Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sitting Stage Right of the Altar in the Sistine Chapel

This time around I’ve recently been reading the Sistine Chapel’s frescos in the fabulous Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling so I have some idea who the other dudes were who painted the side walls of the chapel. It’s not just the uber-genius of Michelangelo in here.

The audiogiude said all the frescos are meant to reflect the history of humankind. This struck me as particularly important as so much of what I would call “my” history is in this place. There’s Moses, there’s Jesus, a hundred different biblical scenes. The dimensions of the chapel are supposedly the exact dimensions of the first Jewish temple (where they kept that ark of the covenant above which God lived on earth). The painting of the ceiling by Michelangelo overlapped in time with Martin Luther’s only visit to Rome. Luther’s visit stirred such disgust at the impiety of his fellow priests and brothers that he proposed some protesting reforms a few years later. They didn’t go over so well. I say this is my history because white American cultural history is less relevant to me than Church, Hebrew and general Western Civ history.

Before we were in here, we saw some frescoes I had never appropriately appreciated before. Rafael frescoed many rooms for Pope Julius II (the same guy who commissioned Michelangelo for the Sistine Chapel, and not a very nice man) and one room in particular stood out. The Stanza della Segnatura was the Pope’s personal study/library and Rafael was asked to portray the supreme values of Philosophy and Religion: beauty, goodness and truth. My favorite wall is probably "The School of Athens” because it depicts great thinkers from antiquity and Rafael honored some contemporaries by painting their portraits as if they were famous people from the past. So Plato looks like Leonardo da Vinci. Across the room, the “Disputation of the Sacrament” is also pretty cool.

The First of a Few Journal Entries

I own a journal given to me as a gift by a friend named Megan. The gift was palanca for my last L.O.G. retreat as a volunteer in Goleta in April of 2001. After graduatiing from Westmont I took this journal with me on my 11 day trip to Europe with my friend Timmy. During that trip, my friend Megan passed away from ovarian cancer. So to remember her, I try to take along this notebook whenever I travel overseas (and sometimes I write a fair amount, and sometimes not at all). Also, it is a very good cutting board for cheese and bread meals.

January 14 6:30 a.m.

We've made it, we've slept and it's the early am of Jane, Erin & Steve's two weeks in Europe. On a clear day at SFO we flew direct to Frankfurt, then sat around feeling dizzy (Jane) for four hours waiting for our flight to Fiumicino in Rome. Thus far, we've already exposed Erin to naked boobies in print, on tv, and with the shower acting up this morning, Erin may have exposed herself to Jane. Who knows?

We're staying a long walk (not as far as good ol' Timmy and I) from the Termini train station at Hotel Tempio di Pallade. Last night we ate at a restaraunt two streets down where I mistakenly ordered 10 euro appetizers for three of us. This allowed for a delicious abundance of antipasto and an immediate lesson in how not to order food. The price of this lesson was 30 euros.

We're currently sitting around because breakfast isn't served until 7:30 am and we all woke up at 5. Referring back one page to the first (and only) honeymoon entry into this journal (which said that our plane was filled with 50 teenagers from a people-to-people exchange and that we couldn't escape adolescents if we flew 10,000 miles), we were in the lobby of our hotel last night and what was there but large group of Italian teenagers. Oy Vey!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Movin' On Up

Two and a half years late, I've finally moved this blog over to our domain name. No more linking through several pages. No more disappointment of looking at the old site. Carlo's files remain on the server hidden from view. If you go here you might still have a chance at exploring his first foray into html.

This week we'll be leaving again for Europe for a replay of our honeymoon with one kink...we're bringing Erin along. Thus, it won't be like a honeymoon. But the places we'll visit might be similar.

Feel free to check in on us.