Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rome If You Want To.....

Rome, Italy 6-18-11 and 6-19-11

Rome Day 1
I am finally here in Rome. I have dreamt about coming here since I was a little girl, and it is so great to finally be here. Too bad I am SICK. Dang allergies. I have no problems at home with allergies, but my body has decided that it doesn’t agree with the pollen combination here in Europe. Seriously? SO not cool. Oh well. 
Today was such a full day! We took a train and the metro into the city, and when leaving the metro station, the first thing we see...the colosseum! In all of its ancient glory. It is quite impressive up close. We had to pay to get inside the Colosseum, but I was lucky to have Iva with me, because she got us the European Union discount for both tickets.  So, for the day, I was a member of the European Union. The Colosseum was quite impressive! All I could think about when I was on the inside was the movie “Jumper”. If you have seen that movie, you know why I was thinking about it. There was an awesome fight scene filmed in the Colosseum for that movie. Anyways, they did something really cool while we were there. They were preparing for some sort of concert  that was going to be taking place that evening inside the colosseum, and in order to check the acoustics, they had everyone scream as loud and they could all at once. It was hilarious! I got a video of it, too. Now if only I could figure out how to post videos on here.  Moving on...
Next we made our way through the ruins of the Roman Forum, which was really neat. The Old City, which is nothing but old rocks scattered about, and the occasional structure, was much smaller than the current size of the city. I expected Ancient Rome to be much larger than what it was. After the Roman Forum we went to a cathedral (another one...there are so many in Europe), and after that we went to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is really cool! I had studied it in humanities and history classes, but it was way cooler in person, obviously. The whole in the roof lets in a stream of light that moves around the circular room as the sun changes positions throughout the day. Whats neat is that the walls on the inside are intricately decorated, some of them memorials to past Caesars or other important historical figures, and as the spotlight moves, it illuminates different murals and memorials throughout the day. Quite nifty to see. 
After the Pantheon we went to see the Trevi Fountain, which is extremely impressive in person. It is much larger than I though it to be, and it is attached to the side of a building (don’t ask what building, cause I have no idea! I stink that the whole history thing...). It was also very crowded with tourists, which was frustrating. I got to make my wish and throw my penny in the fountain, though, which was fun. After we pushed our way out the  piazza where the Trevi Fountain is located, we found a great little ristorante and got some yummy Italian food. Iva got a pizza and I got some more bolognese sauce with a fettucini-type noodle. Delicious! 
As we made our way back to the metro station, we stopped by the Spanish Stairs, and to our pleasant surprise, there was a theater group on them, practicing for some sort of Opera performance. It was the coolest thing to watch them. The lead singers had beautiful voices, and one performance gave me chills it was so good. I wish we could have been there for the actual performance. It looked like a neat play. It was a great end to a wonderful first day in the lovely city of Rome. Tomorrow, the Vatican! 
Rome Day 2
So, Rome day two consisted mainly of touring Vatican City. Did you know that Vatican City is actually its own country? I didn’t! I guess I should pay more attention to the things of the Catholic side of my faith, because my agnostic friend knew a bit more than I did about the different Catholic relics and such. Fail on my part. 
We began our Vatican tour standing in a VERY long line to get into St. Peter’s Basilica.  It was free to see the inside of the cathedral, and it was very beautiful. Everything was ornate and colorful, and there was gold everywhere. If they were to sell that cathedral, I would think the catholic church could end world hunger. But, I wont go into that. We ended up paying to be able to go up to the Cupola of the cathedral, and the views of Rome from the top were breathtaking. As was the climb to the top...hundreds upon hundreds of never-ending stairs. My glutes were screaming in protest by the end. My fear of heights was also tested quite a bit, but I survived! We got some great pictures of the entire city of Rome from the top, though, so it was well worth the pain.  
We took a lunch break after spending a good couple of hours in the Vatican. Our lunch was HUGE! The pizza was a very large pizza, and our meal came with bruschette, fries, and a drink. The bruschette was fantastic, as was everything else. I was stuffed full after eating as much as I could have of that meal. Since we are on a sort of two-meals-a-day diet (breakfast + one other meal...for our budgets’ sake), I am finding that I cannot fit as much as I used to in my stomach. Oh well, I’m sure that will be a good thing in the long run.  
After our lunch break, we went to this castle which is where it is said that a miracle happened. According to the story, the Pope at the time of the plague had a vision on the spot where the castle now stands of the arch angel Michael putting his sword back in its sheath, and the plague ended right after he had that vision. So, as anyone with as much power as a pope would do, he built a castle to commemorate that event. Right across from this castle is a bridge that had tons of great statues of saints and angels and such along it. It’s a beautiful bridge. Funny thing; at the end of this bridge was a couple who was just married. They were there with photographers, doing their wedding photos, I assume. It was neat to see! I’m sure those photos turned out great, especially with the background of Rome. 
On the way back to the metro station, we saw a British magician putting on a show in the middle of a piazza. He was all chained up, like Houdini, and we didn’t stick around long enough to see if he got out of them or not. As we came up to the next piazza, there was a pair of matching cathedrals, which was interesting. Symmetrically, this piazza was quite even. Made for great pictures. 
Once we got back to our hotel, I went to sleep. I haven’t been feeling too great since yesterday. I have had allergies since I got to Europe, and I hope they aren’t turning into a cold or sinus infection. Oh goodness, that would totally ruin my trip! Anywho, tomorrow we are leaving Roma, and headed for Florence! 

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