Thursday, January 5, 2012

Last day in Rome

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749 - 1832)

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science (Albert Einstein 1879 - 1955)

Today was our last day: our last day in Rome; our last day to spend with Roarke and Gina.

We planned to see the Sistine Chapel today. With much excitement we set off with ideas of seeing Michelangelo’s famous ceiling paintings. It was not to be. The walk took almost an hour, and then, en route, an elderly gentleman called out to us that the chapel was closed (it being Boxing Day).

Disappointed we headed back to the apartment where Roarke and Gina were staying, passing through a street market on the way. This market became the setting for a special moment for me. At one of the stalls there were Tibetan singing bowls for sale. The man at the stall asked if he could make one sing for me. I selected one and he coaxed the most beautiful pure sound from it that sent shivers down my spine. I placed my hands together at my heart and bowed thank you. He acknowledged my thanks with thesame gesture back to me. This little interaction made my day.

Some of the group went and collapsed at the apartment. But for some of us, after this very long walk, a hot chocolate was called for.

After this sustenance, AriƩl and I decided to visit the Castel Sant'Angelo. To do this we had to cross the beautiful bridge over the river Tiber, with its many ethereal angels guarding the way. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. It was incredible to walk down corridors that are almost 2000 years old and touch the stone work that is astoundingly neat and regular.

Had to share one last hot chocolate and a big hug with Roarke and Gina before we headed off to the airport back to London Gatwick…

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