Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Day #7225 - Rome wasn't built in a day, but I saw it in 3

This past weekend in Rome had so many ups and downs to it, but mostly I can't believe everything we were able to see just in one long weekend. On the other hand, I kind of wish we had a little more time.

The real adventure started on Friday night while I was packing for the trip. It was around 10:30 at night and decided I was hungry, so right then would be a perfect time to learn how to make pasta by myself. Oy vey. Once one of my roommates came and showed me how to light the stove the old-fashioned way, I proceeded to make enough spaghetti for about 3 people and only heated up enough tomato sauce for a small child. It all tasted good, but needless to say my proportions were a bit off. And since we don't have tupperware here and I was leaving the next day, I ate all of it by myself.

Saturday I woke up at 5:30 to get ready to meet a bunch of the other girls at 6:45 for our 7:15 train to Bologna. However when I called them, they told me that they were already on board a 6:10 train and they had tried calling me but my phone had been off and we don't get voicemail on these phones. Not to worry, though. About 10 other people from the program were on the 7:15 train with me, so all of us got to Bologna and made the same transfer to our train to Rome.

Once we got to the city and found our new hostel (the one we had made reservations for was overbooked, so they moved us someplace else), we had lunch, saw the Trevi Fountain (BEAUTIFUL!!!!!) and did some shopping before our pub crawl that night. This pub crawl was intesne - it's a whole business. They go on the same crawl every night, starting from the Spanish Steps and charge a flat fee that includes cover at all the bars and cost of drinks for the night. I had some vino but mostly just enjoyed being out with the whole Verona group.

Sunday started bright and early at the Colusseum. Four of us decided to take a guided tour which ended up being extremely helpful. After that, we stopped at a caffe for something cool to drink. It was only late morning, but the sun was already brutal. Then we went back and took a tour of the Roman Forum which are all the ruins right in the middle of the city. Again, having a tour guide was really helpful otherwise I would have no earthly idea what I was looking at. It was also at this time that I got the majority of my weekend sunburn haha. After the Forum, Krista and I proceeded off to the Pantheon. I've read all about these different sights in books before and have seen a lot of them in movies, but to see it with your own eyes is just incredible. I was constantly blown away by how BIG it all is. After the Pantheon, we were all exhausted from the late night before, the early morning, and the toll the sun was starting to take on us. We went back to the hostel and took a several-hour nap, after which I felt infinately better. All 10 of us girls then got dressed up, went out to dinner, and headed back to the Trevi Fountain to get some night-time pictures. Again, I was blown away.

Then came Monday, the day I was looking forward to more than any other day for this whole trip. Vatican City. As luck would have it, the weather was completely dreary and after 2 days of the most incredible sunshine, it was raining. We made the best of it though while we stood in line for 2 hours for the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and in the end, it was completely worth it. I also felt like if it had to rain any of the days, Vatican day would be the best one because everything was indoors. It would have been miserable to see the Colusseum like that. Once we finally got inside, I feel like I was just in a complete state of awe. Every inch of that building's ceilings and walls are covered in the most detailed art I have ever seen. The Sistine Chapel was everything people always say it will be and more. After the museum, we walked to St. Peter's Square. Nothing on earth could have prepared me for it. The sight put an instant smile on my face and also moved me to tears - I couldn't believe I was finally seeing this with my own eyes. Being there also gave me a huge sense of belonging as a Catholic because the Church's history is very much a part of my history as well and here was our own seperate nation-state just for Catholics like me. The inside of the Basillica was absolutely astonishing; beautiful doesn't even begin to describe how it looked, but also how it made me feel. As you can see if you looked at the links I posted last night, I took a few pictures =) The only thing that could have made this weekend better would have been to have my family and friends here with me. Don't worry - I prayed for all of you, so it's kind of like you were there.

Anyway! So that was Rome. There's more to be said about the journey home, but I need to close this up for now and get ready for school. Of course because some of us had planned on going back to the pool today, today's weather is looking like a high in the middle 70s and nothing but rain for the next week and a half.

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