Cedrick Lui

The personal website of Cedrick Lui, used to promote and present his projects as well as act as a blog.

Busiest day of the trip!

Friday June 14th (Written June 15th)  Day 15


Here is a list:
- Checkout of Place 1
- Go across town
- Check in to Place 2
- Go back across town
- Meet with Vatican tour
- 3 hour Vatican tour

- Go back across town
- Rest shortly
- Walk in city
- See opera
- Walk back

Did we do it? Yes!

We woke up after a shifty nights rest.  We walked across town carrying our luggage, mine on my back...

We got a bit lost but found our new airbnb with Matteo.  He was a very lovely man and his place was very inviting.  Fruit was left out for us as well as bread and some spreads.  We had no time to take it in as we rushed to catch our 10am tour.

A quick subway ride later we had just got to the tour group in time meaning no breakfast.  We subsisted on small snacks and bottled water we brought as we were herded past roman sculptures, paintings, fresco walls, tapestries and more.

The Vatican museum was a mad-house.  Much like the Louvre we were squished person-to-person through the huge (but still not huge enough) rooms.  Expansive halls ornately painted and lined with marble statues.  Large pillars and arches beckoned us into bigger and bigger rooms with 2 story high painted ceilings.  The guide was keeping a quick pace and only highlighting the more famous pieces.  After a tiring, educational, exhausting, awe-inspiring, crowded trek, we went through the Sistine Chapel with quiet murmuring and the occasional loud guard or "SHH!" sound.  The best was of course saved for last as we wandered into the St. Peter's Bascilla.

Impressive is not the word.  I can honestly say I will see nothing like it anywhere else in the world.  The sheer scope and magnitude of the building can not be done justice in pictures or words.  Gigantic is selling this place short.  The hall stretched up to unreal heights.  Giant marble pillars and columns as thick as a car shot to the domed ceiling.  The place was massive and every inch was made with incredible amounts of care and detail.  Imported ebony from Africa beside orange marble and then white marble.  Letters lining the top of the walls seemed small, but were in fact 4 meters tall.  Giant statues everywhere that made you feel like you were in a tolkien fantasy world.  The one thing you feel for certain is insignificance.  A true human monument and achievement and a result of religious control.

We left after blessings of holy water by giant baby statues.  Hauke ran to the top of the dome for ipctures while the unfed and sore footed rest of us waited.

When we left the Vatican we ate at the nearest place which as expected was a tourist money grab.  With fainting a growing concern from the lack of food, abundance of walking and the sheer heat of the sun, we all shared a plate of microwaved chicken and fries.  Overly friendly and scam artists, the staff upcharged to a ludicrous extent so we quickly paid our hustlers and left.

We trained back to our place and enjoyed the free snacks provided.  It wasn't a lot, but would sustain us in our semi-fast until dinner.  We only had time to rest briefly before going out for dinner back downtown.  We had found the recommended restaurant but it would not be open for another half hour.  We wandered the area but decided to stick to our guns and eat at a sure-bet.

Our patience was rewarded as an eccentric and fun old man seated us.  Starving and looking to wash away the afternoon's bitter experience.  I held back nothing.  Tortellini's in an inviting and complex broth, cannelloni and a bottle of wine.  Wakana had the roast lamb with potatoes, a salad and Hauke ate veal scallopini.  Nita ordered a wonderful veal with cheese and a risotto with rose sauce.

We ate and drank in the beautiful and amazing meal with an unwavering delight.  A little drunk on the wine (just me), we headed to a mystery opera that Wakana bought cheap-o tickets for.  We had no clue what we were getting into at all.  When we arrived, we found that it was more like a tiny school production as the space was small and the setting was intimate.  A black stage reminding me of drama class was built in a tiny courtyard surrounded by tall buildings.  I counted a total of 40 seats, lawn chairs actually, in front of the stage.  As it happens, we were at the first show of an opera festival with small shows popping up all over the city.  We would look up and see the dimming sky over us, feeling the cool evening air funnel far down into the square.

The show started.  A few solo musical acts including an asian girl from Canada who made lover to her piano as she played.

The solo opera began as a tiny man sang with a voice that boomed into the amazing acoustics provided by the tall buildings.  Then a stage show with a cast that matched the audience in number.  Gorgeous loud voices and a small 4-5 person orchestra played for the intimate crowd.

No suits, no pretentious attitudes, no judgement.  Just pure love of the show, thrill of simply performing, and an air of happiness to be sharing their love.  It was the perfect introduction into opera, and it was only an hour and change in length.  Wakana and I realized that we were sick.  My entire trip has been plagued with a nasty cough that had not been given a proper chance to heal during the trip.  We took the long walk back to the apartment and crashed.... hard.

Background images by C. H. Kim. All images are © Cedrick Lui unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.