the down low

IMG_3780Here are some of things we learned on this trip.

We wanted to go to the Vatican, we really did.  And despite being people who shy away from commitments on vacation, we sucked it up and bought tickets in advance.  Before heading over the river, we prepared ourselves for the lines we had heard about.  Yes, Vatican in August, perhaps not the wisest.

Having tickets in advance does get you out of a gruelingly long line in the hot sun, but once inside the complex, despite having so many beautiful things to look it, our experience was as close to inhuman as I’ve felt in a long time. There were twice too many people, pushing along like a school of hot and smelly fish swimming through a sewer pipe, albeit an attractive one, towards the beautiful Sistine Chapel.  We walked through hallways with maps and sculpture, incredibly frescoed ceilings and walls, floors with beautiful mosaics, yet when one’s survival instinct has kicked into gear and is saying only “Get out”, it doesn’t lend an atmosphere for quiet contemplation sprinkled with a touch of spirituality, as hoped for.  By the time we reached Michelangelo’s famous work, we were thinking only about a cold drink and fresh air.  And our intention of also going into St. Peter’s was immediately quashed when we saw another long line.








I took a lot of photographs of the mosaics in the floor because it was a peaceful place to look and I didn’t have to compete for a view.  Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the simplicity of this Matisse took my breath away.



So, what we took away was a reminder to think about what works for us.  It’s hard to pass up the big names, but if the experience is likely to result more in bragging rights and a few photos rather than something that will stay with us, we will opt for the latter.

A weird thing we learned:

There are more mosquitos in Rome than here in Brookline on the static Muddy River, more annoying than the green heads on Crane Beach in August.  Brutal.

And the style report?  Trends in Italy seemed to favor the men – it was harder to find consistency in what women were into, ok lots of periwinkle blue and sea foam green nail polish.  But for men, the David Beckham haircut is huge – short on the sides, thick on the top, wave or no wave in the front, product or no product.  Tattoos, tattoos, tattoos, so many tattoos.  And men with plucked eyebrows, many of them.

That’s it for today.  Enjoy these waning days of summer.





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