Michael Cook — June 3, 2010, 2:10 pm


Yesterday we toured the Vatican City, and saw the crowds gathered around to receive a blessing from the Pope. We saw Rafael’s rooms, where he painted some of the most famous pieces, including the school of Athens. The Sistine Chapel was also on our “to see” list. It wasn’t as big as I thought it would be, but made up for it in beauty. It was hard to move around in a crowd of anxious tourists, staring up at  one of Michelangelo’s most notoriuous works of art. It took great restraint for me to not snap a quick picture, but the guards were on top of things and prohibited many from doing so. Unfortunaely, St. Peter’s Basillica was closed when we were done touring the Vatican Museum. It opened back up after the Pope was done speaking, but an enourmous line had formed and a few hours in the sun was the last thing our tired group wanted to do. I was surprised there weren’t more gypsies and beggers. That’s all I heard when I asked friends and teachers what I should expect in Rome. Many told stories of being robbed, or at least seeing someone else robbed. I think I only saw about five or six. Not anything too shocking. They really give strong meaning to the title ‘begger’. These people would lay face down on the sidewalk, shaking there whole body, as if they were unclothed in a snow storm. Every now and then, they might try to make eye contact with a person walking by. It’s a little frightening to someone, the first time they see them. However, I don’t look twice when I see them now.

Ok, don’t judge me on what I’m about to tell you. There is only so much proschutto and salami one person can stand, and I’ve had my limit. That’s why I broke down yesterday when I stumbled upon the largest McDonalds in Europe. It was right past the Spanish steps, and I could hear a big mac calling my name. It was extremely busy, because yesterday was Italy’s equivalent to our fourth of July. So, everyone was out and about, shopping and waiting for the party to start at night. If it’s any consolation, I finished the night with a pizza and a glass of wine.

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