So, given that I will have soo much to report from this weekend, I’m going to try to break it down day-by-day. But first, let me say, I’m in ROME! THIS IS INCREDIBLE! BEAUTIFUL! HUGE! OLD! EPIC! WOOT! Okay, now that’s out of my system (for now) and I can break it down for you.
DAY ONE: The day started early as I had to meet the rest of ACM gang at 8:20 in the train station. It’s about a 35 min walk from our house to the train station, a bit of a trek with luggage. We met up with the group (our teachers came with on the trip and have had pseudo classes at all of the different places that we’ve gone to). On the fast train it only takes about an hour and a half to reach Rome from Firenze (on the cheaper trains it can take up to 4 hours!). We got off the train and took a bus to our hotel. We quickly dumped our bags, grabbed some food, and headed to the Vatican. There was no line! Normally it takes about an hour or two before you can even get into the place. Luck was on our side. We broke into two groups, each following a different teacher. I totally got the fun teacher! She let us take pictures and talk while she gave us background and pointed out paintings. The Vatican Museum is giant and you could totally get lost in the place forever. It was pretty cool and there were some pretty epic statues (Epic is the word of the trip because, frankly, nothing else does it justice). After quite the trek through the museums we made it to the Sistine Chapel! It was very cool. You’re technically not supposed to take pictures inside, but I may or may not have taken some video on my Flip camera. Score. Said a quick prayer for G and P’s anniversary, and then our teachers let us free for the rest of the night. I stopped by the Vatican gift shop and headed to St. Peter’s to check it out.
St. Peter’s is AMAZING! MASSIVE! BEAUTIFUL! And for a girl raised Roman Catholic, it just meant that much more. I cannot get over the size of the place. I was with a friend of mine and we kept whispering to each other, “Can you believe it? We’re here, where so much history has taken place! Didn’t the Pope get tackled like right over there?” I went into the special prayer section of the church, said a few, and walked around a bit. I was having a pretty hard time yesterday with homesickness due to the pseudo family reunion that was taking place for G and P’s 60th Anniversary (How incredible is that by the way? I can’t even begin to fathom loving and living with someone for that long. It’s inspiring). But when I was in St. Peter’s I knew that if I couldn’t be with my family, this is one place on the planet that I wanted to be. Catholicism is extremely family-oriented for me and so I just felt so much more connected being in that church. It was pretty wonderful.
After St. Peter’s we headed back to the hotel and I went to dinner with a couple of girls. I had crepes filled ricotta and spinach with some red wine, which was totally fantastic. Food coma inducing. We went out for the night and it was pretty interesting. Some people had a rough night due to too much limoncello (which is gross btw, so tart!). We called it an early night. It was a pretty great first day in Roma.
DAY TWO: We had to be at breakfast at 7:45 this morning which was pretty brutal. On a positive note, I had the best shower I’ve had since arriving in Italy. It was so lovely to have a shower with a curtain and a nozzle that you don’t have to hold over your head. The water was hot and I’ve never been so grateful for a good shower. It’s the little things in life that can make all the difference. We grabbed some breakfast and headed out. We walked over to see the ruins of the Roman forum. It was sooo cool. They are just a sight to behold. So we spent a good chunk of the morning exploring the ruins. This is by far the “oldest” place that I’ve ever been. So neat to think about. There are “gladiators” walking all over the city. Normally they want money for pictures but they gave a friend of mine one for free because it is his birthday. How do you top your 21st in Rome? His other birthdays just won’t be able to compete.
Then we went to the Colosseum (however you spell that). The freakin’ Colosseum! So EPIC. It’s pretty huge and I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. We were released from our teachers for a couple of hours. After taking some pictures and marveling at the splendor, we started the trek back to the hotel. But we ran into a parade along the way. I forgot to mention that today is Rome’s birthday, it’s 2000-something. So they had this massive parade with all these people dressed up in ancient garb. So cool! Also, because it is culture week in Italy which means that a lot of the monuments and museums in all of Italy are free for a week. Perfect timing I’d say. After enjoying the parade we were all thoroughly exhausted. We walked a ton this morning and yesterday. So we grabbed some lunch and took few hours to rest our feet.
We met up with our teachers again at 3 pm. We got to see the Pantheon which was beautiful (and where Raphael is buried). Then we went on a nearly two hour tour of churches. I'm not going to lie, I'm so sick of churches. They are all certainly beautiful, don't get me wrong, but my goodness spending 45 min staring at one altar piece gets old really fast. After our long trek of churches, we were rewarded with what my professor referred to as "the best gelatto in all of Italy." I'm no expert, but I would certainly agree. I got raspberry, chocolate, and champagne gelatto. That's right, champagne gelatto; it literally fizzed in your mouth. So fantastic. We were all sooo exhausted by this point so we headed back to the hotel for a bit before grabbing dinner. We decided to go back to the same restaurant as the night before. I had potato gnocchi with mozzerella, another wonderful meal.
I just got back from visiting the Trevi Fountain and sitting on the Spanish steps. Both absolutely beautiful and must-see places in Rome. There was a lot of activity on the streets of Rome for a Sunday night. But we quickly figured out that it was because Rome won a major soccer game. Cars were honking, people were shouting, and there was a major group of people partying in front of the main government building. It was awesome and so much fun to witness.
Not going to lie, not looking forward to tomorrow morning. We are being dragged to another string of churches which is bad enough, but BONUS we have to bring all of our stuff with us which is going to be very heavy. Not looking forward to it. But we head to Pompeii around noon so it won't be so bad.
What a crazy trip! I have loved Rome. It's beautiful and the colors of the buildings are so warm and inviting. The food has been fantastic and the sights breathtaking. Rome, I'll be back. You can count on it.