I realized I forgot to say what happened after Pompeii. We took the train back to Naples, which is loud, overwhelming, and the part we saw, not that pretty, and had pizza. Pizza is a source of Napolitan pride, and we went to one of the places they like best, "Antica Pizzaria di Michelle" which was in the movie "Eat Pray Love." It was amazing. On the 2.5 hour train ride home, some guy pleaded and argued loudly the entire time with his mom on his cell phone. The other Italian men did not need a common language to make their message apparent: they were eloquently able to convey, "grow a pair buddy" by gesture alone.
Today was Vatican day. We got there earlier than our reservation, but they still let us in. The place was so packed it was almost not enjoyable, though was worth it for the Sistine Chapel (even though they don't let you talk and were forcing us to walk through without stopping) and the Raphael Rooms. You're not allowed to take photos in the Sistine Chapel, though there, like everywhere else, visitors were explicitly not obeying the museum rules. I surprised myself by snapping at a French couple who were reaching through the ropes to touch two thousand year old artworks, "Don't touch that!" in French. Thanks Monsieur Krieger (our high school French teacher)! I didn't see them touch anything else... :) After the Vatican museum, we were exhausted and had lunch and a gelato that defines gelato for me, the most spectacular pistachio gelato ever. We went over to St. Peters, but the line wrapped around the entire square (about 5 hours long) -I guess we'll see the Pieta another time. It seemed like there was something special going on, because they had a platform in front that looked like a funeral bier. Then we walked over to Hadrian's tomb (which one of the medieval popes had tricked out in papal splendor). We picked up a souvenir for a friend, and then went back to the hotel. We had dinner at some Italian institution next to four priests that I think might have been from Sacramento- boy were they bitchy.
I think the thing that bothered both of us the most was the incredible luxuriousness of the papal apartments, particularly those from the Renaissance times. It felt distressing that they felt entitled to that level of splendor -almost hypocritical. Anyway, tomorrow we're on our way to London for a layover and then back to the US on Monday. I think I appreciate Washington DC more than I ever did, because in comparison, the people in DC are so nice! And I really miss the dog!