All Roads Lead to Rome

I thought I’d start you off with a soundtrack to my trip to Rome. First, this song, An Evening in Roma, which was featured in the Lizzie McGuire Movie, my inspiration for wanting to visit Rome, which came out 10 years ago (I know because I saw it for my 10th birthday party)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi1Hq_41kUQ

Also, this song, Hungry Eyes, was featured in Dirty Dancing. The movie has nothing to do with my trip, but it was playing in a store in Rome, and it encompassed my and Bonnie’s insatiable sweet tooth appetite when in Rome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oKUTOLSeMM

I highly recommend watching both films in full. You will not regret it. But at the very least, listen to those awesomely cheesy songs as you read my blog.

Saturday, Sept 28: Bonnie and I left for the airport rather early, but then enjoyed the decadence that was the Copenhagen airport. It’s basically a mall– a very good mall. When we got into Rome, I was all smiles and full of anxiety about pickpocketing. This anxiety took several days to cease. 6 to be exact, the length of the trips. We took the train and metro into the city, admiring the Italian men and stopping for a meal of pasta in a cute piazza. Pasta in a piazza. When we arrived at where the hostel was supposed to be, and could not find it for the life of us. Bonnie suggested maybe we were the victims of a hostel Ponzee scheme, which seemed unlikely, but we were a little shaken until we went across the street and they told us that the door we were looking at was the correct door. Oops. We got inside, found that it was clean and wood-paneled, and the girls who worked there were hilarious. I highly recommend this hostel, Pensione Ottaviano, if you ever go to Rome, reader. It may not have been the most beautiful place, but is located right next to Vatican City, a truly fantastic area to live for a few nights. The hostel had character and characters. Also, look at the art in our room, and the view.

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Come on, you can’t pass that up.

Rome Day 1:

So, the Vatican Museums are free on the last Sunday of the month for only three hours, and the Pope was giving a mass, so there were nuns singing on the street starting around 5am (not a joke.) Bonnie and I got up and got pastries and got in line, not too far back, and we got into the museum by 9:30. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been to a museum so big, and because of the thousands of people, we couldn’t exactly pick and choose what rooms we saw. We just went with the crush of people towards the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, there were no pictures in the chapel, but you can google it 🙂 The art was very impressive and old  but I thought that the architectural elements were more interesting.

The entrance to the Vatican Museums

IMG_2921A beautiful Vatican courtyard

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I will never not be impressed by mosaic floors. Seriously. I WALKED on this.

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Ceilings can be coolIMG_2949

Even windows that have scaffoldings. Pinching myself alwaysIMG_2963

Another life-changing ceiling. No biggie.IMG_2973

I don’t even know what this was. Amazing though. One of my best shots from the Vatican. A lot are very blurry b/c no flash

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Don’t die, you’re about to be at the Sistine Chapel!IMG_2985

After the Vatican we realized we had the WHOLE CITY OF ROME at our fingertips. We wandered and wandered and wandered some more. People always say that everywhere you turn in Rome is a cute little alley or a tourist site. Accurate. We saw a lot of Americans and ate gelato. Also, I saw the Trevi Fountain, which is where my dream of going to Rome started. Or more accurately, Lizzie McGuire meeting Paolo at the Trevi Fountain in 2003.

This is the Pantheon. Just chillin’ somewhere in Rome. We were in no way looking for it.

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So there was this outdoor art display outside of the really big famous art museum in Rome. The artist’s statement is below in Italian, English, and French. It was sooo good. See next picture. IMG_3073

This is the artist and one of his pieces, The Boxer. He made me a sketch while he was standing there. it was GREAT. Made my day, an already awesome day.IMG_3078

A cool and somewhat creepy statue on a bridge.IMG_3000

The Trevi Fountain!IMG_3056

A statue in front of the Tomb of the Unknown SoldierIMG_3029

The Tomb of the Unknown SoldierIMG_3020

In the evening, after a solid 14 hours walking around, we went back to the hostel to play cards, and we met a very nice Dutch guy named Barnabus (he went by Bus) who taught us a new way to play Uno (yes, the card game from my childhood) and shared a beer with us. It was very hospitable and not hostile at all (get it? hostile? hostel? Oh well.)

Day 2:

We had plans to meet another girl from DIS, Breanna, at the Spanish Steps for lunch, so we had a leisurely morning which included really amazing pastries and espresso (when in Rome!) standing up (cheaper) at a quaint cafe on the river. We walked for about an hour before we realized we were headed north instead of south, and then turned around and walked south for way too long. We got really lost, ended up walking for about 2 hours in the most torrential rain of my life, and we didn’t even find Breanna. We did however, remain damp for the next 8 hours (cotton IS rotten.)

Because we were cold and wet, we took this picture for Breanna

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Because we were in Rome, we actually felt like thisIMG_3117

The rain finally cleared, and we headed over to the Colosseum because we figured the rain would have scared away a lot of people. It was amazing, and I couldn’t help think about all the movies I’d seen set at the Colosseum. Bonnie had taken a film class about movies set in Ancient Rome, so I can only imagine it may have been more awesome for her. In Latin II my senior year of high school, my Latin teacher told us if we ever go to the Colosseum to lick it, which is what she did when she went. I was totally prepared to do it, but then. EW. Wow, I saw it and COULD NOT IMAGINE DOING SOMETHING SO GROSS. Over a thousand years of history also means a whole lot of who knows what. We did see cats, who I obviously also did not lick (or touch). Colosseum cats seem really happy and cute.

Oh hey there, Colosseum…

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A lovely afternoon at the place of gladiators.IMG_3162

Oh hey, that cool basement part (no floor anymore) and a cat.IMG_3137

There are no stands as there were in ancient Rome, only the base of the building, the marble is thought to have been stolen in the Middle Ages
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Cats of the Colosseum. Part dos.IMG_3176

We had a really cheap dinner that night in a park overlooking the Colosseum and then walked around the streets for several more hours, and my search for boots continued and Bonnie stopped to read many menus at cafes, something I have never done, but she does kind of like window shopping for me. It’s not necessarily meaningful, just something interesting to look at. We also drank Italian hot chocolate, which is made by pouring hot cream over chocolate. So incredibly rich. It was calorically dinner and breakfast, I’m sure.

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We got back to the hostel and played cards again with Bus, and went for a walk with him around St. Peter’s Cathedral, approximately 2 blocks from the hostel. Really, could not ask for a better location.

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Day 3:

We checked out of the hostel and enjoyed breakfast gelato with Bus and both gave him a hug goodbye. He was going to work on a wine farm in France after this trip to Rome and Paris.

A sight from our walk in the morning

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We walked along the river and got latte machiatto, which in true Italian style was pretty much just steamed milk with a tiny bit o’ espresso and headed over to Circus Maximus(!) and thought about chariot races and Ben Hurr and then went to the Roman Forum. I went pretty zonked by then, just solid DAYS of walking and seeing things, so I definitely didn’t appreciate it enough.

I’m at the circus!IMG_3219

Palatine Hill/Roman ForumIMG_3226

The she-wolf and Romulus and Remus. Not the original, but something I was dying to see in Rome.IMG_3230

We didn’t spend a ton of time there, and went to meet Rachael (was going to say who this is, but if you don’t know… read the blog) who was also in Rome, on a school trip. We had a great lunch, walk, gelato, and a quick trip to the Trevi Fountain on our way to the train station, because Bonnie and I had to catch a flight to Barcelona! Rachael and I are the cheesiest and realized that the day our friend Caitlin introduced us (HI CAITLIN!) we watched two great Rome-themed movies together: The Lizzie McGuire Movie (see above) and Roman Holiday. Actually, I left while the others were watching Roman Holiday because sleep. But let’s just say, all roads lead to Rome.

Nice gelato places give you whipped cream and a tiny cone on top. This cone of canteloupe and cherries and cream only had the tiny cone.

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The gang in front of the Trevi Fountain. This is what dreams are made of.IMG_3259

Rome was absolutely all I imagined, hoped, and expected it to be. I would go back again, I’m a little in love. Not like, want to live there or anything, but there’s so much to see and do, and. Go. That’s my advice.

Barcelona in my next post. In the meantime, Arrivederci!

3 thoughts on “All Roads Lead to Rome

  1. Three coins! Oh no. One will suffice, I’m sure. One each, and if Bonnie threw one then that makes three.

    I really like “An Evening in Rome.” Really reminds me of the immense amount of pasta I ate, and the Vespas and general romanticism of Rome. I also have a real sweet tooth problem.

    The Vatican Museum is really amazing, I’m glad you got the chance to see it, and for free, no less– good timing. And I share your love for Mosaics. I missed the Pantheon! Hopefully I’ll see it next time around. And Palo must’ve been caught in a recording session, because I went to the Trevi Fountain twice and didn’t see him.

    Beautiful photographs, as always. I love the shot of the cat in the Colosseum in particular, and St. Peter’s.

    Rome was amazing, and I’m so glad we got to meet up. As the Spanish would say, “Hasta Denmarkia!”

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