The Pantheon

When in Rome, you have to go see the Pantheon. A temple turned into a church, with a massive dome and occulus. There are amazing columns and stone work inside, with monuments to saints. The doors are bronze, but the rest of the bronze from the patio got stolen for St. Peter’s Basilica.

It is impossible to convey the sheer size of the place, and looking up at the interior of the dome is quite a sight.

Also, look! Another obelisk and fountain! Not like we didn’t have enough of those. :D

(PS. Different from the Parthenon in Greece, which I also saw on this trip. Super confusing….)


Italy loves obelisks, and columns…and also fountains. These are all different towers we saw on our walking tour. Also, Gandalf loves oliphaunts. :D

The Spanish Steps

A famous meeting spot in Rome, next to really expensive shops and really good gelato. (Well, you are never very far from good gelato in Rome…). Also, aggressive flower sellers are not fun.

Unfortunately both the church at the top of the steps and the famous boat fountain at the bottom were under renovation (grrr). But the ever prominent obelisk was scaffold free. Some really great views from the top anyway.

While they are called the Spanish Steps (named after the Spanish Embassy), they were actually financed by the French. This is shown in a fleur-de-lis pattern on the stone.

Also, Gandalf is chillin’.

This was where we met our tour guide for a ‘free’ (by donation) walking tour. It was great!

I spent a day in Rome waiting for my friends to arrive by train. In the meantime I walked all over the place. What I love about Rome is that everywhere you look there is something amazing to see. It comes from being such an old civilization, but the various strata of history in the city is amazing.

I also take too many pictures for my own good. O.o

The Cloisters of Basilica di San Giovanni

Cloisters are always a wonderful part of visiting large cathedrals and churches. This one was especially nice as it had a little exhibit organised along the walls. One of these stones is apparently a stone on which people played dice for Jesus’ clothes. Ok.

Also pretty flowers.


Anonymous asked: When did you go to the dungeons because none of what you said actually happens. Just wondering.

It was June 28, 2014. I just looked again though and it is actually the London Bridge Experience that we did, which is maybe slightly different? Thanks for pointing this out!

One of Rome’s many obelisks, set in the Piazza di San Giovanni. Across from the Battistero Lateranesne; an octagonal baptistery. Gorgeous mosaics and an interesting octagonal interior.

The stone on the outside is so unassuming; while I was trying to find this place I accidentally wandered into the parking lot of a military compound. I was very quickly informed of my mistake by the attendant. Whoops!

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

This church was gorgeous, and absolutely massive. The offered audio guide was quite good, if infused with a little too much extra drama. The various chapels and the altar were beautiful, and the inside of the dome featured two massive pipe organs.

The front porch of the basilica was cool stone, refreshing in the heat, and featured beautiful bronze doors.

One of the many churches where one is asked to dress with arms and legs covered. There are even people selling scarves all over the place for tourists caught out!

The Sacred Steps/Scala Sancta in Rome

These steps have an odd history. Apparently the staircase that Jesus walked up in Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem. People climb the steps on their knees to reflect on the suffering Jesus endured.

I debated about climbing the steps myself; as seen in the photo, they were very crowded, and I also hesitate on the line between ‘tourist’ and ‘pilgrim’. But in the end I did climb the steps—on my knees—and I am glad I did. it was an interesting experience and faith reflection.

There is a pretty chapel at the top, and alternative stairs you can climb in the conventional way.

Millennium Bridge and the Tate Museum

The Tate Museum is a museum of modern art, set up in an old factory. It is the ugliest building on the outside, with a big smokestack; it is really modern inside, with tons of escalators.

The art is…interesting…  Modern art has never been my favourite, but some of the stories behind things were cool, and we got a free audio guide with the London Pass (huzzah audio guides).

We did a pretty whirlwind tour through, but it is a free museum, so I can also go back later.