Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Christmas!

I just got back from visiting former Michigan teammate Barb and her family in Eindhoven, Netherlands (see previous Carnivale posts). Tucker and I took a road trip to have a good old Yankee Swap/White Elephant party with her and her friends. It took awhile before the French, English, Croatian, Dutch, Scottish and Peruvian guests caught on but then they participated admirably. While there, Barb's two daughters thoughtfully bought Tucker a Christmas present. At the pet store, this as considered a 'Large' dog hat. Yep, he's got a big head. But he's cute so you have to love him!

As for me, I'm leaving Tucker with several sets a friends (there are some interesting logistics for Christmas for him - maybe even a house sitter so no one should try to burglarize me while I'm gone) and I'm heading back to the homeland for the holidays. It hasn't been a full Hart family Christmas since 2008 so really looking forward to it. Truthfully, I'm just looking forward to winning the bowling trophy back, the rest is just gravy. Maybe more to come before the New Year, you never know when you are going back to Cali.......

Merry Happy Christmas!

St Peters Basillica - only 300 or so steps up

After seeing St Peters from the ground, we went early the next day to climb up to the top. I think this is a must see for any trip to Rome.

Just to remind you where we are. The view from the bottom.

Now from the roof. It was quite the climb and if you didn't like small spaces, well, let's just say there is a reason the one way system was implemented on these stairs.

Part of the Pope's residence in back of St Peters. I hope this helps with some perspective on how high up we are.
The view looking down over the Square. Again, the scale. The top of the basillica is really high up there!

People walking about on the roof. It was a very lovely place to be actually. I'm glad it wasn't warmer though. I was desperate for shade as it was.

The view from the back of the statues lining the top. See the earlier post from the ground view.

Pretty cool. By the way, these guys are wired. For electricity. Gotta keep the pigeons off the holy statues.

This would have been a very cool picture if people were in the seats. Pretty cool way to see mass.

Teeny tiny people in the piazza.

Now on the inside. A few from the top, as best you can do behind the grates. This looks across and should show that all the colors are actually individual tiles.

A great contrast to seeing it from ground level.

Looking up to the top. It is eerily like Close Encounters....

Detail of the tiling.

One last parting look. Magnificent!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

St Peters Basillica from the ground

We went to visit St Peters just before it was closing which ended up being a brilliant idea. We didn't have to queue (stand in line) at all, and were able to get our fill of gawking without waiting hours. Go us!

The sun is setting across the piazza, you can see the chairs in the distance set up for Sunday mass.

Closer look at the columns and the statues overlooking each of the pillars. Take note of these statues for later on......

Radhika smiles because there is no queue. Whoop! Whoop!

Here is the view from the pulpit (or the front door) if you were giving the service to the masses below.

Radhika's favorite - La Pieta.

Amazing marble columns, statues, colors everywhere

A little bit more impressive place for where you get the holy water. Makes the vessels at good old Holy Family church seem a little.. simple.

Something I learned on the tour is that keys are decorated throughout the Vatican museums and St Peters. This one in particular is a marble inlay on the floor. It is to represent when the keys of Heaven were given to St Peter from Jesus Christ. The keys to the entire kingdom.......

I'm almost done with Rome, only a few more sets of pictures. Maybe by then I'll have left the country again.