Italy: Fall-Winter 2002 (4)

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1. Rome (cont'd)

Cat had wanted to be an archeologist as a child and was delighted by all the naked archeology the city offered. The continuingly unearthed Domus Aurea was a fine voyage into the past, if only the Ishikawas had dressed more warmly.

Ishikawa-friends The Coscos had lived in Italy in the 70s and gave the 2002 tourists DK Eyewitness Italy, a book full of enchanting pictures of Italy. Perhaps too enchanting. There were memorable views here and there, but churches tended to blend together to become one endless church in repeated imagery and enough gold to alleviate all the poverty in the world since Jesus's time.

Statues are as numerous as trees, as pigeons. They are a presence in the city. The past is both solid, and eroding away.

Cat had been practicing, walking first 2 kilometers a day up hill, gradually climbing to 6, and purchasing a pair of shoes said to be perfect for walking. Alas, all the exercise and shoe excellence did not keep the non-feline from feet so sore they were barely functional after 3 days of Roman streets. The Vatican itself is more notable for its vastness than anything within, even without sore feet. Cat had seen Michelangelo's Pieta at the 1964 New York World's Fair, but from a distance. Up close, it revealed somewhat alarmingly that Mary appeared around 13 years old, holding her dead son, a 30 year old man. Didn't anyone tell Michelangelo that that was rather odd.

The Vatican Museum might have been filled with wonders,



but pains per square foot drowned out any possibility of appreciation. At best, the Ishikawas could imagine the innumerable characters in the paintings as instead, characters in a Firesign Theatre play. The laughter that evoked kept the Ishikawas from suffering too much. The next day, Italy-passes at the ready, they boarded a fast train for Naples.

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