Look up to the Heavens Through the Top of the Pantheon
Excerpt from the book On a Tall Budget and Short Attention Span from the Teresa the Traveler Series.
I was happy to say b-bye to John and wander the streets of Rome without having to stop at every eatery along the way. I picked up a tourist map from the reception desk; it was the kind with large pictures of all the main sights making it easy to decide on an itinerary. When I noticed that the Pantheon, Rome’s best preserved ancient building, was fairly close I chose that as my first destination.
The original temple was built to honor all the Olympian gods hence the name Pantheon, a Greek word meaning “all of the Gods”. This temple was destroyed by fire in 80 AD and in 125 AD, after years of construction, the current temple was completed. The domed ceiling has a hole in the center nine meters in diameter. I have no idea what the hole is for; perhaps it is so God and/or skydivers can enter the temple from heaven.
In 608 AD the Pantheon was transformed from a Pagan temple into a Christian church making it one of the few non cross-shaped churches in Europe. The inscription M-AGRIPPA-L-F-COS-TERTVM-FECIT on the front of the building looks like it says something profound, but it really says “Made by Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, consul for the third time”.
Today the building is used as a church where mass is still celebrated. It is also the burial place for some of Italy’s royalty: King Vittorio Emanuele II, King Umberto I and his Queen Margherita.
By the time I finished checking out the Pantheon, it was lunch time and I was famished. I noticed a McDonalds nearby and yes, I ate there. I admit it, I went to Rome, home of some of the world’s best restaurants, and ate at McDonalds. What I needed more than anything was a burger and a bathroom but much to my dismay I was only able to get one out of two. After devouring my fish burger, I went to use the washroom and it was closed for cleaning.
What the…? Who closes their restroom for cleaning in the middle of the lunch hour? What is wrong with these people? Can’t they clean the washroom while people are using it? They had plenty of stalls.
I had to go so bad I ignored the closed sign and snuck into a stall only to get kicked out and yelled at in Italian. I had bought their burger and felt entitled to deposit it in their washroom. I always felt like McDonalds had my back but now, in my time of need, they were forcing me to face the horror of finding another washroom in downtown Rome – not an easy task. I had half a mind to write the CEO of McDonalds, whoever that may be, and tattle on the Pantheon McDonalds for being a bunch of mean bathroom Nazis who tell their customers NO BATHROOM FOR YOU!
For tips on visiting Italy CLICK HERE
For tips on visiting Europe CLICK HERE
For general travel tips on what to pack and how to plan ahead CLICK HERE
For tips on travelling on a budget CLICK HERE