Friday, September 5, 2014

Roma Day Two: art supplies, Warhol and the Pantheon.

After a short rest in my new room, I changed into some lighter clothes and headed back out into the streets. I'd had a quick look through some entries on Spotted By Locals and knew that there was an arts supply store close by that I wanted to visit. However, when I reached the far corner of Via del Gesú, they had just closed for their lunch break. 

So I continued on and had my breath taken away by the Pantheon, which appeared before me all of a sudden, after turning a corner onto Piazza della Minerva. 

I mean, I knew it was coming, it was where I was headed after all, but it still took me by surprise. For the longest time, the Pantheon had been the only thing I was even remotely interested in in Rome. I remember how much I had wanted to go to and then enjoyed visiting the Pantheon in Paris all those millions of years ago. So, of course, it was the destination of my first official sight visit. 

Inside, there were way too many people, but when you're in Rome - or any other major European city - that's to be expected. And it's pretty easy to drown out the sights and sounds of the crowd around you and instead concentrate on the architecture and decoration of the basilica. 

That cupola is 43m high and the opening in the middle is 9m across. 

Spotted By Locals taught me that legend has it, it doesn't rain through that hole in the ceiling - and that's partially true! There used to be a lot of candles lit inside at all times and the heat their flames gave off created a thermodynamic barrier that prevented drizzle from coming in. Today, the crowds of tourists fulfill the heat-generating role of the candles and drizzle will still stay out. If it really rains, however, water will fall inside. That's why there are drains in the ground underneath. 

Afterwards, I sat on the base of a pillar in front of the Pantheon, knitting. I spent a very happy hour like that and then went back to the art store. 

It was paradise! If I were better at the artistic things I do, I would have picked a gift for myself in there! 

Then I went back to randomly wandering the streets of Roma Anticua. 

A little while later, I stumbled upon a museum that was hosting an Andy Warhol exhibition - how lucky is that?! My student ID got me a little discount and in I went. It was awesome! I haven't been to an exhibit dedicated entirely to pop art in who knows how long, and because this was so specialized, there was also a lot of information about himself and his life - including two short documentaries! 

After that, I just kept walking all over the place until I was so thirsty I couldn't concentrate anymore. Because of that, I unknowingly walked into the specialty and gourmet market that will bring my financial doom. I was too tired today, but I think tomorrow I'll go back and just give the owner my bank card and the PIN and then go crazy in the store. Really, they have all the pasta and olive oil and pesto (and all of it exclusive, eh, not supermarket-type stuff) that I want to bring home for my family. And for me, well, I'm pretty sure this is where my new coffee maker will come from now that I gave Akinyi to Sarah. Also, biscotti. 

Exhaustion then propelled me back towards the hotel, via a place selling artisanal gelato in Via Arenula just opposite Piazza B Cairoli, that I'd already seen in the morning and just couldn't get out of my mind. 

Now, I'm resting and listening to the musician in the restaurant downstairs through my open window. Writing this, wishing I didn't have to wait for the photos, and thinking whether I feel like going out again to get some proper food or whether the gelato was enough and I'll just read for now. 

Tomorrow, more Roma! 

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