11.11.2011 - 11.11.2011
Rome was absolutely amazing. I loved (pretty much) everything about the city. The architecture was breath-taking, the weather was perfect, and the food was delicious. I did so much in the three days I was in Rome that this post is going to be in three parts.
I had planned the trip so that I would leave very early Friday morning. I wanted to make sure that I had a full three days in Rome. I went to bed at 1 am Friday morning because I was unable to fall asleep and three short hours later I was waking up to catch my flight to Italy! I was in a cab and en route to the airport by 4:30 am Friday morning. I was able to meet up with my friend Kaitlyn at the airport. It was perfect timing at the airport because we got there at the exact same time. We checked-in, went through security and waited for our 6:10 flight to ROMA! We were the first flight out of the morning, so the airport was empty and none of the food places were open. From the plane window (I obviously got a window seat) I saw maybe the most amazing sunrise I had ever seen in my entire life. I tried taking pictures of it but the window of the plane with the reflections did not do it justice. It looked like it could have been painted. We arrived in Rome before 8 am. I was able to see Vatican City and the Colosseum from the plane. It was at this moment, my life seemed so surreal. I have never experienced a surreal moment as strong as I did at that moment that the plane was landing in Italy. I was grinning from ear to ear. I could not believe that I was actually in Italy. Italy always seemed like such a far-away romanticized place and I was there! It was a crazy feeling and I was so excited.
Our friend Tess is studying in Rome right now so she booked the hotel for us. All we had was the address and a map and we were on our own. We took a bus from the airport to the metro station and then took the metro. The metro system in Rome is seriously lacking compared to the metro system in Barcelona, but in a city like Rome where there are ruins every other foot, it was better that we were forced to walk everywhere because we were able to see some really cool ruins. When we exited the metro station, right in front of us where these giant Roman ruins! It was called Circo Massimo and it was where the chariot races were held in ancient Rome. It was a very impressive first sight to see in Rome. We ended up finding our hotel. It was set in this cute little neighborhood, and it was what you pictures typical Italy to look like. There was an iron gate that opened and a narrow little driveway leading up to the hotel. The hotel keeper was a little old Italian women. We got our room, settled down and decided to head out and explore the city.
Seeing as it was 11/11/11, Kaitlyn and I wanted to make a wish at 11:11. We were hoping to make it to the Trevi Fountain, but we were to far away. We found this other little fountain and threw coins in it at 11:11. People must have thought we were crazy because that was not the fountain to throw coins in, so my friend and I were jokingly asking “oh, is this is Trevi Fountain?!” (We did later find out that Audrey Hepburn threw coins into that fountain, so we didn’t choose a complete dud to make a wish on 11/11/11 at 11:11.) We walked all the way to the Trevi Fountain, but not without passing some pretty cool landmarks. We first walked past this giant white building, which we later found out was a museum. It was a white building with tons of steps and statues of horses. From the building I could see the Colosseum in the background. We continued onward and eventually made it to the Trevi Fountain. All I can say is wow! It was amazing. The fountain itself is huge! The contrast between the blue, blue sky and the white of the fountain made it unbelievable. Of course it was packed with tourists, but I was still able to throw my coins in! I didn’t know going into it that there were sayings about how many coins to throw in. I threw in three the first time, which apparently means you will either have marriage or divorce (I am hoping for the first one) and then when we went later on at night I threw in one coin, which means that you will return to Rome (which I hope will definitely happen). After taking tons of touristy pictures and throwing the coins in, I was in desperate need of some Italian gelato and food. Gelato was not hard to find. There were probably as many gelato places in Italy as there were chocolatiers in Belgium. Kaitlyn and I were very picky though and did not want to commit to a bad one (as if there were any bad ones). We found a little cafe and sat down and ate some Italian pizza! YUMM. I got a mushroom and sausage slice. It was so good (but little did I know that it would only be 1/10 of how good the pizza was that we would be getting for dinner later on). After lunch we continued to wander. We kept walking and all of a sudden, right in front of us was the Pantheon! We did not even know we were going in the right direction and there it was. It was set in the middle of a square and it was a lot bigger than I had imagined. The outside was a dark grey color, which I later read that it is actually made of lead. We then went inside and it was amazing! The roof is a dome, but in the center there is a hole. No one knows why they put a hole in the roof and it is also an architectural wonder as to how they made it and how it is still standing. Historians are not positive of the use of the building. It was very cool to go inside and see what it looked like. At this point I really, really wanted gelato. I was told, by multiple sources, to go a place called Gioliti’s. I knew the name of street so we ended up walking that way; however, we got a little sidetracked when we found a gelato place offering 108 flavors. We decided to stop there instead. Seeing 108 flavors of gelato was very impressive. It was a winding counter and every type of flavor you ever wanted. For 2.50 euro I got three giant scoops (in Barcelona they charge you 2.50 for one measly scoop). I got dark chocolate, cookie dough flavored and cappuccino. Needless to say it was delicious.
We then met our friend Tess, who is studying in Rome and she and her friend wanted Gelato also. We walked to the place called Gioliti’s, but Kaitlyn and I decided to save it for another time. We then walked back to where Tess lives. She lives in a convent, yes an actual convent with actual nuns. It was a really cute set up though. She had a nice little backyard with seating and everything. The convent was also only about a five minute walk from our hotel, which made things very easy because Kaitlyn and I were never left walking alone through Rome (which would not have been a problem, but it was nice to have someone with you who knew exactly where they were going at all times). That night we went out to a pizza place called Bar Punto. It is Tess and her friends favorite pizza spot in all of Rome. I am in agreement with their choice. They had all these different kinds of funky pizzas, and every single one of them was delicious. I got a brushetta (I can’t be positive of what it is called, but it sound like how I spelt the name), mozzarella and parmesan pizza. It was soooooooo goood. I tried everyone else’s pizza as well. There was zucchini and cheese, buffalo cheese, tomato and basil, and some others but I have no idea how to say/spell/know what they were. After dinner, Tess wanted to show us the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon at night, and bring us to another one of her favorite gelato places. The Trevi Fountain at night was amazing. It was all lit up and against the black sky, fabulous. We then walked over the Pantheon, which was also very cool to see at night, but it was a little less lit up so it wasn’t as cool as the Trevi Fountain. We walked over to the gelato place. I got grapefruit and honey. The grapefruit was sorbet, so it was a little sour but still very good and the honey was amazing. I usually don’t really like honey, but as a gelato it was very refreshing and really light.
At this point it was 1 in the morning and I had been up and walking around for 21 straight hours. It was time for bed. We walked back to the hotel and I was out like a light in about 3 seconds.