Sunday, April 19, 2009

When in Rome....

Bungalow #30.  Nice.

Caitlin locking it up.

Rows and Rows of Bungalows.

The rockin view from PLUS hostel.  Notice the trees.  

Fountain at the Spanish Steps.

Me on the Spanish Steps.

The Pine Cone Courtyard.

Modern Art. Gotta love it. This thing spins.  :)

Our goofy tour guide.

The Lacoon. :)

AHHHHH!!! i love this piece.  

Mikey was obsessed over this piece back in the day.

Vatican looking OUT.

Pope's Royal Guards.  Dorks.  Sucks to wear that everyday.

We are Romans.

Awesome seats... :)


Green Apple was deelish.

The Madhouse that was the Gelato Bar

Trevi Fountain

This past weekend I went to Rome with my roommate Caitlin.  I had been dying to go, and wanted to wait until the weather straightened up to go.  Thankfully, it didn't rain until after we were already on the train back home.  Rome was really the only other Italian city that I had be dying to see.  Hello, the Sistine Chapel is there.  So, to Rome I went.  It was an interesting adventure.
We staying at PLUS Hostel in Rome, which really did turn out to be a camping village that was 30 minutes outside of the city center.  The distance kinda sucked, but we figured out the bus and metro system it was easy.  Be best thing about staying there, was that there were TREES!!!!  Florence has no trees (expect in the parks).  We stayed in a "bunaglow" which consisted of two beds, and a tiny bathroom.  Thats all.  It was nice though because it was clean and super CHEAP.  36 euros for two nights (for one person).  Sweet deal.  
We took the fast train to Rome, and it was nice.  Only took about 1.5 hours.  After we checked in at PLUS, we hopped on a bus, then a metro, and went to the Spanish Steps.  Very pretty, especially at sunset.  It was a nice square, with a small fountain designed by Bernini and is supposed to look like a small boat that was once stranded there.   There were many shops and street artists at Piazza di Spangna as well.  The steps can get quite crowded, and I don't really like crowds but it was still very pretty.  Afterwards, we went in search of a good place to get dinner.  We picked a random trattoria and of course it was delicious.  Then we headed back to the Hostel because we had to be at the Vatican first thing in the morning to meet up with our tour group. 
I'd like to start off with this tidbit of information, Vatican City, is a country.  Yes, it is in ROME but it is its own country as well.  It's the world's smallest country, about .2 square miles and serves as the spiritual center for millions of people from all over the world.  Its usually referred to as a City State and often called "the Holy See".  Pretty much the only people who live there within the .2 square miles are priests, nuns, guards, high-ranking dignitaries, and the Pope.
We booked a group tour, with a hefty fee, for the Vatican Museum which includes: the Sistine Chapel, a modern art collection, countless rooms of art, and just a lot of stuff...mostly all "donated" to the Vatican.  Some of the worlds most famous pieces are held here.  Like the Lacoon for example.  And of course the frescos within the Sistine Chapel.  Overall, I'm so thankful for the experience of the visiting the Vatican, but never in my life will I probably ever do it again.  Why? Simply because of the crowds.  It was horrible the massive amount of people there.  I would do it again, on a less busy day, but our tour guide said that the day we were there was a "slow" day.  Ugh.  Heck, we only spent 30 minutes in the Sistine Chapel because there were so many people and the guards were professional bad mood-ers.  Yelling at people and stuff.  It was overwhelming.  But Mikey did one hell of a job on that ceiling.  But the Last Judgement is still my favorite.  I made a list a few years ago in high school, of things I wanted to see or do before I died, seeing the Sistine Chapel was on there, and can now be checked off the list.  :)
After the Vatican, we walked to the Colosseum and got in for free, why I'm not sure, but the ticket lady said it was free and I was happy.  The Colosseum was very cool.  No wonder so many movies made after this amazing place.  Back in the day it could hold about 55,000 spectators.  The coolest part about the Colosseum was the sections underground, which you couldn't get to but you could see it.  Thats where they held the prisoners/slaves and the wild animals.  Sucks that in 847 an earthquake hit and made it into the ruins that it is today.  
After the Colosseum, we walked around a bit.  Caitlin has family in Rome, so we met up with them and walked around.  We met them at the Pantheon, which we seen from the outside.  The inside was reserved for those who wanted to pray.  The Pantheon is located in the Piazza della Rotonda square; which was my favorite square that I seen in Rome.  Caitlins family took us to this gelato bar near the Pantheon.  It was like nothing I've ever seen before in my life.  It was a cross between an auction and a mosh-pit.  Ridiculous.  You pay first, and then squeeze your way to the gelato bar, get squished, hope and pray that the gelato boys see you so that they can take your order (or atleast this is how it is for short people like me), get your ice cream, pray that it doesn't fall off the cone as you fight your way back the the back of the store to exit.  Yeah, it was that busy.  But it was soooo good.... I had green apple (verde mela), and it tasted just like green apple.  After we left Caitlin's family we continued to walk around Rome a bit, just stopping to look at stuff in the windows or to shop.  We also seen the beautiful Trevi Fountain.  Gorgeous.  
Overall, I enjoyed Rome, but prefer Florence.  Florence is smaller, everything is within walking distance, and the people here are friendlier.  Rome was huge.  But for a big city, it was awesome especially with its old ruins intermingled with the modern city.  I liked Rome.  I would've liked to have spent more than a weekend there, to just walk around some more.  But its nice to be back in Florence too.  


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