Buon giorno amicci,
Today I woke up and traveled across town to the Vatican. I sat out in the courtyard with hundreds of other tourists, priests, nuns and catholics from around the world. As I sat watching the people standing in line, sitting in the courtyard, feeding the pigeons and playing in the fountain I thought about the anticipation we all brought into that space. From classic pictures to a spiritual longing we all were anticipating an encounter or event. I didn't really look up what to do in my time there, so I sat around until the 12:00 service. In the courtyard we only saw about a half an hour of prayers and music. I think I will return on Wednesday for the morning worship service and to look at the Basilica Museum.
I am learning I need to do at least some planning in advance, but not always.
I returned to the hotel and took a nap, because I can and that's what you do when it's hot and humid outside! When I got up, and after browsing my email and facebook I took a walk around town for some food. I arrived (not on purpose) at the Santa Maria Marggiore Church. I thought I was walking in the direction of the Colosseum but I was going north, not west... What is amazing about the whole thing is it's hard to go any direction without running into something historical, magical, eventful or exciting! There were many tourists here, and a youth-choir outside singing for fun. I walked inside just like the handful of other Churches I have gone to over the past two weeks, but there seemed to be a different atmosphere here. It was a "smaller" (less "historical") Church and so it seemed to have more active ministry... ugh I hate writing that because I feel my impressions are unfair... I don't know, it seemed different. Maybe it was because I wasn't there to listen to lectures or travel with other students. Maybe it was just me. (Even though I took my camera with me and took these pictures).
After the Santa Maria Church I stopped across the street for dinner... shikolata and panini, yum! Yes, I felt a little strange taking pictures of food while I was dining alone (eating alone is the hardest part of traveling solo).
Just as I was walking up the last stairs from the Metro to my hotel, there was a man singing and playing his guitar. This is a common occurrence but this guy was different. He placed himself under an archway which meant his voice and guitar resonated clearly for much farther than if he were out in the open. He had a beautiful voice and sang catchy songs in italian. I stopped to give him some change and he stopped singing to thank me.
Then, I went and took a walk in the park, which is right across the street from the hotel, I found out that it is the weekend of Rome's 7th anual Film Festival. So I picked up a movie listing and made plans to return for the 9:15 showing of "Simple Things." A Russian film with english subtitles, which was also translated into Italian... for subtitles of the subtitles. It was a dark film, a little slow, but pleasantly hopeful in the end.