Exploring Rome was a journey. There were so many people in Rome that day that it made it very difficult to see everything.
My family and I shared a taxi again with the same Korean-American couple that we met up with the day before. We did the same thing as the day before, allowing our tour guide to take us around Rome while we took photos of different tourist locations. That day’s tour was the tourist tour, which makes sense. Any event labeled a tour would be for tourist.
In Rome, we first visited a church, which I forget the name of. I didn’t pay attention to our chauffeur for the day, Silvio. He catered to the couple in front rather than our family since we had so many people in our group. There were six of us and only two of them.
After the church, we drove to a large fountain with a sculpture of a nude gentleman fishing with his bare hands and only a towel over his privates. There were a lot of people there. People surrounded the fountain like ants to a piece of candy. The day was hot. The sun beat against our heads and backs, causing me to sweat into my hat. I took a few photos of the fountain and looked for shelter from the sun near adjacent buildings. I waited for my family to finish taking selfies.
Our driver drove us about a mile from the Colosseum, so we walked along the streets passing people on segways and tour guides vocally marketing for tours. Aunt Lily, aunt G, Russell, and I were able to get into the Colosseum. Tita Lily and I had to pay €12,00 each for admission, but because of tita G’s handicap, we were able to bypass the entire line. Tita G was also able to get Russell into the Colosseum for free.
The place was littered with tourist. People were everywhere, walking, crawling through every nook and cranny allowed. I took a few photos, and then Russell and I walked through the downstairs area. It was interesting to see the location, but there were honestly way too many tourists to make it feel special. It felt like so many people were getting the same experience, that Rome stopped being special.
After the Colosseum, Silvio drove us to St. Peter’s church, which was probably the best part of the trip to this location because I actually learned something about Rome. Rome is the location where Popes go to get buried. We were able to bypass a 2-hour line because of my auntie’s handicap again. We probably only waited 30 minutes to get into the church. It was said that people were not supposed to be taking photos in the church, but I saw people taking photos every corner I looked. A gentleman working there wearing a blue suit came up to me as I was taking a video for my instagram feed to put my phone away. I looked around at everyone to gesture that everyone else had been taking photos, so why was it wrong for me? But I didn’t want to cause trouble, so I just said, “ok,” and walked away. Seconds later, I pulled out my phone and completed the video. Before leaving, my brother and I walked through the underground tombs of the Popes where we were able to see stone tombs that carried the bodies of the past Popes. Before entering, there is a stone wall with names and dates engraved of the past Popes and the times in which they lived or remained as Pope. I noticed that there have been Popes since about 80 C.E., which is a very long tradition. Walking through the underground tombs, we just see lots of stone tombs with names of the Pope inside and the date in which they lived. Some tombs also had a sculpture of the Pope as the tomb. There were even sculptures of Popes in areas that were closed off to tourist.
After that, we just went back to the boat.
I realize now how ridiculous it is to fly to a determined location just to take a photo to say that you have been at that particular location on the planet. While many of these places have historical significance, many of the locations that were once sacred locations are not open as tourist attractions. It’s cool to see all the places in Rome, but without all the historical significance or religious ties, there’s not much else to do but eat gelato and order pizza, as in all other places of Italy.
Next stops are Pompeii, and then Venice. We were about halfway through our trip, and it’s already been an enlightening experience.