Michael Moore

Churches of Rome

After walking (and sweating) up more than three hundred steps up the stairs to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica and exploring the four-mile long Vatican Museum, the three girls took a well-earned afternoon siesta. During their nap, I ventured out on my own to explore a few of the one-thousand churches that Rome has to offer. My first stop was Santa Pudenziana, which is recognized as the oldest place of Christian worship in Rome. The small church, tucked away in a forgotten street in Rome features beautiful mosaic work that dates back to the end of the 4th Century.

The next church I stumbled upon was a gargantuan-sized church in the shape of a cross. As I walked closer and closer to the center of the church, sounds of an organ grew louder and louder. My initial assumption was that it was merely an organ music playing over an impressive speaker system, until I looked over and saw a wall filled with enormous organ pipes and a tiny man stroking the keys that were filling the church with sound.

 

 

The third and final church that I visited was the one that I had been looking forward to seeing most, and those who have read Angels and Demons (or who have seen the movie) will know why. It features one of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s most exquisite sculptures: The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. Bernini’s work depicts the moment in Saint Teresa’s autobiography where she describes a vivid vision of an angel piercing her heart with a golden shaft, which caused her both immense joy and pain. While the pictures I took of the statue hardly give it justice (a Google Image search of the statue give you a better sense of the work), after seeing the statue in person, I could without-a-doubt understand why this is regarded as one of the top masterpieces of the Renaissance. Not to mention, the church that housed this statue was pretty spectacular by itself. 

A GYPSY RIDE TO THE BEACH

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When there’s a heatwave making its way through The Netherlands, the only way to remain sane in a city where A/C doesn’t exist is to head to the beach. Surprisingly, it’s only a 30-minute train ride to the coast of Holland to the Atlantic Ocean. The only problem was that not a single one of us knew how to use the trains within the country of The Netherlands. We spent a solid 45-minutes attempting to load a train ticket onto our transportation card before we decided to give up and just try to buy a ticket on the train… Except the only problem was that as soon as we got on the train, we found out you can’t purchase a ticket on the train… We were trapped riding a train illegally in a foreign country. I think I know now why we’re sometimes called “Dumb Americans.”

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After riding the train the gypsy/Idiot American-way we arrived at the beach. For a second looking out at the people-filled beach, I thought I had been transported to Miami, but then I saw a raw herring and frites sign, and realized I was still in Europe. I also realized in that moment exactly what I’d be eating as a beach snack.

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The beach that day was a blast. When I thought about going to Amsterdam 3-months ago, I never thought I’d be swimming in the Atlantic Ocean or walking in the sand in Holland. And here I am doing just that, and having a great experience at the same time.

A GYPSY RIDE TO THE BEACH

When there’s a heatwave making its way through The Netherlands, the only way to remain sane in a city where A/C doesn’t exist is to head to the beach. Surprisingly, it’s only a 30-minute train ride to the coast of Holland to the Atlantic Ocean. The only problem was that not a single one of us knew how to use the trains within the country of The Netherlands. We spent a solid 45-minutes attempting to load a train ticket onto our transportation card before we decided to give up and just try to buy a ticket on the train… Except the only problem was that as soon as we got on the train, we found out you can’t purchase a ticket on the train… We were trapped riding a train illegally in a foreign country. I think I know now why we’re sometimes called “Dumb Americans.”

After riding the train the gypsy/Idiot American-way we arrived at the beach. For a second looking out at the people-filled beach, I thought I had been transported to Miami, but then I saw a raw herring and frites sign, and realized I was still in Europe. I also realized in that moment exactly what I’d be eating as a beach snack.

The beach that day was a blast. When I thought about going to Amsterdam 3-months ago, I never thought I’d be swimming in the Atlantic Ocean or walking in the sand in Holland. And here I am doing just that, and having a great experience at the same time.