Archive for October, 2012

European Trip Part 8, The Vatican

Hi ! ! ! Renxkyoko Iglesias here !

.I posted that picture above because that’s what I feel right now. I just  watched the presidential debate on foreign policy  between Pres. Obama and Mitt Romney and I believe Pres. Obama did a great job of presenting his policies.

You know, I went with my sister to Reno, Nevada as members of Obama’s volunteer workers . Though  I’m from California, ground  game  is not needed here anymore as  California is in his pocket already, so we have to go to places where assistance is needed.  At least Nevada is nearby… some volunteers went as far as Colorado , Wisconsin and Iowa.  And by the way, we are volunteers… we spent our own money,wages we lost were not something to sneeze at, and  we   were not paid a single cent. Not to mention that we   had to grin and bear it when yelled at.  I used to be a wimp and easily get teary-eyed, but I learned fast. Politics is so cruel. I couldn’t afford to be onion-skinned.  Not now, when so much are at stake.  There are already so many  whackos and nutheads  in Congress, and Senate, as it is. Who would have thought that someone running for a Senate seat  would have  the gall and temerity  to  say that rape is God’s will, or another guy saying that there’s a legitimate rape and non- legitimate, that if a woman got pregnant, that is not legitimate, because, a woman who is legitimately being raped would have her system automatically shut down and  have  her eggs fight off the rapist’s sperm, implying that if she did get pregnant, she  relaxed during the act, and maybe had actually liked it? WTH ! Not to mention, Romney’s VP candidate actually  tried to legislate the definition of what rape is…. if no force is applied, then it’s not rape, even if there’s a gun pointed at the woman’s head.   Yeah, they’re who Mitt Romney is endorsing for the Senate seat. I cringe at the thought of this kind of  people wearing  clown hats walking the august halls of Congress.  Oh, while I’m at it, no contraception pills, if these guys would have their way.    Sex is not for pleasure, only for procreation.  So , ladies, just put aspirin between your knees, as suggested, even if he’s your husband.  Rant over.

How ironic. This post is about The Vatican, the center of  my religion.  But I believe Catholicism is not about  how loud a person proclaims his love for God…. it’s how he treats a fellow human being who has less in life, the poor, and the meek. I cannot vote for people who would give more and more tax cuts to the already rich, and take away funds from Medicaid, practically all social nets of the poor, to make up for the difference.  Then they are the loudest in invoking the name of God. The hypocrisy is stunning.  PS I don’t like to associate either with a political party that is embraced by groups whose emblem is the SWASTIKA and KKK. That’s the bottomline for me.

Enough of  politics. Back to The Vatican and Rome. This is my third post on The Vatican and I promise, the last, so, please indulge me on this. Uhm, I say The Vatican, not Rome. Sorry.  And please forgive my rant.  T.T

Above is just one of the numerous statues lining the walls of St. Peter’s Basilica.

And below is a pinkish obelisk, right in the middle of St. Peter’s Square. It was built by an Egyptian Pharao around 2000 BC ( 4000 years ago), and was hauled out of Egypt in about 40 BC by Roman Emperor Caligula, and erected in his circus (  the circus was most probably some kind of amusement park  near the area of St. Peter’s Square , where early Christians’ tortures were done as entertainment for Emperor Nero… yes, that Nero…..   it was also the place where St. Peter was crucified ). It was moved to the center of St. Peter’s Square in 1600.

Main entrance flanked by 2 massive columns. Quite overwhelming…


.The photo above is like the anteroom , outside the main church’s  interior. Above that photo is the main door to the church. I don’t know why it’s closed. We must have entered through another door.

.Below is  the main altar.

Someone has to correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the tomb of St. Peter , the Apostle is underneath that altar.

The one above is courtesy of Wikipedia. …. just to give you an idea how amazing the place is. Upon entering the basiliuca, the first thing people see is the Papal Altar with the canopy designed by Bernini. There is a wide aisle from the entrance , to the middle ending at the altar,  and off the aisle  are numerous  smaller altars.

Eh. I look so stiff here.  I wonder why. He he he.






.I don’t need to describe each photo . Every inch of the interior of the basilica is  so richly decorated  I’ve run out of words to describe each intricate  detail.

.To be honest, I find that photo above a bit creepy, that’s the bronze statue of St. Peter,  and together with the photo below, the embalmed body of Pope John Paul if I’m not mistaken,I’d be frightened to death  if I’d suddenly  find myself alone in the church,  company of holy men, notwithstanding. The name engraved in the coffin is that of Pope Innocent, but it was replaced by the remains of Pope John Paul in 2005.





Below is Michaelangelo’s Pieta.  There’s a glass wall that protects the sculpture from the crowd.  It’s located near the main entrance, on the left.  It’s truly breathtaking.  The first photo is from Wikepedia. The second one is mine. I want to show you the photo without that tiny bit of reflection.

.Do you see the balconies in the picture? The one in the middle is where the Pope stands on to bless the flock.

.The Swiss Guards.


Oh, the sky is so blue ! !

A panoramic view of St. Peter’s Square, courtesy of Wikipedia.

So, that’s it. . What an amazing experience !  I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos.  If you can, just once in your lifetime, I urge you to go and see  The Vatican.

For some reason, I feel sad to post the last of my Vatican tour.

Well, good day to all , Valete, and  Pax.   Rome is next.

European Trip Part 7, part b, The Vatican and Rome

Hello, there !  Renxkyoko Iglesias here !

How many times have I started a post  with these words? According to WP, more than 274 times.  With just 1 or 2 posts a month, I don;t know where WP got that figure. Okay, I think  I know…. it’s from where I first started blogging here, in October , 2010.  And  I did post almost everyday back then…… mindless, stupid posts, like so…. ” Hi, Renxkyoko Iglesias here ! It’s 2 AM right now and guess what I’m doing ? Doing the laundry , that’s what. So, how’s your day ?  Tut, tut, goodbye ! ”   And the one below is the worst…. by the way, it’s dated June 2010…. that was written on another blogsite that was transferred , lock, stock and barrel to WP.

Posted June 28, 2010 by renxkyoko in Uncategorized. 2 Comments | Edit


Like this:

Be the first to like this post.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by pHiO_cHaN on June 28, 2010 at 5:12 am  edit

    and this too! what entry is this? @___@


  2. Posted by renxkyoko on June 28, 2010 at 5:54 am  edit

    (^__^)”;;  Don’t know.

No wonder  that for a loooong time, I only had  2 or 3 loyal and captured readers, lol. Who would read such crap ? The first time I saw another commenter  on my blog, aside from my loyalists, of course,  I was like, ” Waaaaa ! They can read my blog ? ” All the while, I thought that was my private space .  I was such a dumb-belle…. still one, though, he he he.

Well, then, consider the above   my anniversary post.

Moving on……

This is the second part of my Part 7 tour of Rome and The Vatican.  There’s just no way I can convey the richness of  Rome’s and  The Vatican’s history  with just one post.  Rome ruled for 3,500 years after all. Also, The Vatican Museum contains the biggest collection of  the antiquities.   Don’t worry though, I won’t overload you with images, which  some of you might even  find boring.

.As I wrote before, the Vatican Museum has numerous  rooms, about 55 ,  one of which is the photo above, The Chariot Room.

.That’s Isis , Goddess of Fertility, and those protuberances  are not fruits hanging on her chest… those are breasts.  Ah, gravity has taken its toll.

.I hope this is the last nude statue that I’m going to post here, but I assure you there’s no shortage of nude statues in my cache……..Above  photo is a sweet sculpture of father and son, isn’t it? Actually, no. The title of the sculpture is Temptation of the Grapes, and somehow, temptation connotes something  ominous.


.There’s only one word that can describe the photos above. …. MAJESTIC.


Above is the Gallery of Maps . Check out the frescoes on the ceiling. They are flat paintings but look 3 D. This is also the hallway that leads to the Sistine Channel.

A bit blurry, but I’m in the photo, he he he. Gotta be  in the photo, y’ know.

Old topography of Italy showing  the Vatican’s territories.  Nothing in the maps are accurate for obvious reasons, but Pope Gregory Xlll did introduce the Gregorian Calendar, the calendar that we use today. That’s pretty accurate.

Can we just look and admire ? I’ve run out of words to describe the magnificence of this Museum.  The place is simply overwhelming.

.That;s the Gallery of Tapestries. Check out the 3 D frescoes on the ceiling. They are actually flat paintings. Do you notice the room is dark?  Sunlight will damage the delicate tapestries, so we were requested to minimize the use of flash in our cameras.

.I secretly took this photo.  In fact, we were requested not to use our cameras, at all. Anyway, about the photo….. This is obviously a tapestry of The Last Supper. Do you notice the food on the table? There’s fish, and bread, but what do you see in front of  Jesus? Doesn’t it look like a pig?  Jews don’t eat pork, and Jesus was a Jew. So, what message  was the tapestry  maker trying to convey here?  Was he trying to deny the Jewishness of Jesus ? Is there a subliminal messaging that went  on here ?  Years after His death, there was a split among His followers and disciples on whether to retain the Jewish laws and traditions, or to separate from them and form a new religion that centers on the teachings of Christ. This is ironic because Jesus Himself never left his Jewish Religion.  Well, I’m not going into this. Suffice it to say that, St. Peter ( to whom Jesus has entrusted the building of the Church….. ” Simon, you are Peter, and on this rock, you will build my Church…..”) is considered the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, declared  just 30 years after the death of  Jesus. His successor was Pope Linus, ensuring that succession of Popes should be constant, and should always reconize  St. Peter, one of the 12 Apostles, as the first.


.I’m not sure but I think above photo is the official emblem of  The Vatican.

The photo above is the exit , out of the Vatican Museum . Next is St. Peter’s Basilica. Okay, here’s the truth. The Vatican Museum  has 55 rooms. The truth is, I don’t really know how many rooms I’ve visited.  One thing I’m sure of, we didn’t get  to see the famous Raphael Rooms, also called Stanze di Raphael, which are actually papal rooms, the private living quarters of the Popes. . There are 4 smaller rooms in the Stanze.  Raphael painted the walls of these 4 rooms. What is amazing is that , Pope Julius ll commissioned Raphael to paint the walls the same time he ” commanded” Michaelangelo to paint  the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It’s mindboggling to imagine 2 of the greatest artists , Michaelangelo and Raphael working  almost side by side.. Also, I say ” commanded ” because Michaelangelo resisted  and had to remind the Pope again and again that   he was not a painter, but  a sculptor, and   thus, wouldn’t do a good job of it. He was also worried that the dome of the Sistine Chapel (  that he himself designed ) which was then simultaneously being constructed, would  fall on him.  These 2 artists’  works mark the peak of the Rennaisance art in Europe. By the way, the difference between the two as far as their work at the Vatican was concerned was that, Raphael relied heavily on his assistants ( in fact Raphael died prematurely and it was his assistants who finished the job ) whereas M did it all by himself, alone. Not to mention the fact that M painted lying flat  on his back, while Raphael painted normally, standing on his feet.

I don’t have photos of  Raphael wall frescoes, so apologies to Wikipedia for copying some of theirs and posting them here.

.The title of this fresco  is The School of Athens. Heraclitus ( which is actually a portrait of Michaelangelo) is the one seated on the stairs, in front, and leaning  on a block of marble. The two men standing prominently in the middle of the painting are  Plato and Aristotle. Pythagoras is on the left  writing on something , Euclid is the man on the right teaching a few students, Ptolemy is holding some kind of a sphere, the one lying in the middle of the stairs is Diogenes.

The Optional tour of The Vatican Museums which cost $ 65 per person included entry to the Sistine Chapel.  We were resquested again not to take any photos, and this time, there were quite a number of guards who saw to it the rule was being followed. I even saw a Japanese tourist who was secretly shooting a video being reprimanded by a rude guard . According to our tour guide, taking photos and videos are banned because Nippon  Television Network of Japan has sole copyright or exclusive  TV, video and photo rights to the Sistine Chapel. NTV financed the restoration of the chapel in 1990. The restoration took 20 years to finish.

I don’t want  to be melodramatic, but I was totally in awe. The Sistine Chapel’s ceiling  was one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, made by one of the greatest artist on the planet.  To be there and absorbing everything that I saw was quite a unique experience for me.  Just imagine,   surrounding  me were paintings by some of the greatest painters  in the world… Michaelangelo, Boticelli,  Roselli, among others.  The feeling was simply indescribable. Well, I guess it  was just me.  You know, I saw this Asian tourist ( pardon me, I’m Asian too ) having her photo taken in front of  Michaelangelo’s Pieta. She had a wide smile on her face, standing at an angle that was typical, and making a V – sign. O_O  I thought that V-sign was  an  inappropriate and  disrespectful gesture to make in a church, and in front of one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.  Darn, lady, this is not an amusement park.

About The Sistine Chapel……………..

The Chapel was originally built as a private chapel of  Pope Sixtus lV. He was also the one that commissioned Botticelli, Perugeni, et al, to do the wall frescoes that depicted the lives of Moses and Jesus. He died, and was succeeded by Pope Julius lV who urged Michaelangelo to do the ceiling. It was said that another painter recommended Michaengelo to Pope Juluis. The truth was, this painter was a relative of Raphael, who at that time was M’s arch rival and enemy. He knew that M was not a painter, and if, by chance, he accepted Pope Juluis’ job offer, he   wished M would fail, and he and his cousin Raphael could then  happily gloat over M’s failure. As expected, Michaelangelo resisted at first, but the Pope insisted and in fact dangled several  future  sculpturing  commissions as a kind of bribe.  Thanks to that painter’s malicious suggestion, the world got one of the greatest materpiece art of all time.  Michaelangelo was of course worried his work wouldn’t be that good. So what he did was to start painting on the ceiling closest to the main entrance. His rationale was , that area would be amateurish,  because  he knew his foray into  painting wouldn’t be that good at first, so to cover that up, he first  started painting on the  ceiling above the main entrance.  He figured that people entering the chapel would look first at the paintings in front, and  not above their heads where they would  have to crane their necks or tilt their heads  uncomfortably.  The last painting he did was on the wall behind the altar, The Last Judgement, which he thought was the best, and the first that people would see as they entered the chapel.

.Jesus is in the middle of the painting, and check out the man seated on a rock that is directly underneath Jesus’ image, the one on the right, and holding a soul that he’s about to drop into hell.  On my previous post, I wrote that Michaelangelo admired the Belevedere torso . That man’s image above is almost an imitation of the Belvedere torso.


.Michaelangelo painted almost all of  the images nude.  Some Cardinals complained to the Pope… said it was immoral and   appropriate to be placed only in taverns and bath houses , and not in  such a sacred place. The Pope ignored their complaints. But later, when   Michaelangelo died, the private parts of the nude figures were painted over with some cloth. Check out  the photo above, and the main painting.  During the restoration process though, the restorers were charged to remove the paint -overs without damaging the original painting. So, what people see now are  nude human figures as originally painted.  The covers have been washed away. Too bad I couldn’t find any of the restored image.

* I suddenly have a vision of myself holding a pointer and  giving a lecture to a nearly empty hall *

* taps table with  pointer ” The picture below shows The Creation of Adam, one of the two most famous paintings in the world, rivaled only by Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

.It depicts God giving life to Adam, the life force of which emanates from his fingers. It contradicts the Biblical narrative of God breathing life into Adam. Michaengelo of course got away with so many things. In fact, he was commissioned to paint only 12 figures, those of the 12 apostles. M was appaled there would be such a lot of empty space on the ceiling, so the Pope gave him carte blanche on what he wanted to do. M decided to paint Biblical scenes since most of Jesus ‘ life had already been painted on the walls. He ended up painting 300 human figures.

Actually, the chapel is really small. It’s the Pope’s private chapel, where he meditates and prays in private, I guess. But nowadays, it’s the place where Cardinals gather to elect a new Pope., and where tourists can gawk and marvel at the paintings.


.It’;s kind of dark in there, to be honest. But they’re just trying to protect the paintings from harsh light.

Well, I guess this is it . I’d like to inform you that I need a part C of  The Vatican and Rome. There are just so many things I  want to show and tell you.  Please pardon me . I need to show you St, Peter’s Basilica, and  Rome, so bear with me, okay. If you’re bored, it’;s okay, but I have to post my stuff here.

Good day to all, and PAX !