Monday, March 13, 2006

Rome week 7


So this was a really busy week. Monday was pretty cool, we met early
to get into the Vatican Museums for Art History. It was like waiting
in a cattle herd. (keep that phrase in mind). But I did get to see
some pretty cool things. Ancient Greek statues, so really great
paintings by masters like Giotto, Raphael, and Caravaggio, and of
course the Sistine Chapel. Though getting into the actual chapel
honestly did fell like being swept up into the middle of a stampede.
So once I got into the actual chapel, I eagle eyed a seat so that I
wasn't being shoved every which way. The coolest part, as long as
your sitting, you can sit there as long as you want. I got out my
sketchbook and did a few quick sketches. I'm surprised I didn't get
busted from the guards. I was later told, they don't normally allow

Tuesday was spent in the studio trying to get some drawing and
painting done before my friends arrived the following morning.

Wednesday, Nathan and Valerie arrived. I gave them a whirlwind tour
from my studio to the Pantheon and St. Catherine's tomb, after feeding
them and pumping them full of Italian coffee. It was then off to St.
Peter's where I was supposed to be drawing in the Piazza. They headed
through the security gates and up to the top of the Dome of St.
Peter's. They tell me, that even after all the steps, the view was
well worth it. I'll take their word for it. We then did a tour over
the Gianicolo hill with some great views of Rome and walked home. We
then went down to my favorite pastry shop for some visual and yummy
delights and were then off to a wine bar for dinner and after dinner

Thursday we were off for a nerve racking initiation to Italian driving
in our rental car to Paestum. There was a small detour in Portici to
see the remains of the lesser known ruins of Herculaneum (destroyed at
the same time as Pompeii). It was, in my opinion, more enjoyable than
Pompeii, with actual bits of preserved charred wood and the vacation
homes of the rich and famous from 2000 years ago.

Paestum was great, there are 3 Greek temples stuck in the equivalent
of a flower filled cow pasture with some ruins from public and private
structures surrounding them. Here you could actually climb up on some
of them and explore at will. It was a nice walk around and definitely
a treat to see actual ancient Greek temples in person. They are so
much better than the slides in art history class. From there is was
some hair raising drives and exploration through the hills of Campania
and the sea side town of Agripoli, which had some beautiful views of
the stormy Mediterranean Sea.

We stayed at an agriturismo B&B which is a country farmhouse
hotel/restaurant. I ate water buffalo and fresh mozzarella di bufala.
Both were yummy.

The drive down the Amalfi coast was a little nerve racking, as its a
full highway with humongous tour buses and cars trying to pass each
other on hair pin curves that as the equivalent of one land on a
freeway at home....YIKES! But I've lived to tell the tale and the
views were spectacular, even in the pouring rain. My chance to drive
was on the freeway, I can almost understand why my brother Josh is a
racecar driver. Wow, that was fun for a few seconds.

Well, spring break looms ahead, I will actually have some time for the
studio. And another friend is coming into town. I think we are going
to explore the outskirts of Rome a little bit and sit and relax at
some cafe's here in Rome. Sounds like a plan to me.

Miss you all back home. Wish you were here to share in these
adventures. Hope to hear from you soon.