was VERY pleased when I heard that Rome boasted the worlds largest collection of obelisks (I have no idea why thats not Egypt)).

So I entered the church, and am looking around, when my dad taps me on the shoulder and points me to my right. There, behind bullet proof glass, in a little alcove with a giant cross behind it, is Michaelangelos Pieta. I would tell you to go look up a picture of it, but theres really no point. I had seen pictures of it in the past and wondered why it was so great, but standing there looking at it, I could seriously feel Mary's pain and despair, and I'm not even close to Christian.

By the way, did I mention the ridiculous proportions of this place? You could easily fit Nova into the room and have space left over. I dont want to guess at how high the ceiling is, but its dizzying. All along the walls and alcoves and whatnot are massive mosaics, 6 or so feet wide by 20 or so feet tall, with pieces about half a cenitmeter wide, all of masterpieces I had just seen in the Vatican meuseum. These mosaics are SOO well done, at first I thought they were paintings. In fact, I was walking through the church when I saw one of a particular painting I had really liked in the Vatican museum, and my dad and I spent about 5 minutes trying to figure out why neither this nor the one in the museum had said they were copies of an original before we realized what we were looking at was a mosaic. Thats how well done they were. As if all this and everything else in the church werent enough, down at the end, above the altar, is a MASSIVE construction by Bernini (LOOK HIM UP), 70 feet tall, made of who knows what and for what purpose, but the point is its 6 STORIES TALL. And it doesnt even come CLOSE to the ceiling.

So anyway, after that we wandered around a bit and went to bed. The NEXT day we went and saw the National Museum, which was okay, but really nothing spectacular (it has the largest collection of ancient roman statues in the world, but after the vatican, I was very statued-out). However, after that, we went to see the Borghese museum. MY GOD. At first it didnt seem all that special, some nice mosaics and statues, but then we went into the next room, the Caravaggio Room (again, look him up, though, as with any of these things, you wont at all get the effect from seeing his pictures on a computer screen.), containing 6 Caravaggios and several others by his teacher and followers. The next room contained some okay stuff, alongside The Rape of Persephone, a beautiful Bernini statue depictin a lustful Hades clutching onto Persephone, who attemps to escape with a terrified look on her face, while Cerberus sits next to them both. We wander on and see some pretty cool, but again unremarkable stuff, until we get to a room containing one of the most beatiful things I have ever seen. Berninis Apollo and Daphne. It is amazing. I don't care if you wont even begin to understand from just a picture, go look it up anyway. This statue, aside from being pure sex in visual form, made me realize that all these statues of naked people have given me a whole new appreciation for how beautiful the human body is, but that is besides the point.

After that was ANOTHER Bernini statue depicting Davide twirling his sling with an AMAZINGLY descriptive and lifelike expression of pure concentration and effort on his face. So yeah, I now consider myself a much bettered person after having seen these. After the museum, we went and saw the obelisk on top of the spanish steps, the Trevi Fountain (beautiful) the pantheon again, the Four Rivers Fountain by Bernini, and then the church with the 2 Caravaggios again.

Today, because we had been pushing it so hard the last 3 days, we decided to take the train out to a little town on top of a mesa in the countryside called Orvietto and just lounged around. This towns claim to faim is its massive Gothic Cathedral which is where the Pope created the holiday Corpus Christi after seeing the churchs relic.

So I am very much conflicted as to whether I am enjoying this trip or not. Of course, in some ways, I am having a WONDERFUL time seeing all these things that Ive been wanting to see since 3rd grade, but at the same time, I forgot that I actually get homesick, though with me it mainly just makes me irritable and uneasy, combined with the fact that the hotel bed sucks and Im not sleeping well, AND The fact that my dad has an amazingly uncanny ability to frustrate the hell out of me, means that several times I have had to force myself to not just start yelling at him on the street, and am in general in a rather strained and annoyed mood.

Though really, I suppose I should just try to ignore all that, as I am in ROME and am about to go to POMPEII, and so I have been trying to force myself to do so and just enjoy what I can. It has worked surprisingly well for the most part, and has worked especially well a couple of times, specifically as I was walking into Saint Peters Basillica listening to Dvoraks New World Symphony, sitting in front of Trevi Fountain listening to Jimi Hendrix, and looking out a train window at the Italian countryside listening to Beethovens 6th symphony (which, if anyone cares, was written to describe the Vienna countryside which I figured was close enough to make it the perfect song choice while on the train). Still I am very much missing my bed back in seattle, my computer and the internet, and social interaction with people other than my dad. WOO.

Pictures coming soon, as well as what I did after Rome (though that mostly consisted of going to Pompeii and then just sitting around and reading).

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Yes, it is a very long post. It was originally intended for a message board populated entirely by people I know in real life that would actually care, but I was quite bored sitting in my hotel room, too early to fall asleep, so I decided to post it.

Also, on an unrelated matter, I feel like an idiot for not getting your screen name earlier. It had always sounded familiar to me before and I always liked it, but I could never place it. I just finished re-reading Fellowship of the Ring the other day and one of the Lorien Elves referred to him as Mithrandir and I slapped my head for not remembering that sooner. This has been another edition of Tidbits From Galkars Mind.

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I started out taking a lot of pictures, and slowly began to take less and less as the trip progressed, but my dad has been taking them the whole time including many of me in pretty and/or iconic places when he thinks Im not looking and I fully intend to post all of the intereting/cool ones this sunday after a good nights rest (my first in 2 weeks as the hotel beds suck and my dad snores). Im glad to see someone actually took the time to read all that (assuming you did).

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