Saturday, May 12, 2012

ATWABA: three days in Rome.

...crossing oceans, covering ground... come on along we're going around the world and back again...

"woke up early to catch the train to Rome... on our way to Ostia, an ancient Roman port, which is now not more than ruins."

"it is where we have to go as a substitute for Pompeii because our group was too small for that tour option."

"the tour of Ostia was pretty neat... its crazy to think that entire towns could exist and be entirely forgotten over time."

in the water cistern 

thousands of years old brick 

 "Monday morning was an early start for a full day. we started out at the Colosseum, which is just wild to see in person, and to see how very big it was."

"...our guide, Louisa, walked us through the Roman Forum, which used to be the very center of Rome."

"...we caught a bus towards Vatican city for lunch."

"we passed the Swiss guards and crossed St. Peters square. the line to get in was really long, and filled with angry people who did not have reservations (like we did) and had been waiting in line since early that morning, or even the day before. At one point our group got stopped by an angry old man in a blue and white striped shirt who would NOT let us past him on the sidewalk. Words were exchanged, one kid got punched in the stomach, and we ended up having to jump the fence and walk the rest of the way on the street."

"the museums themselves were kind of cool, as far as museums go."

"my favorite part by FAR was the Sistene Chapel. It (like everything else) was full of people, (who were taking pictures even though all the signs and people said NOT to) but i could have sat in there staring at the ceiling for hours."

"from there we moved into St. Peters Basilica, which is the largest Catholic church in the world... you lose all sense of size and proportion in there."

"they also have a body of an old Pope which apparently didnt decay after he died, so they put him in a glass coffin, with a brass mask on his face to hide the fact that his skin was blackened. ick."

"on our way to dinner we stopped at the Spanish Steps. young people in Rome like to hang out there."

"we got targeted by some street vendors who tried to sell us some lame bracelets for 5 euro, and were upset when we told them we didnt have any money."

"after dinner we went to see the Trevi Fountain and make our wishes and throw in our coins. the fountain is massive, and was packed with people, but it was beautiful at night."

"tuesday... was a holiday in Rome, so a lot of things were closed, which is why monday was so full of things to see and do."

"the first place we went was the Pantheon. we weren't able to go inside, but i did get to peek through the crack in the door to see the dome and the oculus, which was bigger than i imagined."

"...Ciaran took us on a walking tour around the area. we saw some Roman Ruins that are being excavated that he calls Catsville because all the stray cats live there. we also walked through the Jewish ghetto and past the Capital building."

"the maritime prison, where Peter and Paul were in jail, was not running tours on a timetable that worked for us, so we didnt go inside."

"we went to a square with an open air market for lunch... we spent some free time wandering around the square and the surrounding streets. it had been warm and sunny all morning, but after lunch it started to rain a bit.."

"...we went to a gelateria to see a demonstration of making homemade gelato, and of course to eat some! i had a scoop of sage w/ raspberry, a scoop of hazelnut, and a scoop of some sort of Italian chocolate kind of like a truffle... and it was SO good."

"...we waited out some rain in a little church that had a statue of a saint that looked just like ObiWan."

"more walking... to see the Mouth of Truth, which will apparently (supposedly) mash your fingers if you tell a lie with your hand in its mouth. really it was just an ancient drain cover."

"we also stopped at the Circus Maximus, or 'big circle' which is where they used to hold chariot races..."

"we spent our evening wandering a large square filled with fountains, performers, and mostly local artists... spraypaint artists, and an acrobatics show... we bought a watercolor painting of the Spanish Steps, because it was Mark's favorite of all the paintings."

"the most strenuous part of the day was the WALK back to the hotel. apparently the busses stopped running early, so we had a 45 minute walk across town. i thought my feet were going to fall off, my heels hurt so badly."

"it was the perfect end to the trip, having an entire day to wander the city, without a schedule to keep, and just enjoy the surprises of the city. it seemed like around every corner was something interesting, or beautiful, or historic, or all of those things. i enjoyed touring the city this way more than the crowded tours we were on for the first 2 days in Rome."

"... i thought we couldnt possibly see more of Rome after spending 3 days there just non-stop sight-seeing. turns out i was wrong. on the bus ride to the airport, we saw a portion of the aqueducts, the old city wall, and the steps that Jesus supposedly walked up to Pilate's place during Holy Week. we just drove past in the bus, so i didnt get pictures of these things..."

"we took off over the Mediterranean Sea, and i took some pictures of the coast as we flew away..."

" made me wish that we could have had a few more days in Rome, which is funny because i didnt necessarily enjoy the first 2 days. i guess Rome is a city that has to grow in you a little, with its ancient ruins mixed in among everything else, its crowded busses, its two whole metro lines, its cobblestone streets, and angry italians."

after the first day in Rome that we spent in Ostia, and the second day we spent practically running from place to place and literally fighting our way through crowds of angry tourists, compounded with my first not-so-great day in Venice, i was starting to be a little unsure how i felt about Italy as a whole. i might have even been secretly wishing that i could just go back to France, where i had grown comfortable, picked up a few more words, and where they had better croissants with breakfast. luckily for Italy, we had that one last day in Rome with not a lot scheduled.

i should have remembered that it just takes me a little while to warm up to new ideas and places. i should have realized that all of the quick-paced traveling and sight-seeing and country-hopping were not doing me any favors when it came to my desire to feel settled and comfortable. but that last, mostly-unstructured, relatively relaxing day in Rome won me over. i was hooked. i couldnt get enough of Rome. i was sad to see it go, as i realized that for as many things as we crammed into our days, there were still many more things we hadnt even come close to having enough time (or energy) to see.

"i would go back, but not without someone who speaks italian..."

no tellin' where we're going next... around the world and back again.

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