When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? Well we tried. Here is how it played out.
The first night when we got there it was quite late. We knew time could possibly run short, so we went to the Trevi fountain that night. And it was absolutely spectacular.
Making a wish
Amelia & I at the Trevi
The four of us
Apparently, if you throw one coin in, it is a wish to return to Rome and two coins is to fall in love. We stayed there for about an hour then decided to head to our hostel. The next morning we planned to adventure to all of the other sites besides the coliseum or the vatican. I went downstairs to grab everyone towels and I ran into one of my friends from St. Johns! Out of the blue! He is also studying in London, and was on his break, which happened to be in Rome in the same hostel as me! He has an internship with PwC as well but for the summer. Here is a picture of Bobby and I a few nights later.
After I talked to him about his plans, we all got ready and headed off towards the spanish steps. I’m not sure as to why they are so significant, but one street vendor said it had to do with how it connects the church to the common people. I was surprised as to how small the steps actually were. I was expecting another flight of 500 steps like other churches we have been to. After we walked up, we went to the Pantheon. This was one of the cooler places we went. It was actually a pagan church built in 608 and later converted to Christianity. Here are photos of the stairs and the Pantheon.
We walked by the Coliseum that night, and got really excited for our tour, which was the next day! We went to bed early that night preparing for our early morning. And it sure was an early morning…. Our hostel room had six beds and the two other occupants were some of the loudest snorer’s I have ever met (even louder than you used to be dad!). The fact that they both snored didn’t help and all four of us woke up in the middle of the night very irritated. We all had a pair of ear plugs but those didn’t even help much! It was so frustrating!
We woke up early and I wasn’t quiet at all, just hoping that the other two roommates might have to wake up and suffer like I did. We arrived at the coliseum early enough to avoid the line and I picked up an audio guide for an extra 2 euro. The audio guide had an overwhelming amount of information. Here is some information:
The coliseum was used for celebrations and holidays. At one point the Romans had 180 celebrations and holidays a year. There were fights between humans and animals and then in the afternoon they would have human vs. human. The ground floor of the fighting area was filled with trap doors, which allowed for the element of surprise. Underneath the coliseum, fighters would train and then walk underground to where all the gladiators slept. There were many artifacts which included human and animal bones, equipment which helped build the coliseum, statues of governors and a few gladiators, and name carvings of important people.
With this pass, we also were able to visit Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. There were a few items and stones there that have been dated before the year 1 B.C.
Romans take baths too
That afternoon, we also walked by the Piazza Venezia, which I thought she be something named in Venice, but it was still cool. Looked a lot like the white house, huh?
She’s so strong!
Saturday was our walk around day, and also JJ’s 21st birthday. Instead of getting wasted, JJ tried an even harder challenge. He was going to attempt to have 21 scoops of 21 different flavors of gelato. Gelato is very similar to ice cream, but I think it might have more sugar. Either way, he completed it by midnight! He was definitely sick of it by that point, and I don’t think he will have ice cream for at least a year. That night we went to the Hard Rock Rome, and I would have to say it was one of the best nights of our vacation. We all had a little wine, but then it was so fun just to reflect about our trip! We talked about what we liked best, worst, and then continued about our St. Thomas program and what we liked about our semester abroad. While the conversation was great, I would have to say the nachos were almost just as good. We started with those and then I tried a local burger, which was topped with fried onions and avocado.
As I said that night, I did not have a favorite part of the trip. I thought I liked Venice because of the relaxed atmosphere of the people, and how great the weather was. I really enjoyed the beauty and artwork of Florence, and how the city has preserved their history. In Rome, I loved the Coliseum and the dinner at the Hard Rock! It was all great! I could not have asked for a better vacation with some great friends. We thought there could have been a few changes to our itinerary, but we were still very satisfied with our trip. On the negative side, we all said how much poverty there was in Italy. It was very sad, but at the same time frustrating because the beggars would bother us while we were eating and I would see them walking away talking on their cell phones. Later that night we headed off to the Trevi fountain for the fourth time in Rome. Still spectacular.
The final day, we woke up early to go to the Vatican. JJ’s mother let us stay in a hotel that night, for his birthday, which was very nice of her. On the last Sunday of every month, the Vatican museum, and St. Peter’s Basilica are FREE. Arriving, I realized we might not even have a chance to get in either part. I would guess I easily saw 100,000 people as I got off the metro and got aboveground. We almost bought a fake tour, until we realized the guy was just trying to steal our money, and hopped in line. After about 45 minute wait, we got into the Vatican museum! The real highlight, and only thing I wanted to see in here was the Sistine Chapel. No pictures were allowed, and it was supposed to be absolutely silent, but hey I was at the Sistine Chapel! I had to snag a picture. Here was the best I got.
The creation of Adam
SILENCIO! SILENCE! SHHHHHHH! This was being shouted the entire time we were in there by the security guards. Once we left, we met some Canadians and realized we missed a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Pope only gives Mass about once every four-five months and he did it that morning!! I could not believe it. Then the lady emailed me a picture and my heart sank. I would have loved to witness that, even if it was spoken in Italian. We waited in line to visit St. Peter’s basilica for about an hour and fifteen minutes. This church was the most and will always be the most marvelous chapel I have ever seen.
Yup, me being weird again.
Lastly, we finished our vacation by arriving to the airport four hours early… Our flight was delayed because of the horrible storm in London, but we landed at about 2AM. Because most night buses were closed we were in bed by 415AM but safe! I didn’t notice any damage in any area around us, but I believe this was one of the worst storms London has had in awhile. Here are other random photos from Rome.
It was a tiring break
Trevi and Gelato. I don’t even like ice cream!
Coliseum by night
Trevi – Night
Trevi – Day
Hard Rock Rome
Done with midterm! I will post about my most recent week as soon as possible. We visited Inns of Court, Lloyds of London, Sigmund Freud House, O’neils pub in Leicester Square, and Kensington Gardens. And then I realized I should probably focus on some school work! Love you all,