Sunday, September 2, 2012

When in Rome

Well Rome’s idea of Wi-Fi and my idea of Wi-Fi are a little different. Thus blogging may be a little scarce for a while. Also, it means I don’t have enough speed for pictures so for now you shall have to look at facebook.

Rome is kind of incredible and there is so much to say, more than I can ever express here, but I shall try.

Tuesday, August 28:
We landed in Rome at around 9 in the morning, but we didn’t leave the airport until around 1. Lots of waiting… not a fan. I think this is when we began to realize how hot Rome is. After about five minutes outside I am drenched in sweat. I have given up on my hair. It is far too hot to have it down.

After checking in to our hotel we went on a whirlwind walk through the city. By whirlwind I do not meant to imply that it was short. I mean it was five hours long… Talk about achy feet! In this walk we saw SO much of Rome. St. Peter’s. Piazza Navona. The Pantheon. The Trevi Fountain. Etc.

After Piazza Navona three of us girls wandered off to the Trevi Fountain on our own. There I got my first gelato. YUM! I might be eating it everyday now… Don’t tell my bank account. We eventually made our way to the Spanish Steps where we were conned for the first time. Just a warning: Indian men who give you roses are not nice! After taking you picture and making you smell them they will make you pay.

We ended the day with dinner at our hotel. We are fortunate to be served by the wonderful Haymitch from the Hunger Games. Our server appears to be only slightly less inebriated than the character. Just kidding! He is super nice.

Wednesday, August 29:
Our first day of scheduled sight seeing.

We began at the Museum of Roman Civilization. I have to say I thought it was not worth the time. It was built by Mussolini to showcase Rome’s glory, but it is just a sad building filled with less than impressive replicas.

The afternoon, however, was incredible! We wandered around for lunch and found an awesome bar. Don’t worry bars are cafes in Italy. We got to eat on the side of a fountain. Unbelievable.

Then we went to the Colosseum! I don’t even know how to describe the experience. No pictures prepared me for how huge it is. It was SO cool. After that we headed to the Forum. Also awesome. I love all of the old buildings. It is so fun to think that I have walked where Caesar walked.

Thursday, August 30:
We started in the day at the Capitoline Museums. Renaissance era buildings + a piazza designed by Michelangelo + a gorgeous view + a collection of some of the world’s most famous artifacts = heaven. I could have stayed there forever. It was so inspiring. All of the art is just so detailed.

In the afternoon we headed off to the Pantheon. The old Pagan church has now been converted into a Catholic church. It is stunning. Although I am learning that everything in Italy is gorgeous. The dome of the church is open to the elements. I really want to be in there when it rains! After the Pantheon we headed to the Baths of Caracalla. They are the ruins of some Ancient Roman thermal baths. They were so awesome and fairly untouristy. There were mosaics from 2,000 years ago and they were still beautiful.

Friday, August 31:
The day I have been looking forward to forever, St. Peter’s and the Vatican. Gah!

We started with St. Peter’s in the morning. That church is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. That is really saying something after the last few days. I had been looking forward to the Pieta since realizing that it was in St. Peter’s. It is a Michelangelo statue depicting Mary holding a crucified Christ. It is breathtaking and in person it is so moving. I cried. I really want to go to mass in St. Peter’s, but we think you need tickets to do so.

In the afternoon we wandered around that area of Rome to find lunch. We ended up in Rome where I purchased the best sandwich I have ever had. After lunch we went to the Vatican Museums. They are so full of interesting artifacts, more than you could ever take in. The Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel were the highlights. The Sistine Chapel is gorgeous. Even if it is studded by shouts of “Shh! No Photo!”

Saturday, September 1:
We went on a side trip to a small town called Tivoli to see the gardens at the Villa D’Este. I loved Tivoli! The people were so much friendlier and they actually spoke to me in Italian. The town was gorgeous and the villa was beyond description. We wandered the gardens for hours and just enjoyed the scenery. Well not only that. We also creeped on a wedding photo shoot and did a little (ok a lot) of posing of our own.

Sunday, September 2:
Today was a much needed rest. I cannot remember a time where I have been so tired, mentally and physically. We have walked so much that my back hurts. Didn’t know that happened!

Church today was phenomenal. The Italian members are so passionate about the gospel. I was very impressed by the teenage boys. They we so reverent and gave incredibly insightful answers. That does not happen back home.

This has been one of the best weeks of my life! Ciao amici!

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