Two things to see in Rome

I don’t want to talk too much about the obvious sights of Rome. Yes, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colleseum and the Pantheon are impressive but I don’t think you need me to tell you you should visit them (and in case you do, consider yourself told!). Instead I’m going to write about two other things that I think are worth a visit when in Rome.

The Knights of Malta Keyhole
Keyhole Up at the top of the Aventine Hill, at the end of of Via di Santa Sabina there is a square – Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, the Square of the Knights of Malta. At first glance the square doesn’t look very interesting. There’s a basilica behind it which is quite pretty and the building to one side has guards standing in front of it but that seems to be all. Oh, and the building with the guards has a big green wooden door in it. That is the door to the gardens of the Knights of Malta and in that door there is a hole, the Knights of Malta Keyhole. Actually, it’s not even a keyhole as such – it’s perfectly round and I doubt very much there is a key that fits in it. But take a look through and you will see, perfectly framed by the trees in the garden, an excellent view of St. Peter’s Basilica. This photo is pretty good but it really doesn’t do it justice – in real life it’s even more spectacular. Well worth the trip up the hill to see, in my opinion.

The Cappuccin Crypt
Cappuccin Church The Cappuccin Crypt is located beneath the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini (Our Lady of the Conception of Capuchins) church, also known as Santa Maria della Immocolata (Our Lady the Immaculate). Friars that belonged to the Cappuccin community at the church were buried down there in soil that had been brought from Jurusalem, but they only had a limited amount of soil and so, when they ran out of space, the monks who had originally been buried in the soil were dug up to make room. Then, rather than placing the dug up remains in a tomb or something, the Cappuccin monks chose to do something a little bit… strange. Of the 6 chapels in the crypt, 5 of them are decorated using the bones of more than 4,000 disinterred monks. Some of them have been left whole and can be seen lying or standing around dressed in their monks robes. Others were taken apart and used to make display units for the whole ones or turned into light fittings, wall decorations and even an image of the Grim Reaper on the ceiling of one chapel. It’s fascinating stuff but very, very creepy. Definitely not for the faint hearted! Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed, which is why I took a photo of the outside of the chuch instead, but if you’re interested in seeing what it looks like just ask Google. It’s much more spooky in real life though… an absolute must-see when in Rome.

Cake and stockings

I made a cake last night to take into work with me*. You see, tomorrow is the last day of my internship. In Germany, when there’s an event, the person whose birthday or whatever it is expected to bring in something yummy for the rest of their workplace. You have to bake it yourself as well mind you – a friend of mine’s colleagues were most disappointed when she took in a cake from the bakers. I’ll never understand why on my birthday I have to give other people something, but never mind. When in Rome and all that. So today I took in a cake. It was another one of those ridiculously hot days where the sun was already unbearable by 8am and by the time I was half way to work I was already roasting. Who knew a simple marble cake could be so heavy? But never mind, both cake and I made it to work in one piece and it seemed to go down well with my colleagues. A brilliant result I’d say.

Oh, and here’s something that amused me today. I was doing a translation about stockings (the black lacy kind, not the ones you get a Christmas). Nothing too difficult, just a few random terms to be printed on the packaging. One of the items on the list was “halterlose Strümpfe”. Hmm, how would we say that in English? I wondered. Not being a stocking wearer I tend not to spend much time reading the packaging for them. An idea occurred to me and I decided to see whether the internet thought it existed. So I type the words “halterless stockings” into Google. A few hits did come up, but right at the top was that question Google asks you when it thinks you might have spelled something wrong…
Did you mean: “shelterless stockings”.
Umm, no I didn’t actually, but I’m quite intrigued now. What on Earth are shelterless stockings? Are those the ones that manage to get lost in the washing machine, leaving you with one half of hundreds of pairs? Are there shelterless socks as well? The mind really does boggle! (In case you were wondering, the actual translation was “hold ups” or in American English “garterless stockings”. I don’t suppose you were wondering though… unless you’re as ignorant about the world of stockings as I am).

*Actually, Jan did most of the actual making of the cake. I just measured stuff… and managed to get it out of the oven on time.