Sunday, July 17, 2011

When In Rome


     I cannot believe the weekend is over!  My time in Rome passed by all too quickly.  Let me start from VERY early Friday morning.  This will have to be a long post to even attempt to capture half of my Rome experience.

Friday morning: The three travel buddies, Kelly, Kayla, and I set off for Rome at 5 AM.  Sansepolcro has no train station so when we need to take a train, we take an hour bus ride to Arezzo.  We arrived in Arezzo and had a little breakfast at the cafe while we waited for our train to Rome.  Our train arrived a few minutes early and we boarded.  We assumed this was our train since we were scheduled to depart at 7:44 AM.  Rule number one: Never assume anything when you're with the three musketeers.  We were on the train rolling through the Tuscan countryside and we noticed the screen said we were scheduled to be in Rome at 8:45 AM.  We knew the trip to Rome was supposed to take about three we were puzzled.  We then concluded we were on the faster train (which makes no stops) that cost three times as much as the ticket we had paid for.  We all three dozed off to sleep and were woken up by someone who worked on the train.  Sometimes, they will come around and check your ticket..and of course, today was the day.  He informed us that we were on the wrong train.  We had gotten on the faster train that made no stops and costed more money.  All I could think was, "Great, I'm a stowaway on a train right now."  He told the three of us we each owed thirty euros.  We each gave him the money and he went on his way.  So basically, we made it to Rome in an hour...but we were stoaways in the process.  We were mad at first, but once we arrived in Rome, we decided it was worth the money to have a full day there.  We made it to Rome in exactly one hour instead of THREE.
    After we made it to Rome, we purchased a Roma pass that allowed us to get on the metro and buses whenever we wanted.  It was a three day ticket and totally worth it.  We got on the metro and found our hotel that was a three minute walk from the Vatican.  It was a super cute and cozy hotel.  We put away our luggage and set out to explore.  We went to the Trevi Fountain or (Fontana di Trevi) and I was completely blown away.  I was excited about everything in Rome...but I was looking forward to this the most.  I was not disappointed one bit.  It was amazing to see.  I've seen it in so many books, pictures, and movies, and finally, I was standing in front of it.  I was blown away.  We ate lunch at Hard Rock Cafe (American food, free refills, and air condition...what more could we ask for?)  We then decided to take a tour of the Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel.  There were lots of people advertising tours on the street, so we finally asked someone about it.  They led us over to the tour group and we signed up.  It costed us 35 euros a person (same as admission) and we got a headset and the best tour guide in all of Rome.  Her name was Cathy and she had eleven years of experience in Art History in Italy.  I was astonished as I walked through the Vatican tour.  I soaked up every moment.  I learned so much and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Kelly, Kayla, and I ate Subway for dinner (so excited to find something other than McDonald's.)  We then went back to see the Vatican at night (since it was so close to our hotel.)  I cannot explain how amazing it was to stand there and see.  We then went back to our hotel and crashed.  We were three very sleepy American girls.
Saturday:   We woke up and hit the ground running.  We had a lot of ground to cover, and when us three set a plan, watch out.  When Kelly Griffin has a map in her hand, watch out.  She is the best map reader and navigator.  We decided we wanted to see the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, and Colosseum (and shop some, too.)  It was an ambitious plan; however, we did it.  We knew the metro stop to get off on...but we did not know where the Spanish Steps were.  We agreed we would walk along and hopefully stumble upon them.  Funny we said that, because that's exactly what we did.  We decided after a while of walking to ask someone where these steps were.  Kelly asked a lady, "Excuse me, could you tell us where the Spanish Steps are?"  The lady smiled and replied, "You're standing on them."  We had come to them from a different angle...and everyone gathers at the bottom of them.  Luckily, we came from the top so we walked DOWN the steps.  Ya'll know I would have died walking up.  We had our total tourist moment of pictures and they were awesome to see.  We decided to hit up McDonald's and get to the Pantheon.  We ate lunch and somehow managed to get to the Pantheon.  It was very cool to see, however, we could only go in one room.  Some people were taking tours, but we decided for one room, we could google the information ourselves.  We ended up finding another market and I bought a dress (hey, the man said, "Perfect for you."  I couldn't say no to that.  I kept thinking, "Brittany, you sucker, they'll say anything for you to buy one."  I talked a man down from 45 euros to 15 for a purse for Kelly!  I'm really polishing the bargaining skills.  We all got some great deals at the market.  We then decided it was time to get over to the Colosseum.  (Keep in mind we shop while we walk.)  By now, I've accumulated five purses and four pairs of shoes (along with every thing else.)
     We kept trying to find a bus to take us to the Colosseum, but we were sick of chasing buses.  We finally spotted some cabs and it was only 7 euros to get there.  It was 7 euros well spent because Pat and Charlie are about exhausted at this point.  We get to the Colosseum and you can't imagine how small you feel standing near this!  We thought since we had such a successful tour of the Vatican, we should do another tour.  The tours allow you to skip the we thought, sure, why not.  We met a girl from Australia (and if you know me,) you know I love Australia and I will be traveling there one day.  I probably talked her ears off about everything from the food to the weather.  Our tour totally sucked of the Colosseum.  We spent at least 45 minutes outside just staring at it before we even entered.  The tour guide was rambling on about action movies and Kelly, Kalya, and I left the group.  We took our pictures and peaced out of there.  We then went to Hard Rock Cafe again for dinner.  We sat beside a couple and the man proposed and we literally had the best seats in the house.  We all three shed a little tear.  It was too precious.  We decided we just had to see the Trevi Fountain at night and it was well worth the trip.  Kelly and I bought a dang rose stem for 2 euros and 50 cent.  The man said, "Just give some change."  We each gave him 2 euro and 50 cent and he acted disappointed but it was just one rose.  I'm sure he got over it.  We took some pictures..and we saw yet ANOTHER proposal at the Trevi Fountain.  I called Eric and my parents from there to let them hear the water.  I made several wishes each trip to the fountain.  We all three threw coins from far away last night since the police had chased everyone away from the bottom of the fountain.  I thought we would probably get fined or arrested for throwing the coins...but we didn't!  (Breathe a sigh of relief, Mom!)
  Sunday: I don't know how..but I managed to open my eyes at 10:24 AM and we had to be out of the hotel by 11.  We scrambled our stuff together and got out.  We didn't need any more fines.  We went all the way back towards the Trevi Fountain to the Pandora store and they were closed.  Bummer.  We went to the train station and had McDonald's again.  I swear I'm not eating anymore McDonalds or pasta once I'm back in America!  We had a three hour train ride back to Arezzo and a little girl screamed the ENTIRE way.  It was lovely.  It wasn't a was just shrill screams.  Thank goodness for earphones and ipods.  We made it back to Arezzo to catch the last bus to Sansepolcro at 5 p.m.  Our bus driver cannot drive (he drives like a maniac) and you all know I can't drive either, and he scared me.  We were flying on the mountain roads and I kept looking over the edge and thinking, "Any minute I'll be down there too."  Everyone on the bus was holding on for dear life.  I felt like I was on a ride...and I wanted to get off.  We then stopped beside the road at least 4 times because of some bike race.  I think the Tour De France took a wrong lasted forever.  We finally made it back to Sansepolcro and ate Yummy's Pizza for dinner.  (It's pronounced Yoomie's.)  We placed all our purchases from Italy on our beds and I'm not sure how I'm getting back to America with all my stuff...but I'll work on it all week.  I need to go try to upload these pictures and skype my Mom.  :)

Hope everyone had an amazing weekend!  

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