Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Rome, Part 1...and a whole host of other items...


And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. Okay, so the feature of the evening is Rome, Part 1. Before that, however, there are simply a few things I MUST address:

1. Worst song lyrics EVER: So I’m in the gym today (5K in 24:30 – love handles jigglin’ all the way home), and a new rap song comes on. Gotta love UK rap – check out this stanza:

You know I’m a ladies man, I can find that g-spot
Call me Mr. Flintstone, cause I can make your bed rock…


2. The straw that broke my wardrobe’s back: So, as many of you know, I am fashionably challenged. And yes, I have slowly come to terms with the fact that a few of my shirts and slacks will probably need to be retired at the end of this adventure. However, the hammer fell last night. So I’m on Skype chatting with John Rice, my oldest and best friend, and his wife says: “Sam, we were watching a video of our rehearsal dinner this week, and we realized that the outfit you had on at our rehearsal dinner was the SAME ONE you had on at your rehearsal dinner.” For the record, I am still wearing that shirt…

And so it’s official – the wardrobe change is coming like a storm. Prepare yourself for the reckoning (timing is TBD, of course…).

3. MOVIE MAGIC: So as most of you know, I was in an a capella group in college. Well, one of my buddies in the group, Steve Moore, has spent the last 2 years working on a screenplay about a capella. Last fall Steve shot a trailer for it, and it’s now on YouTube. Simply put, the script and the teaser are FANTASTIC. Please everyone take a look at it, cause it looks AMAZING.


4. Dinner tonight was another to-do off the list - the Golden Hind, BABY!!!! This is a fish and chips place that is BYO (can someone say wicked?). I am happy to report that it was FANTABULOUS - we WILL be there again.

And so, with all that behind us, let’s move over to a recap of the first half of the Eternal City – Roma, Italia.

Wednesday: I can see the snowflake, but it’s STILL NOT WORKING…

So we got to the airport no problem, and we even had time for a glass of wine. As a further sign that a GREAT trip was in order, when the gate for our flight was announced, our bar was right beside it. SCORE! And so we rolled onto the plane no problem, settled in, and had an easy flight.

We arrived on time, were picked up at the airport, and made the hotel by 11 PM. The room was cute, but TEENY. I mean, seriously, the shower was built ONLY for people who were 7’4” and 32 pounds. If you don’t meet either of those dimensions, you are pretty much SOL.

Mine and JT’s bed was fine – mom’s was something akin to a slab of concrete. By itself, that would have been fine. However, the bigger issue was that the AC wasn’t working. So we called down, and the conversation went like this:

Sammy: “Yes, the Air Conditioning Unit isn’t working.”

Dude at Front Desk (DAFD): “It is fine, sir.”

Sammy: “No, that’s just it. It’s NOT working. We are in here and it’s HOT.”

DAFD: “It was working earlier sir.”

Sammy: “Which is AWESOME – but it’s NOT working now. Can you send someone up?”

DAFD: “I cannot, sir. I am here alone. But you can turn the dial to the snowflake.”

Sammy: “Dude, it’s ON THE SNOWFLAKE. But it’s STILL HOTTER THAN 40 HELLS.”

DAFD: “You have to have the snowflake. Also, make sure it’s turned on.”

Sammy: (Silent – I mean, really- what would you say in this situation?)

DAFD: “I can leave a note for maintenance?”

Sammy: “Yes – do that. Grazie.” (hangs up) “@#$@#$@$#@#$@#”

10 minutes later, the windows were open, and the breeze flowed in. So did the mosquitos.

Thursday: A Glimpse of Heaven via the Brilliance of Michelangelo

So Thursday was simply BRILLIANT. We were up at 6:30 (ouch), out the door at 7:30, at the Vatican at 8:30, and in the Museums before 9. What followed was 8 hours of AMAZING art, spectacular sculptures, and fantastic frescoes. The highlights were, of course, the Map Room (WICKED AWESOME), the Rafael Rooms, and of course, most notably, the Sistine Chapel. In a word – WOW.

You know things are amazing when, upon visiting them 16 years later, you find it even more impressive and bigger than you remember. The Sistine chapel ABSOLUTELY falls into that category.

When I was 16, I spent some time presenting to local churches about our time in Rome and what I saw. When I saw the Sistine Chapel, my comment was, “I honestly don’t understand how someone can stand at the foot of that altar and not be convinced there is a God.” Two decades later, I stand by that statement 100%.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t take photos, but we took over an hour (we actually passed through twice) soaking up the images and admiring the brilliance that is the work of Michelangelo.

A spot we could take photos, however, was the other highlight of the day – St. Peter’s Basilica. The largest church in Christendom, this place is simply AMAZING. Throw in the fact that it has the Pieta (the only work Michelangelo ever signed), the tomb of St. Peter (yes – that’s right – SAINT PETER), and enough marble to build 15 palaces, and you will be simply BLOWN AWAY by it all. Honestly, we spent a good hour in there, and it was still more than we could even start to take in.

We walked out and checked out St. Peter’s Square (where the pope holds weekly Mass) before rolling back into central Rome and checking out Trevi Fountain. There we chucked in our coins (just one – all we want to do is return!) and wandered around before finding an AMAZING PLACE for dinner. Dude – pasta in Italy – RELIGIOUS. I am almost weeping as I type this. SO GOOD. And throw in the bottle of wine we had at dinner AND the bottle of wine JT and I split for our “night cap,” and you have a recipe for a great evening. We even saw the red carpet for the Italian premier of Sex and the City 2!

As I type this, I realize that we might have to spread Rome over a few more days to get it all in. But don’t worry – you’ll get the full report before the week is out.

Okay, that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Chat tomorrow!


Sam and Jenny

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