Bernini, Rain and Being Really Really Wet

Rome was not growing on me. In fact, it was raining on me all day yesterday.

We walked around the city, taking our time to meander over to The Vatican; which the online guides had told us was best visited after 2pm on a Tuesday or Thursday during the week because all other times were super crowded. The clouds gathered and rained on and off again as I snapped pictures and ate more gelato.

People had warned me that The Vatican was crazy, but I wasn’t ready for what we saw when we got there. Like the Death Star’s opening overture in Star Wars  the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica dawned before us like a ominous blue boob. The rain, which had held itself to only light spattered plops came crashing down as if God himself had thrown up his hands and given up holding back the torrent that had been building. It was like an entrance to a horror movie, people were everywhere: scurrying, fleeing the wrath of the heavens with pathetic bags over their heads, umbrellas upturned in the wind, hair in mouths to stifle their unuttered screams of hatred and horror…

…or at least that’s what I was imagining in the somewhat heavy rain while avoiding the multitude of tour guides asking if we wanted to skip the line. Otherwise, the plaza was full of umbrellas and bored looking people waiting to get in to see Michelangelo’s masterpieces. We got snagged by a really nice lady from The Dominican Republic who tried to get up to purchase a tour (only, like, a million billion dollars!) who escorted us, through the rain, to another entrance just to prove how epically crowded the place really was. I looked at Caitie who looked at Mom who looked at me who looked at the ground before mumbling that I would really like to get out. Caitie agreed. Mom looked a little put out, but when promised Bernini statues agreed to leave behind the crazy and hop in a cab.

We walked about two blocks, at this point all drenched, and then collectively heaved a sigh of relief. I HATE crowds. I especially hate crowds that are full of people trying to convince me of what to do with my time and money. I thought of  the wonderful artwork I wouldn’t be seeing this trip: oh well. It felt good to get out of there.

15 minutes later and staring at a “SOLD OUT” sign at the cashier’s desk in the Villa Borghese gallery, I really started to hate Rome. Mom looked on the verge of tears and I was on the verge of torching the place with the laser beams that were about to come out of my eyes (except I was so soaking wet I’d probably extinguish all fire before it could leave my face).

HOWEVER, Mom (holding her last Ace Card) played it: “Please. I have Cancer. I want to see the gallery, is there anything you could do?” Then, something amazing happened! We were let in! We weren’t charged a dime! We saw the most incredible Bernini statues! The employees were so nice to us! Well played, Rome. Well played.

Except, when we left the Villa, full of good eye candy burps and purrs, the rain poured down. Like, an avalanche of rain. Like, a cloud burst of water: everywhere. There was no cover, except a small overhang to cling to like the wet rats we felt like. We had decided to go to dinner at a restaurant recommended to us that was not far from our room, but had to stop for 20 minutes to let the torrential downpour let up a bit. THEN when we got to our restaurant (after a quick stop home to change) the place was all booked and we were told to go check out another spot down the street.

The food was greasy, salty and flavorless. We were charged way too much money for that crap. I felt helpless, like a dumb tourist. I hate feeling like a dumb tourist (who does?). The night was saved by a youtube download of “The Devil Wears Prada” and the three of us curling up in bed to watch Anne Hathaway get tortured by Meryl Streep. That was wonderful.

April 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm by Natalie Allen