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Romeing ‘Round Rome Dec 1

December 10, 2012

So I recently got back from a 5 day, 4 night stay at Rome. I went with my, well um, you see its kinda like, a domestic partnership? How can you can a girl a girlfriend, if the titles never established? Yet at the same time, thats what she is to me. Her name is Tegan.

She’s a study abroad from the Webster St. Louis campus (and as a refresher, I am at the Leiden, Netherlands Webster campus). To give you an idea, she is the type of girl who falls backwards into a canal, gets robbed on the way out, but had a good friend jump in after her (it wasn’t me I wasn’t there). Yes, she does like to tell that story too. 

So given the opportunity we have in Europe to travel, and given the fact that this girl is awesome, we planned a trip for the two of us to Rome, Italy.

Rome is easy to navigate, once you realize where everything is. For this reason I strongly suggest a map there, because before your knowledge of the subway system is started, it can be a pain in the area just below the lower back. This is because there roads are old. Before the grid system of towns was established, and you could walk around in circles before actually making any progress. So the first few hours was slightly frustrating. But the rest of the trip was…

Have you ever seen an old building and thought it looked strange with all the contemporary objects surrounding it? Its like surreal, “this feels like a google image blown up 500 times in front of my face” feeling. Well that was like the whole trip. Especially starting with the Colosseum. It was stop number 1 for us, and the station stop is called colosseum for a good reason. Once you step 1 foot outside the subway staircase, this monstrous old piece of architecture is staring you in the face. Once I picked my jaw up from the ground i burst into laugher at all the smart cars filling the road ways around it. So we cross the street and head on in.

Image

Classy, I know.

 

This would be the only major stop of day one, because we knew that there would be 2 more full days, and that morning we had a late start. We did walk around the Forum directly in front of the colosseum afterwards however. We ended the night with some dinner and a movie, watching Angels and Demons, because of its appropriate film location.

Oh, and before I forget, we had the nicest Italian mother-like host at our B&B. She offered us another night free, (we think- there was a large language barrier). But regardless, she made us coffee the morning we left, even though for the fourth morning in a row, we missed breakfast. Its vacation. I am going to sleep in. Who ends breakfast at 10? Whatever. It was still an awesome stay! 

Day 2! We planned on seeing a castle, the one in Angles in Demons, and then the Pantheon. So we make it out to the castle by about 2 and walked around it for a good hour and a half. Then things got interesting. Leaving there, we found out that the Vatican would be closed tomorrow, given that its Sunday. So we went down to the Vatican directly after. As it turns out it wasn’t opening till 4, and with 40 minutes to kill, we got some lunch.

Leaving there we were unsure as to why there was a line forming in St. Peters square, but our hunger got the best of us and we ignored it. Upon returning we notice the line several thousand people longer and still growing. We hop on the band wagon. Five minutes later, a security man walking the outside of the line announces to us that there, “ARE NO MORE TICKETS LEFT!” What! I was going to be so, irked (trying to keep talking about the Vatican PG) considering it was going to be closed tomorrow too. But then, as if a miricle by god, I notice a small man with yellow papers and he seems to be offering out. I made myself known real quick, snagging up both extra tickets he had. Tickets to what you ask?

Well just so happens that about once a month the Sistine chapel opens its doors to the public for a special mass ceremony with a special guest, The Freakin’ Pope man. My only regret was not capturing the look on Tegans face, completely overwhelmed by the majestic nature of the chapel and presence of the pope. It was I dare say, glorious. 

 

Day three, our final touristy day we set two things one the adgenda, the first being the Trevi  Fountain. It was pretty cool, but super touristy. Which is surprising because we went during a very non-tourist time, the start of december. Still it was difficult to get a clear shot of ones-self posed in front of it. Cool, but moving on…

To the Pantheon. The oldest non-reinforced structure of Rome. With an unknown architect this magnificent construction is a modern day mystery. In person there is a large arc type structure on top of its square base. The stranger than fiction part is that the center of the arc/dome, is hollow.The an empty space makes its dome stability very confusing to figure out. I’ll admit it, I was impressed.

Leaving the pantheon, we decided to go see what was the closest next feature of rome, the square of four fountains. It would seem as though fate had it in for us again because it just so happened to be the location of the Rome christmas market. There was food, we had donuts and nutella; there were games, I played an airsoft shooting game (won Tegan a 14-ball key chain- oh yeahh brownie points 😉 ); and there were gifts everywhere, got a few trinkets myself.

After circling the place for a a bit we found a comfy spot to photo-bomb the tourist. Stilling on the less popular side of the center fountain we had many picture victims. The best, in my opinion came when a man tried to take a picture of his girlfriend. Tegan and I sat in the background and I three, I raised my hand high in the air and she gave scared eyes, like a domestic dispute. It didn’t take them long to pick us out of the background. So he asked me to take a picture of the two of them. I did, laughing the whole time.

Next we found a place to eat. We got the Tourist deal 2, at a small restaurant near the pantheon. It came with a bottle of wine and two course meal for both of us for a set price of 24 euros (Steal!). THREE hours later, we left and stopped at a wine store where one of the employees was excited to give us free samples, of everything! Feeling buzzed, we decided we had to buy something from them. Yet while at the ATM we had a change of heart, but felt we should tell them “thanks anyway” considering they got us drunk for free. So we did. And it took no more than about 20 seconds. However, I think we pissed off the same universe force that got us into the Vatican and  by the time we stepped outside, a downpour commenced.

Umbrellaless, we burst into laugher, thinking of course, we deserve this for not buying the bottle of wine. But you know, when in Rome… So we start jogging in the rain back toward the station. And on our way we must have encountered 15 or 20 umbrella dealers. But it was too much fun to blow past the very eager street dealers and instead blatantly ask  “Does anyone know where I can find a 3-euro umbrella!?” Good times.

It was awesome in the same way the DMV isn’t.

 

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