Archive | July, 2011

Day 33: July 23, 2011: Heading Home –sorry no pictures

23 Jul

The alarm went off at 7:30am, I rolled over thought about what I had to do and realized I didn’t need an hour and 15 minutes…so I snoozed the alarm to 8…but didn’t sleep too well…anxious about leaving and not wanting to sleep through my alarm and miss the flight…can’t have that! So I got up a few minutes before 8. Got dressed, made my bed, packed up my backpack carryon, finished the last minute things I had to finished and put my keys on the kitchen table…this is real…I’m actually leaving Italy. The place I have dreamed of coming to ever since I was a little girl, the one place in the world that has always drawn me for whatever reason…and here I am just spent the last month living in this beyond amazing place, so ready to go home and so ready to stay! Such a weird feeling…I had more time to kill before having to leave, so I just laid on my bed for a few more minutes and then it was 8:40…time to wake the girls up to say goodbye and get down the stairs with my lovely luggage. The girls got up and walked me down the stairs, they helped with my luggage. We got to the bottom of the stairs and realized this is where we say goodbye and see you later…whenever that will be, hopefully sooner than a year from now but who knows. As we hugged each other, we teared up. I couldn’t have asked for better roommates in a better place. I knew I would find some awesome people on this trip but not people like this…we became instant friends and hit it off. Richmond knew exactly what they were doing when they paired us together. But the fact that I teared up saying goodbye to these 3 girls that I have only known for a month, only reminds me that less than 6 months from now, I will be saying goodbye and see you later to my best friends. Best friends who I’ve known for 4 years now and have shared so much of my life with. I’m going to be a bigger mess than what I think I’m going to be. But that’s still some months away so can’t think too much about that. So the girls and I said our goodbyes, and I walked down the road by myself. I walked down the cobblestone streets with my luggage…very difficult, especially since I’m worried about the glass/fragile souvenirs I’m bringing home …I really hope they make it! I got on the tram, rode it to Largo Argentina and got on the 40 bus. Avoiding the H bus. I hate that thing with I have the support of my girls…no way I’m dealing with that by myself. Got on the bus, and of course the city’s doing bus pass checks…and who gets asked for her pass, yup me. So I go to my wallet to get it out…and I can’t find it. I start freaking out…it’s been there all month. It’s my last day I’m an hour away from leaving Rome and a few hours from leaving Italy all together…I seriously can’t get stuck with a damn 50euro fine because I’ve lost my bus pass on the last damn day. I look in my clutch…which is in my suitcase, so I have to lay it on the floor and dig through that to find my clutch, thank God it’s on top so not too much digging, but still the bus is moving! I look in my clutch…nope not in there. So I look at the man (while all the people on the bus are staring at me) and tell him I have no idea where it is, I seriously want to cry. He asks to see my passport, so I go back into my wallet and pull out my passport and as I do my bus pass falls out with it. THANK GOD! The man says thank you and moves on to another person…but the other guy who was the one who was actually going to write my ticket just stands there and stares at me for about 10 minutes…Is there something I can help you with sir? Ugh. I just want to get to the airport. I get to Termini, get to McD’s, where I’m meeting the boys…at 9:15, it’s 9:20 so hopefully they’re already there. Nope, I spent the next hour and ten minutes waiting for them to show up, they never did. And of course my phone ran out of minutes so I have no way of contacting them to see where they are. So I wait as long as possible but then I need to worry about myself, if they miss the flight that’s their fault. But I’m not missing it because I was waiting for them. So I buy my ticket and go to the train. I get in the train and realize there are no more seats…so I get to stand here for the next 30 minutes. I just want to be home! So for the next 30 minutes I stand and read my book. Fortunately it goes by pretty quickly. But there’s this little boy and I’m so jealous of him…1 he’s got a seat, 2 he’s got a juice box of peach juice, 3 he’s traveling with his mommy. I just want my Mommy! We get to the airport, I find the British Airways check in kiosk, thank God I checked in last night, I don’t waste anytime waiting. I get my boarding pass and my bag checked in and go through security. Italy’s security is like nothing. I didn’t even have to take off my shoes. It was awesome! I get through security and go through the longest weave through of hallways and people and escalators and what not and finally find my gate. Alyssa is there and so many other people from the trip…finally I feel comfortable again. I know people around me. I hate traveling alone. I leave my bags with Alyssa and grab some food…it’s almost 12 and I haven’t eaten anything. I’m hot, sweaty, annoyed with people, I just want to be home and hungry. I’m not a happy camper. I grab a caprese baguette, some sour cream and onion Pringles(finally I’ve spent days looking for some and I swear Italy must have had drought on sour cream and onion Pringles haha, no one has had them for days). I find Rory at the same food place and ask him what happened to them this morning…they woke up late so they just grabbed a cab and took that to the airport. Annoying. I go back to sit down and eat and Alyssa and Amanda have my stuff not in the gate…our gate has changed…so we find the next gate, fortunately not far. Finally I can sit and eat. We spend about 30 minutes or so waiting and then board the plane. Once on the plane, I sit next to a couple, don’t talk to them or anything. This time I have Lauren next to me across the aisle, and Kerriann, Alyssa and Amanda in the row behind me. Don’t feel as alone as I did on the trip over. I just listen to my ipod and play a game on there for awhile until my ipod dies on me…mid game. So then I just break out my book and read that for the rest of the trip. Not a long flight at all, before we know it we’ve landed at Heathrow and I’m officially no longer in Italy and half way home. Once we land we have to wait about another 30 minutes to wait for the plane to leave our spot where we’ll get off. We’re finally released, and we follow the signs and what not to our gate, having to go through security again, such a pain. One of the security people yelled and I mean yelled at me because I pushed the bins down the line…apparently that’s not allowed. Sorry…but no need to yell just tell me not to do it but whatever. We get through security, find our gate and sit down. I watch the luggage while the girls go grab some Starbucks. They bring me back a caramel frappucino…finally iced coffee the way I know it. Not a cold shot of espresso. It tastes so good! As soon as they bring back the coffees, the buses pull up outside to take us to the plane, so we board the buses and take about a 10-minute ride to the plan. We climb the stairs and find our seats. I’m sitting next to some woman, we don’t talk at all, but behind Lauren, Kerriann and Alyssa. We wait on the plane for about 45 minutes or so and finally take off. Once we’re finally able to watch movies, I watch Just Go With It with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Such a cute movie! I love it!! I recommend it. It’s predictable but really cute and HILARIOUS! I struggled to not laugh out loud at times…can’t do that on a plane, that’s just awkward haha. After the movie, I broke out the computer and am now writing this and listening to my “Leaving Rome” playlist with songs that remind me of the trip…such as What Dream Are Made Of, from the Lizzie McGuire Movie…where she goes to Rome. It was the roomies and mine anthem for the trip so it’s only fitting. I’ll finish the day later once more has happened…but right now we still have about 5 hours on this flight…I hope it goes faster. Maybe I’ll watch another movie. That helps pass the time. I’m just ready to be home. I went on and watched Rango with Johnny Depp, it was a cute movie, a little weird but cute. After that I watched Limitless, which was a very good movie! I really enjoyed it. A good thriller. When Limitless was over, there was about an hour left of the flight, so I just read my book. We finally landed! We got up and got our stuff out of the overhang and then stood there for about 15 minutes. I just want off the plane. Finally we started moving and made it off the plane. We went through customs and got to the baggage claim. We spent about 45 minutes for my bag, and then a woman came through and informed me and about 20 other people that our bags were still in London and would be landing in Philly tomorrow and then would be delivered to our house. But we had to go to BA Customer Service and give them our address to deliever the bags too. So as I headed there I walked past the exit to where the family was standing and jumping up and down and waving…I just wanted to run out and hug them but I couldn’t. I had to go stand in line for another 45 minutes. I finally got to the give the lady my info, and came out and hugged my family! Feels so good to be home. We headed to the car, and went on a hunt for food. It was very difficult trying to get out of Philly airport and find the McD’s that the gps was telling us about. So we gave up and just got on the road and stopped on the road and grabbed food. I got a burger and fries and they were amazing!!! We finally made it home, I gave out my souvenir gifts J And then headed to bed. When everything was all said and done…I figured out I was up for 24 hours and traveling for about 20 of those. It was a very long day!

It’s just crazy the whole thing is over. It feels like a dream, like the entire month didn’t even happen. It’s so weird. I’m glad I’m home, it feels good to be home. But I miss Rome and Italy and everyone there. It was the best time of my life, such an amazing experience where I learned so much. I don’t know if I’ve noticed a difference in myself or if I feel like I’ve learned more about myself. Maybe I’ll figure that out more as more time passes and I’m not freshly home. But studying abroad is something I believe, every person must do! I had an awesome time and can’t wait get back to Italy.

Over all by the end of this journal…you have read and I have typed 62 pages and 42,790 words…hope you enjoyed!! Can’t wait to share more pictures with everyone 🙂 love you all and thanks for going on this journey with me!

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Day 32: July 22, 2011: Last Day in Rome ☹

22 Jul

Got up this morning around 12, my feet are swollen and in so much pain from everything and last night just made them worse. I need a serious pedicure with an amazing foot massage!! Veronica and I went down to Planet Kabob and grabbed some lunch. Got falafels…my last one till I get back to Rome. So sad! But it was perfect! While we ate, we watched You Again on my computer. Such a cute movie. After we ate, I began the lovely packing process. Which is finally finished and got everything to fit, surprisingly. After packing, I just sat around and killed time we got ready to meet up with everyone for our last dinner together on our last night in Rome. So so bittersweet! We walked down to the tram, rode to Largo Argentina and then walked to Via de Corso street. My present for someone is an article of clothing and the lady forgot to take off the security tag, so we walked down that street to find a store to have them take it off…but of course it was after 8 and most stores close at 8…I was starting to worry cause I don’t know how’d that security thing would work going through security and what not…and I’m obviously out of time to get this done…but all of sudden this store popped up out of nowhere, so we walked in and as soon as I walked in I set off their alarm and the register was right there and the lady welcomed us and I told her my dilemma and she helped right away with a smile on her face and everything. I thanked her a ton and we left. Made my day!! We headed back up the street and met up with Deanne, Justine and Tats. We walked to the restaurant. We got there before everyone else but grabbed the table that was reserved for us. And then everyone else showed up. We ordered dinner, I couldn’t decide if I wanted pizza or fettuccine alfredo…Jess told I was going to order the fettucine alfredo, so I did. We waited for a dinner for a while and then it was brought out…I’m so glad Jess told me to order that.

It was awesome! Perfect for my last meal in Italy…for this trip! I’m for sure coming back here the next chance I get. After we finished eating, our waiter brought out two complimentary bottles of champagne since it was our last night here and together. We toasted…not the best toast…a silly one but still fun.

After dinner, we left…walked to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider because on the first night they all took a picture in front of it so it would only make sense to take one on the last night. I would have been in it…but if you remember we had all that issue finding eachother…but fortunately I was in the last one. This group of Italian boys took the picture and according to Veronica the whole time the one was taking the picture was talking about how hot we are. After the picture we walked to Scholars, the girls headed in and then realized they had to actually say goodbye to me…so weird! They came back out and we said our goodbyes…not going to lie I choked up a little bit…not looking forward to saying goodbye to the roommates! And we talked about how we’re gonna see each other again and we’ll make plans to visit…I really hope it actually happens! From there Veronica, Jess and I headed back home. We stopped at the festival in Trestavere; it’s the last night. We walked around there for a little bit, grabbed some gelato from Fuori de Luna…best gelato in Italy!!! It’s amazing! I got chocolate and hazelnut. Amazing! And then we headed back home. It’s so weird…I’m doing all these last things…I don’t like it. It’s really hitting us that this is over…that we’re leaving…so weird. We got back the apartment and just did some stuff around there for a little bit, getting ready to leave in the morning. We looked through the pictures from the night before and got a good laught from a bunch of them and then we grabbed our cameras and some coins and made the half an hour walk to the Trevi Fountain at 1:30am. We stopped along the way and took pictures of the view of the river right by our place where you can see St. Peter’s Dome lit up perfectly…pictures don’t do it justice!

And we continued on and on the way to the Trevi you pass through the Pantheon square which was basically completely deserted…there was about 10 other people.

You never see that place that empty…we got a bunch of pictures there…and it’s just beautiful! Out of everything I have seen and learned about over the past month, that building fascinates me the most. It’s not only gorgeous but all of the little details and cool facts and the fact that it’s almost completely preserved minus the marble on the outside and the bronze on the top on the outside. It’s just so awesome!!! After we took pictures there we continued on and made it to the Trevi. A place that is normally packed full of people to the point you can barely move…now has about 30 people in all in the entire square

…and 10 of them are our friends who just left the bar and came here. 🙂 It was good to see them…and I got to say goodbye to Chris, Kalie and Steve which I didn’t get to do at dinner so that was good. We took some pictures

and enjoyed the lack of people and beauty that is the Trevi at night. And just relished in the fact that this is what we were doing for our last night in Italy, spending it together at the Trevi Fountain. We left the Trevi and walked home. I took a quick shower I wouldn’t have to get up even earlier to shower, and get into bed at about 3:30am…yay for 4 hours of sleep before you travel all day.

Buonasera!

Day 31: July 21, 2011

21 Jul

Got up this morning and figured out plans with Deanne. Read a little bit and the met Deanne and Jenna at the tram stop down the street, we stopped at Planet Kabob and grabbed some lunch…they needed to experience the best Kabobs ever! And came up to the apartment to eat and so they could see my apartment for the first time. After we ate, we met Justine in Piazza Navona and headed to the Spanish Steps are for shopping. We shopped for a little bit and then they got tired and headed home but I still had some shopping to finish. So I took another hour or two and finished up my shopping and then headed home. Once home I met Jess’ mom briefly and then remembered I forgot one person…so I went back out with Triana and Veronica and we shopped for a little bit. I was officially done shopping! Which is good cause I’m very close to being out of euros and I don’t want to go to the ATM. We grabbed some amazing gelato! The best I’ve had so far! Just amazing!!! Perfect!!!

We came back to the apartment and quickly got ready for the farewell dinner. Even though we hurried and we are the closest to the location to the restaurant, we were one of the last people to show up…we were about 10 minutes late. But we got there nonetheless and had dinner. It was a pretty good dinner. Started with bruschetta

then had some mushroom lasagna stuff

and then some sausage and pork roll thing with roasted potatoes

and then an awesome dessert!

Dinner was nice, we just sat and ate and it went by pretty quickly. We didn’t really mingle or say goodbye to other people that we won’t see tomorrow, just talked to eachother. Deanne and I got a picture with Antonella.

I’m really going to miss her. She was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Made class interesting and learning fun and exciting. She was hilarious and a total sweetheart and you can tell she really cares about her students, but has an issue with you if you don’t take your own education seriously and put effort into class. She’s just awesome! I wish all my teachers were like her! After dinner we headed to the Colosseum Metro Stop to meet up with the people in charge of the Pub Crawl. They took us to the first bar, where there was supposed to be unlimited drinks for an hour, and it was unlimited drinks for an hour but they were so weak, about half a shot maybe even less in each drink that was full of the mixer…had about 4 cups and didn’t feel anything…pretty much drank 4 glasses of pineapple juice. But we had fun hanging out with each other. They then moved us to another bar so far from home, close to the city walls.

Here we had to pay for our drinks and they were super expensive, so we didn’t drink anymore. So we spent the night sober, but it was still a lot of fun. We hung out at the 2ndbar for about an hour or so, and then they opened up upstairs outside bar and we went up there for another hour or so.

There we danced and it was a lot of fun. It was about 1 and we went down and picked up our souvenir shirts and then grabbed some hotdogs from the stand since we were hungry.

We waited for a taxi but one never showed up, so we decided to walk to the bus stop. As we walked, we found a taxi and 4 people in the group got in that cab and 9 of us left headed for the bus. We figured that the bus would take us to Piazza Navona, which is decently close to the school and then from there we would get a cab or walk home. We waited for the bus for about half an hour and then it finally showed up. We rode it to the Piazza but we understood that it would get us even closer than where we were already, so when the driver stopped the bus to take a break we just stayed on until he left again and would get us closer making our walk home shorter. We spent about 30 minutes sitting on the bus. While on the bus, Ursi saw a puppy in back in the bus lying there. She went up and petted him, turns out he’s dying. HEART-BREAKING! His owners, who were passed out on the bus as well in the back, are homeless and can’t afford to feed the dog, so he’s slowly withering away. Ursi and another guy on the bus gave the puppy some water that I had and some chips that he found. I just can’t do it. It breaks my heart!!! Finally the bus started to leave and as he drove he went in the opposite direction of where we thought we were going. So after about 10 minutes of confusion, Veronica (again, thank God she’s fluent in Italian) asked the driver where we were going…turns out we were on our way to Ostia and if we stayed on the bus we wouldn’t be back in Rome for another 3 hours or so…it’s already 2am…so at the next stop we got off the bus immediately and he told us to cross the street and go to the bus stop and get on the N8 bus. So we did and realized we were in the middle of nowhere. I noticed that about 5 minutes before he dropped us off we had past St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was about a 30-minute bus ride from close to school when we visited it during class one day. So we knew we were a decent ways out of the city. No where near the heart of Rome, or any life,  or anywhere we knew. It was creepy. (I know you’re all dying right now, but we were all together, 8 of us, Chris was with us, and I’m home safe writing this) While we stood there waiting, we got cold, so we just put on our new t-shirts.

We noticed that above us was a crane and on the crane was a bunch of birds! Jess said “if one of those birds poops I’m me I’m going to kill someone”…about 5 minutes later I turned around and on her shirt was a drop of poop. Everyone lost it at that point. The breaking point where all you have left to do about a situation is die laughing. And that’s exactly what we did. Jess screamed and freaked a little while we laughed and asked who she was going to kill…hilarious! And that just doesn’t even begin to explain how hard we were laughing. Danielle had the genius plan to call Lydia and get taxi’s numbers. So we got some numbers and (again, thank God Veronica speaks Italian) she called the numbers and called for a taxi. He was there in about 2 minutes, but sadly could only fit 4 people in the cab. So Danielle was feeling very sick, so she got in, Ursi and Chris were drunk, so no way we’re leaving them here alone and Diamond and Danielle live together so it just makes sense for them to go together. And it just made sense for Veronica, Triana, Jess and I to stay together and it helps with Veronica’s Italian, she could call another taxi and get us home. So the 4 of them left and we called another taxi. Then the same company told us, they don’t have any taxis in our area and they wouldn’t be for a while. But she’d call when one was on their way. We stood there for another few minutes and then decided walking was really our only option at this point. So we started walking. Exhausted and our feet were killing us, just the 4 of us, out in “bum-fuck Rome” as Jess put it…which describes it perfectly. Fortunately I had visited St. Paul’s so I knew we had to walk past that to get back Rome. So we walked. We walked about 20 minutes or so, once we passed St. Paul’s we stopped and Veronica called the taxi place and they didn’t pick up. We just wanted to be home in our beds and not in this creepy place. We’re too nice of people, we’d given up 2 sets of cabs. We saw a few cabs drive by but none had their lights on or stopped when we tried waving them done. So we started walking again, about 5 minutes up the road we saw a cab with his light on and we waved and he immediately turned and picked us up! A God send! Turns out it was the same guy who took Danielle, Diamond, Ursi and Chris home. He came back to get us. He took us back home, we walked to the apartment and crashed! We finally got home at 3:45. Took us about 2 hours, close to three to get home…God seriously took serious care of us throughout the whole thing. So many horrible things could have happened but he took care of us. I made sure I prayed and thanked and everything 🙂

Buonasera!

Day 30: July 20, 2011

20 Jul

Woke up this morning around 12…since we had such a late evening. I got showered and met Deanne at school. We attempted to briefly study and then grabbed lunch at In’Salante. I got a yummy salad with apples, walnuts, slices of beef, and honey. So good! Sadly again forgot to take a picture of it…sorry guys! After lunch, we went back to school and sat there, I figured out our Pub Crawl plans for Thursday night and then attempted to study more. Before we knew it it was 4:45 and we headed to class. The final took about 30 minutes to take and was very easy. I answered every question, only one I didn’t completely answer couldn’t remember all of Mussolini’s plans for Rome, could only remember all of his plans for Italy. But still put what I could remember down. It’s crazy to think that the class is over! That’s it. Which means I’m only in Rome for two more days and then back to America. Apart of me feels like I just got here but at the same time feels like we’ve been here forever. And as much as I am ready to go home…I’m just as much not ready to yet. I love this place! I know as soon as we leave I’m going to miss it so badly! Where did the time go. This whole trip flew by. I knew it would but still…jeezz! This just hit me how it’s over. I have one more night out with these people and two more dinners with them and then who knows who I’ll see again, even though I’ve become very good close friends with some of them. I’m going to miss them, especially my roommates and Deanne. They’re the ones I’m closest too. Weird! Anyways after the test, Deanne and I went to her apartment and just killed time there till I had plans to meet up with the roommates for dinner at 7 and she had plans to meet up with Jenna then too. We left around 6:30 and Deanne and Tats grabbed dinner, so I just continued on back to school where I was going to meet them and just killed time on the computer at the lab. At around 7:10, one of the staff members came in and started shutting the lab down, so I went outside to wait for the girls. Finally Veronica walked up. She didn’t know where Jess was and Triana would meet up later after her homemade pasta making class. We went to this Argentina place right next to school. I got a stewed beef with corn, potatoes, tomatoes and onions and a plate of French fries.

It was fantastic! We placed our order and a few minutes Triana came in. We ate dinner and then left and walked to the best gelato place again and I got banana and watermelon!

Both flavors tasted identical to the actual fruit! So freakin good!!!  We then just headed back to the apartment, met up with Jess—she was with her mom, who got into town earlier today. And the 4 of us just hung around the apartment for the rest of the night. The girls had studying to do since they all have finals tomorrow and what not. Then off to bed it is.

Buonasera!

Day 29: July 19, 2011

19 Jul

Got up this morning around 11 or so. I got up got showered and dressed and what not. And then met up with Veronica at school and we went on a hunt for a Chinese restaurant that took our tickets. There was one on the list of places that takes our tickets, so we headed there. Once we found the Pantheon…somehow managed to get lost even though we’ve been there a million times. So once we finally found the Pantheon, we hunted for the Chinese place but it was nowhere to be found. So we just at the place with the awesome Strawberry wine. We sat down at the table we were told to sit at, but it didn’t have any place settings or silverware, the when the waiter brought it over he grabbed Veronica’s hand and put it down on top of the placemat…I’m guessing so it wouldn’t blow away, and then he did the same thing with me. He then took our orders, and grabbed my hand and pressed it against his chest and said “Thank you”. We knew right there lunch was about to get weird. When he brought out our salad, he put it down on the table and then went around the table passing by me, he put some oil and stuff down on the other side of the table and then had to pass by me again, as he passed he stopped behind me and gave me like a 30 second shoulder massage…We ate our salad and when that was finished or about finished he brought out my lunch, spaghetti with cheese and pepper (always a very good classic and spicy meal!–sadly dont have a pic of it…first real meal i havent taken a picture of…sorry guys) And as he placed my plate down, he pushed some of my hair back behind my shoulder and walked away. A few minutes later he brought out Veronica’s meal and ran away. He brought out lasagna, but she ordered penne with spicy sauce…she can’t eat lasagna…she’s allergic to meat. So she was able to call over another waiter and told him…he was very confused how you could confuse the two dishes and said he would let our waiter know. A few minutes later our waiter comes out and picks up a cayenne pepper shaker that was sitting on our table and told her to just sprinkle that on the lasagna…it’ll be spicy then…she then told him she cant eat meat. So he took back the lasagna and a little bit later brought back the correct dish. We finished our meal and some other guy came out and collected our dishes and we asked him for our bill. A few minutes later he came out carrying two plates of cantaloupe…something we didn’t order. He then gave us our bill but it confused us, so we called our waiter over and asked him to explain it but he just called the other guy over who explained it to Veronica. And while the other waiter explained it to Veronica, our waiter was in the process of cutting up my cantaloupe, putting it on a fork and putting it my face…so he could feed me. I just lost it at that point and began laughing hysterically, I looked over at the table next to us with two American boys and one of them just said, “it’s good.” And laughed awkwardly. I just grabbed the fork from our waiter’s hand (since it was determined that we weren’t being charged for it) and ate it. Our waiter was very offended and just walked away. We ate some more and finished paying, talked to the American boys and then left. As we were leaving, our waiter was standing there and grabbed my arm and pulled me in and kissed my cheek and said Ciao! The whole lunch situation was very interesting and awkward…just let me eat my lunch without being harassed and touched please. Veronica and I walked to Largo Argentina, where she left and went to class and I met up with Deanne and she and I walked to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for class.

We walked around the Tomb and through the museum, took about 30 minutes or so. Got to see a beautiful view of Rome.

The building is sooo big! And grand and beautiful! But the Romans hate it because the architecture doesn’t fit the rest of Rome and they used all marble, which is very white so it really stands out against the travertine buildings. The horse on the front is so big, that before they put the head on..21 men ate dinner in it.

But it def doesn’t look big enough for that to have happened…but apparently it did…

From there we walked to where Emperor Augustus’ memorial alter was found. The alter is called the Ara Pacis of Augustae which means Peace Alter in honor of his 28 year reign with not a single war in it. Side note: After 9/11, the Romans made an exact replica of the alter, and sent it to America as a sign of hope and peace. It’ll be displayed at Ground Zero once it’s completed. The spot where it was found, is now full of coffee shops and other stores…when Mussolini’s people discovered it during construction, he had it moved to where Augustus’ tomb is. As we walked to the next location, we passed by the best gelato spot in Italy, Antonella let us stop and go in and get some gelato. So I got the same thing as last time, oreo and chocolate chip…just so good! Again so very messy, it dripped all over me. It was on my leg and my foot it got so messy. We then walked to the tomb and the Alter. The Alter is now inside of a museum, which was built in 2007 by an American architect, Richard Meyer. We didn’t go into the museum just saw it from the outside. But it looks beautiful and huge. From here we headed back to the classroom and spent the rest of class time reviewing for the final tomorrow. After class I headed home and met up with Jess and Veronica. We went to dinner at the Spaghetteria. My choice of spaghetti was a tomato creamy sauce with salmon in it…SOOO GOOODD!!

We just sat there for awhile. And then it started to rain, so we got some dessert, in hopes to sit out the rain. I got tiramisu…and it was not tiramisu. It wasn’t good at all. So I didn’t eat any of it. When it was time to leave, it was still sprinkling some, but we just headed back to the apartment. Before it started raining we were thinking about going out, but then we decided that we were just going to stay in. When we got to the apartment, Triana again changed out mind and Veronica and I went out with Triana. Sadly Jess had to stay to finish a project due tomorrow morning. The three of us met up with Danielle, Lydia and April and grabbed a drink at this place by our place and then walked to Scholars. It wasn’t raining anymore so we didn’t mind at all. We got to Scholars and it was PACKED!

We went in and got our drink…which took forever. They’re very slow at serving people here, especially for how busy we are. At home, they’re so fast and get you in and out very fast…not here. So once we finally got our drinks…we went to our friends and Ursi was talking to this guy…turns out it was the kid that kissed me on 4th of July. Jenna asked him if he remembered me…he didn’t…she asked if he remembered 4th of July…he didn’t. Then looked at me and asked what happened…I said…you made out with me…he just laughed and was like well you’re very pretty so I’m glad I made out with you haha. We talked for awhile and then our group decided we were going to go to Nag’s Head another bar up the street that’s not as crowded and you can dance. Brendan said he’d meet up there and then looked at me and was like “so how do I do this…do I kiss you goodbye?” I told him “no you don’t need to do that.” So he just kissed my cheek and left. We headed to the next bar and he was there, we hung out there and danced and then kissed a little. He left at some point and the rest of the night, we just danced with each other and had an awesome time! We then walked home and crashed!

Buonasera!

Day 28: July 18,2011: Evening Adventures

18 Jul

I got up this morning to the loud noisy cicadas. Lovely. Since I will still out of it but couldn’t really sleep and had about two hours to kill till I had plans to meet Veronica I just laid in bed and read my book. It’s really good and getting to the point where I don’t really want to put it down. I eventually got up and got dressed and ready and then waited a few extra minutes for Jess to be ready and then the two of us left. We went to the grocery store and I grabbed some Pringles, sour cream and onion of course. And then we went to Plant Kabob, right next door and I got myself a kabob and got Veronica a falafel. Jess also got a kabob…her first from Planet Kabob…but her second kabob in Italy. Her first was from that place right across the street from school…so she was in for a real treat with this kabob! And later on she did say how much more she enjoyed it and the one by school really does suck! From there we headed to school, where I met up with Veronica in the lab and we ate our scrumptious lunches and then I sat on the computer, using the schools super fast internet (I had 4 tabs open at once and they were all working perfectly…o how I’ve missed fast wifi!) I just hung out there, uploading blogs (got all caught up on those) and uploading pictures to Facebook…finally uploaded a day or two past Florence haha. I’ll eventually get all of them up. At 4:30ish, Deanne and I headed to class since it didn’t start today till 4:50. Antonella had some tour again, so she pushed class back. Today we discussed the unification of Italy and Mussolini. Learned a lot. The stuff about Mussolini is probably the more interesting of the discussions. He actually  had a lot of good ideas and plans and did a lot to help Italy…until he went crazy and joined forces with Hitler. But up until then he did a lot. For example, he got rid of all the marsh lands and made them agriculture lands, the marsh lands created mosquitoes with malaria and so as a result there was a high rate of death due to malaria. So getting rid of the marshlands significantly dropped this number and by replacing it with farmlands he made Italy self-sufficient in fruits and vegetables and it still is today. He also built roads and towns throughout Italy, expanding it as a country instead of just Florence and Rome as the main city centers full of people. He also made education mandatory from ages 6-14, you couldn’t just work, you actually had to go to school and get an education. He built the first University for Italy—La Sapienza which means knowledge in Italian. And encouraged digs and preserved already discovered ancient ruins, such as the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia and Largo Argentina. He did do something that I’m not in agreement with and it was a treaty with the Pope/Vatican. Before his rule, the Church and the Government didn’t get along at all, to the point that the Pope(s) didn’t leave Vatican City for years. As soon as they left they were no longer under the protection of their guards and their own “country”. So Mussolini thought that it would be better for the government and church to be allies and not enemies…so he spent 7 years trying to convience the Pope to leave the Vatican and meet him at some other cathedral and to sign a treaty. Finally in 1929 he was successful and the two of them met at a cathedral and signed the Lateran Pact. This treaty said that Vatican City is officially it’s own country, that other buildings (churches, schools, etc.) owned by the Vatican but not in Vatican City were still considered Vatican City but called extraterritorial, and that the Vatican would never pay property taxes on ALL the properties it owns (within the city or not), and that the country of Italy/tax payers of Italy would help pay Vatican City’s bills (water, electricity, etc.) The Pope got all of this in return for not medeling in governmental affairs. But apparently over the years, if Pope(s) haven’t agreed with something the government is doing or trying to do, all they have to say is “if you’re a true catholic you won’t vote in favor”…causing all laws to not pass that the church hasn’t agreed with. So clearly that’s not working. So I’m not exactly sure why this treaty is still in effect. If Italy was collecting the property taxes for all the properties the Vatican owned, it would have enough money to build and support health clinics all throughout Africa….I just don’t get it. I mean really…so the Vatican isn’t pay taxes on it’s property and it’s not paying it’s bills…so when the billions of people walk through it’s doors on a daily basis and they’re charged insane amounts of money to glance at the Vatican from the inside…where is that money going? To the Pope’s vacation fund…so he can vacation at a house with a pool in the dome of a dormant volcano? Does the Pope even swim?? The Catholic Church is just about getting money and it annoys me so much! Ugh. We also learned that apparently when Mussolini started going crazy…and decided to join forces with Hitler, his son-in-law told him not to do it and to go with the allied forces…so Mussolini had his son-in-law shot and killed…such a nice man. After class, I headed back to the apartment to meet up with the girls. We got changed real fast…just put on some cuter clothes, I just put on a skirt instead of the shorts I was wearing. And then we searched through Trestavere to find somewhere to go to dinner. We found this super cheap…obviously touristy spot that took our tickets, so we just went there cause by the time we found it we were just so hungry and didn’t feel like looking any longer. I got a pizza margharita and a bruschetta.

Both very good! We spent a while at dinner just eating and talking. After dinner, we headed down to the Tiber River, about a minute walk from where we had ate, and walked down the stairs where the river is lined with shops and restaurants and clubs and carnival type games.

We walked around there for about two hours or so. Did a little bit of shopping. We saw this thing called 5D 5 minute show for 2euros, so we decided why the hect not so we did it.

It was so funny and a lot of fun. Things like bees, snakes, mice, an elephant and some robots came out at us and air was blown on our faces and the chairs rocked back and forth. It was fun. We continued to walk and then at one point, we walked up to this spot where this adorable little dog, all white, short little guy, cutest and sweetest face with a collar and very nice leash was leashed and hooked up on a hook on the brick wall on the side of walking area. He had a bowl of water next to him and little pillow next to that and a sign above him that said (in Italian) “hello my name is Scott, I’m free to whoever would love to take me home and give me a lot of love.” Some asshole left this adorable and sweet dog, who was passed by so many people in just a short amount of time and didn’t make a single sound, just looked at everyone with hope in his eyes. My heart broke into a million pieces. We stayed for a minute or two and petted him, if I had the money and the ability to, I would have brought him home to America with me. It’s still breaking my heart as I’m writing this…not gonna lie…slightly tearing up. I just don’t get how people can be so cruel to an animal that has loved them unconditionally from the moment they met to just leave him on the side of the street and hope that someone takes him home. That you can’t take the time out of your life to find him a loving home, if for whatever reason you can no longer take care of him. People who abuse animals make me sick! I just don’t understand. I just want to go and take him home. I feel horrible. I hate that I’m not able to help him and give him the home that he so deserves! Ok need to talk about something else…so after we walked away…which was very difficult…we continued to walk around for a few more minutes and then headed back up to the main streets and walked to the Trevi Fountain. We needed to see it at night.Sadly there was still a million people there! But it is beautiful!

Our plan is to go back Thursday night/morning after the bar and see it when no ones there. After we took some pictures, we grabbed some gelato…which actually tasted more like ice cream than gelato. I got chocolate chip and mint chocolate chip…so good J Made me miss ice cream…which I never thought I would say since I’m so much in love with gelato but o well. We then just walked home, grabbed the tram and then continued to walk home. Came home and crashed.

Buonasera!

Day 27: July 17, 2011: Home from Venice

17 Jul

We woke up late this morning, but still not late enough to be rushed. We got showered and packed up our stuff and then headed to the lobby for breakfast. I had some more croissants and Nutella and a banana. I also had some very good salami. We just relaxed at breakfast, wasn’t rushed or anything. After breakfast we checked out, and put our luggage into a locked room reserved for us and then met in the lobby to go tour the Guggenheim museum. We got to the museum…about 5 walking minutes from the hotel. We went in and our tour guide took about 10 or 15 minutes to talk about the museum, I have no idea what she said. You completely zone out when she talks. It’s quite sad because I’m very sure she’s got a lot of interesting information to share. After she talked we were let loose in the museum to walk around and look and then after we finished we had free time till 1, when we had to be back at the hotel so we could leave for the train station. We walked around the museum for about an hour, if that. And then headed out. Tots, Veronica, Drew, Anthony and I walked to the Bridge of Sighs, which turns out to be under construction, so all we saw was a bunch of advertisement for Toy Watch (amazing marketing scheme, the amount of people that see it in a day is crazy!) and the main part of the bridge but it looked fake because it was surrounded by all the ads.

After we took a few pictures, we headed back in the direction of the hotel and stopped here and there at some shops to grab a few last minute things if we saw them. And then grabbed some lunch at a restaurant. I got a pizza with buffalo mozzarella.

It was very good! I ate the whole damn thing. Lunch took a few minutes longer than we expected and so we had to book it back to the hotel. Deanne called me and said that everyone was waiting for us. But we made it to the hotel at 1 sharp. So we were good. We grabbed our stuff from the locked room and headed to the boat. It was about a 15-minute ride to the train station, we were dropped off and went in. We had about 45 minutes to kill till we could board the train. So we grabbed some snacks from the little convience shop thing they had. I got some watermelon, and nutella with crackers to dip to go thingy. We boarded the train and got situated for a 4 hr ride. I read my book for a little bit, and then took a nap for an hour or so. I’m learning that growing up in the cars and stuff I was very spoiled with my siblings and how we’ve mastered the car ride, resting on eachother sleeping situation…because now I have no idea how to sleep straight up in a comfortable way. I need my brother and sister! After my nap, I listened to my ipod and got out my computer

and edited pictures and then we were back in Rome. Triana, Veronica and I and pretty much everyone else got onto the 40 bus, again completely avoiding the H bus and rode that to Largo Argentina and then got on the tram and headed back to the apartment. As we passed through the Playground/market Square down the street from our house, there was something going on. Still not sure what it was, but there was people all over the place dressed as ancient Romans and soldiers and women of ancient Rome with a bunch of tables with stuff on them and other people walking around. We got up to the apartment and put all our stuff down, connected with Jess real fast and then the 4 of us headed to dinner. We decided to try the sushi place down the street that we’ve all wanted to try. Veronica and I split a California roll. So good!

It was some weird cream cheese type stuff in that that wasn’t on the menu and none of us know what it was but it was super good. Jess and Triana split some salmon roll thing.

I tried it, it tasted good but I can’t do the texture of the raw fish. And then we got some rice and shrimp, that was banging! And some soup with noodles and shrimp and that was good but not my favorite.

Then we were still hungry, so we got another order of the same sushi rolls. After we finished eating, we just sat around the table for about an hour or so more and just talked, then got the check and left. We decided to go hunt down some gelato and so we started walking and discovered that all this week Trestavere is having some celebration with festivals and parties every night.

We’re so excited! We found this beautiful church that was open and so we went in and explored it a little bit.  So we walked down a bunch of streets and explored the events, it was a lot of fun. We stumbled upon a crepe place with nutella and decided to get some of those. He made them right there on the spot in front of us!

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Once we got our crepes, we grabbed a seat at one of the tables and just sat and ate and took in the sights.

There were these ADORABLE little girls dancing to the music, including Shakira.

So cute. And apparently these Italian women who were sitting next to us at the same table, were talking about us and how they knew we were foreigners and that it was nice that we were there taking the time to experience this festival and seeing what Romans do and what Romans actually eat. Since majority of foreigners just go to the touristy spots and eat there and don’t know what real Romans do and eat. (Veronica overheard the whole convo and told us about it after we walked away). So it was really nice to hear something positive about ourselves, especially from some Italian women, they tend to be the worst with making you feel like an outcast. We continued to just walk around and discover more places in our area. We quite bummed that we’re just now discovering this whole world in our backyard the last week were here but hey it’s better than nothing. After we explored and walked around for an hour or more, we headed back to the apartment. We unpacked, got on computers, did some homework, and what not. And then headed to bed.

Buonasera!