When we awoke this morning for our last full day here, we headed over to meet up with JeanE and Kathie. Their place is really cool one bedroom, living room, mini kitchen studio-like place right near the Campo di Fiori. This square in the morning hours, hosts a great swap meet meets farmers market. It is filled with fresh vegetables, flowers, pastas, spices and of course the soccer shirts and scarves – which have turned into the most popular souvenir to buy in our group.
While my dad was away, my mother sneakily bought a tool that would turn carrots into curly-q designs. She swore she would use it (**its been almost a year now and she has used it once?).
At 11 am we all hopped on a double decker bus tour again. We have stops today that we want to hop on and hop off and see more of the city. It is fun being all together. Our first stop that we exit on is at Piazza del Popolo. The old entrance into Rome held a couple of twin churches in which one of them was home to a Carvaggio painting that I love and wanted to share with everyone. Spoiler alert: this square and these churches play a role in Dan Brown’s movie and book, Angels and Demons.
In one corner of the church Cerasi Chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo is the pice called The Crucifixion of St. Peter. Across the chapel is a second Caravaggio work depicting The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus. I love the way that Caravaggio paints and utilizes light in his works.
From that church we made our way down the street till we reached the Spanish Steps. Let the crazy begin. It is appropriate that all the Barcelona futbol fans would meet up at these steps for tonight’s game. Everyone is in red and blue singing and dancing. It is quite a scene, and JeanE is taking it all in stride. If she could, she would change her citizenship and become a naturalized Catalonian. She is taking pictures with fans, borrowing clothes from fans, and just enjoying the great spirits.
We continued walking down the streets, till we reached the Trevi Fountain. If the Spanish Steps was the meeting place, this place was the party. Fan upon fan chanting and singing and dancing. What an experience. I am so happy that I am here during this time. Although extremely crowded, I can’t get enough of the revelry. I have a little video, however do note that video and pictures only capture about 1/10th of a story. And indeed, my video is not as loud or as chant full as the experience was.
We found a bus stop and waited for the next bus. We were going to take it near Termini and then stop for lunch. Although the bus stop says that our tour bus comes every 10 minutes, we wait here for about 40 minutes. We even have Lisa call the number on the board. The bus arrives and eventually we find our way to a bad and crowded cafe for lunch.
This big game is in town, and the town –without warning– decides that no alcohol will be sold today anywhere. So there will be no wine with lunch today. This is probably a good thing. But imagine the Super Bowl, or a tailgate party, at the last minute decided that no alcohol could be bought.
After our lunch, we walked over to Santa Maria della Vittoria, so that we could see St. Teresa in Ecstasy, a fascinating piece of art by Bernini. The church was still closed and would be opening soon. So while a few of us sat on the steps and rested, the others went on a gelato run. Thirty minutes later we were all swooning. This marvelous sculpture represents Teresa in ecstasy after she was pierced by an angel with an arrow of God. It is a work of genius and is considered one of the masterpieces of the High Roman Baroque. Debbie and JeanE playfully demonstrated their own versions of ecstasy in a really fun moment for me on the trip. It will always be one of my favorite memories of the trip. The best part about visiting art, museums, and churches of old, is when you can find a way to interact with it and make it more meaningful. I am so grateful for the people on this trip, in the way they want to make, what some may consider boring museum outings, into a fun laughing and most importantly meaningful experience. Whether it is pretending to be in ecstasy, making jokes about fig leaves on statues, or playfully imitating statues (see Lisa boxing in previous snide), I am blessed by the spirits of each person on this trip.
We got on the bus again and headed towards the Colosseum. We mainly stayed on the bus for this stop, as I have found the inside of this place to not be worth the wait or the money. However at this place, they were having a festival for tonights game. So a stop or two later, Dad, me and Lisa got off the bus and started walking back to see what they had going on. I did get about 10 feet away from the Champions League trophy that they had under case and guard. The festival was not as cool as I had hoped, but it was really fun to be there.
We started heading home, and on the way, checked the Internet one last time for tickets. We wrote down some numbers and made some phone calls.
We met up with Debbie, Kathie and JeanE at their place. It was time to decide. We had found some tickets, but they were going to be expensive and the game started really soon.
After way too much debate, we decided to go for it. When else would I have this amazing chance? Little did we know the headache that would then occur.
We borrowed my parents Italian cell phone, and made some calls. The tickets were going to come to our place, so we had to start running. Lisa and I took off running to our place. All the while waiting for a phone call confirmation from India that the tickets were ours, and they were on their way.
Then the buyer needed a copy of our passports. It is 7pm at night, the game starts shortly, how would we accomplish this? We fortunately found a Mail Boxes ETC and got a copy and faxed it off. But now our cell phone died. We tried to find a pay phone to make a call. We found one, and then phones were going in and out. They had already taken our money and the tickets were ours, but now we had to meet them at the game, find the gate, and get through traffic to get there in time, all without a cell phone that worked.
Spending that much money to only get there by halftime, and maybe not at all was not worth it. So we cancelled the order at the very last minute. We were so close. If only I was more decisive earlier in the week, and bought some then.
We walked dejected back to my parents and Kathie and JeanE. We decide to watch this great game at the bar–the Drunken Ship–near their place. When we arrived there, the place was packed, so we stood outside a little window, and watched the game on the TV on the far wall.
What a thrilling game. At one point, we turned around and people stretched about 50 yards back. So exciting, though, so tiring standing there holding our spots. At halftime, we figured we had enjoyed the spirit, and decided to go back and watch the 2nd half on their little tv. The best club team in the world this year, won the game deservedly. Barcelona swept all the trophies and played like magnificent champs.
We walked home, through Piazza Navona one last time, and packed up. Tomorrow morning will be sad. I hate when great trips end.