We took the train from Ulverston to Manchester Airport. It's such a luxury (for us) to be able to do this, with only a ten-minute walk to the station. Walking through town with our wheelie suitcases, clickety-click, clickety-click, clickety-click, over the curbs and cobblestones, everyone must have known the Yanks were traveling. We were glad that Hal had reserved train seats, as it got very crowded. Many people were standing in the aisles for the second half of the two-hour train ride.
At the terminal, the consumer excess of duty-free shops (DFS) confronted us. These are not shops lining the sides of the terminal mall: they ARE the terminal mall. We had to walk amidst the goods to get to our gate. Once through the gauntlet of DFS, we hurried to our gate, only to discover there were no vendors in this part of the terminal. No water, no food. Toilets, yes. Between the doors to mens and womens was a sign marked, "Cleaners Sluice." Interesting. Too bad I didn't have the camera with me.
We arrived at our departure gate on the far side of the airport with boarding already in progress. Whew!
At first the Colisseum seemed like so many other sports arenas, with rows upon rows of tiered seating.
Our guide began with an admonition to her English and American charges "to be pushy" when necessary. Italians don't queue and neither should we. We're too polite for our own good! The painted ceilings, such as these at left, appeared 3-dimensional with frames, but it was all done with paint. Trompe l'oil. Trick of the eye.
An ancient Greek marble statue of Laocoon and His Sons (being strangled by sea serpents) .
My favorite painting was The School of Athens, illustrating the reconciliation of philosophy and astrology with theology. Details are shown left and right. Plato (in red) and Aristotle are the center of attention. Raphael inserted Michelangelo's portrait into the painting, depicting Heraclitus in brown garments. At right, Euclid or Archimedes demonstrates the compass to his students. The figure in blue, lying on the steps, may be Socrates with his cup of hemlock.
At right is the spiraling staircase of the Vatican Museum.
I think it took 2 hours in room after room of amazing paintings and tapestries and ceiling/wall art before we reached the Sistine Chapel. By then we were suffering from art overload, and the ceiling seemed like just another "nice" work. Photography was not allowed there. I'm sure there wasn't time for the guide to show us everything, but we didn't see the Pieta; Hal glimpsed the statue of David down a hallway. We missed St. Peter's Basilica, because we couldn't look at anything more. Fresh air and food were needed.
The afternoon was more leisurely, wandering about the city. Trevi Fountain (above) was noticeably cooler than surrounding areas. The Pantheon (left), world's largest unreinforced concrete building, built in 126 A.D. has a 25-foot-diameter oculus (hole) in the dome; precipitation can fall through, but drains on the slanted floor below. I'm not doing it justice for it is a remarkable building which has withstood numerous earthquakes and wars. Navorna Piazza (right) was an interesting mix of sculpture, gardens, outdoor cafes and street artists.