Surprise! Who doesn't love waking up to a surprise blog entry? I know some of you had given up on me, but, I want to finish the blog. Obviously, not with the day to day blogs but at least with my trips because I had some pretty amazing trips and met some pretty amazing people. Alright, I left you all in Rome last, hasn't this been a great anticipation builder? Well, you just wait for the excitement that is to come!
After an amazing night walking around Rome, we woke up and headed down to breakfast. A majority of the group was already downstairs eating and so we grabbed the last available table and got our food. I got strawberry yogurt with granola and fruit and also got a cappuccino, I had seconds of each.
So after breakfast everyone brought their luggage into a secret holding room below the hotel and we got on our way to see what we had planned for the day. First off were the Colosseum and the Forum and of course I was beside myself with excitement. The movie Gladiator holds a special place in my heart and so I was very excited to go and see the Colosseum. We walked there from the hotel because it was only about a twenty minute walk and it was very nice out. We met our tour guide right out side the Colosseum and she gave us a little background history of the place before entering. I had seen men dressed up as gladiators and so I wanted to get my picture taken with them. They were so nice and fun until they asked me for their payment. I was so confused and the man said that it was 5 euro to get your picture taken with them. I tried to protest and then they said they call the police for anyone who doesn't pay. So, needless to say I payed and got dupped. Gosh, never trust a gladiator I guess. So after paying for a dumb picture, the tour started and we walked into the Colosseum. Being the good Catholic girl that I am, I proceeded to cry. Explain to me why I didn't cry on my way into St. Peter's or in the Vatican? On second thought, please don't explain.
Inside the Colosseum, she gave us a talk about the history and other really, really interesting facts which was really fun and enjoyable to listen to. We listened for about thirty minutes and then had free time to walk around. MH, Celia, and I took a bunch of pictures, some serious and some goofy, and made our way to the second floor. I have no idea how people wearing togas did those stairs. They were ridiculously steep and to me, beyond dangerous. We would have had to hold my mom's front and butt on the way up and down to make sure she didn't fall. Seriously, so dangerous. On our way around the Colosseum, I noticed a girl who looked eerily similar to a girl who I went to high school with. I told myself that it couldn't possibly have been her and continued on my way around the beautiful ruin. As I passed her again, I said "no, that is her". So I walked after her, tapped her on the shoulder, and proceeded to say "I don't remember your name but we went to WWS together and I am sorry I don't remember your name". As always, calm, cool, and collected. She was so excited to see me and she had no idea what my name was either so it was totally fine and was actually funny as we tried to figure out what class it was that we had together. She is a year younger than I am and was studying in Rome. Her mom and sister came in for the week and we probably looked like babbling American fools to everyone else there. This is what I had always wanted to have happen. I wanted to run into someone I knew from back home in a random place. Even though I didn't know the girl's name, it was still the perfect bit of home. I found out later that her name was Courtney and we had friends in common. We still to this day have not figured out what class we had together. When it was time to leave, we thought we had lost a fellow but ended up finding him about fifteen minutes later.
We made our way to the forum and listened to some more information on the world that was once the greatest civilization in the world. We saw what was once Julius' tomb which was covered in flowers and was really just a big pile of dirt under what used to be a tomb, sort of a disappointment. After walking around the Forum and learning about the saying "All roads lead to Rome", we went to the Piazza Venezia, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon (which is different than the Parthenon), and finally the Piazza Navona to see won of the Palaces and a really cool fountain. From here, we were allowed to have our free time and wander around the city. A woman my dad had met through his tax appointments said that I had to go to a gelateria called Tre Scalini, which had "the BEST gelato in all of Italy". So, while still in the Piazza Navona, I went to Tre Scalini and got a gelto creation which was their "best" gelato. It was indeed, very good gelato. Unfortunately, it was not THE best gelato. I still hold that to my beloved Firenze.
I was so excited to be done with the tour because I was going to do what I came to Rome to do, go to the Audrey Hepburn exhibit at a museum they had! Now I know that might disappoint some of you, but I had read that they were having an exhibit and I just HAD to go. Only true Audrey fans would go. So I wandered around the streets on my way to the museum. It was beautiful taking the time to wander around another Italian city and just appreciate the architecture and the people. The old women in Rome are so beautiful and so nice. When I made it to the museum I could hardly contain my excitement. I made it! So being the cool, calm, and collected American that I took a few pictures of the exterior of the museum and then went inside.
I walked around the museum for a little bit before I headed down to the exhibit. The museum was a small, contemporary art museum and it was actually pretty interesting. Audrey's exhibit was in the basement, personally I think it should have been right when you walked in the door, but at least that got people to walk through the museum. I went to the basement and was immediately stopped because I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the exhibit, party poopers. Oh well, I walked around the museum for about an hour because of all the things they had. They had a big timeline along all the walls and a bunch of her clothes in cases everywhere. There were a few movie clips rolling around the museum and it was just so cool to be there. The Romans loved Audrey and Audrey loved Rome so she stayed there for a majority of her life.
After the museum, I wandered around the back roads to The Spanish Steps because I wanted to see it in the daylight and be able to go inside. Walking around the streets was one of my favorite parts. I was able to see a lot of interesting buildings and go into a lot of interesting little shops. When I made it to The Spanish Steps it was just about sunset so I was able to see the sun being gold and start to set over Rome which put a gold glow over all of the tops of the buildings. Hands down one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. God is truly the best artist.
I watched the sun set for a little and took pictures in the mean time. After I realized how quickly time was passing, I went inside The Spanish Steps and looked at all the artwork that they had in the church that is located at the top. The church is filled with artwork, as most Italian churches are, but this one will forever hold a special place in my heart. Located in The Spanish Steps' church is the first piece of artwork that has ever mad me cry. When walking in the doors, the first statue on the left, behind glass doors is the plaster cast of the Pieta by Wilhelm Theodor Achtermann. One thing I have never done is attach pictures to my blog, well this one is my exception. In order to appreciate this statue the way I did, I wanted to show everyone the beautiful light flowing over Jesus and Mary's faces and just try to give you a little bit of the emotion that is in each of their faces as they removed Jesus from the cross. Breathtaking.
While I was in the church, I ran into Celia and MH and we left together to head back towards the hotel. Walking slowly in and out of shops, we went into a broach shop where the sweetest old woman worked. She used to be a hand model and warned us about our purses needing to always be zipped because of the sneaky gypsies in Rome. We talked with her for about twenty minutes and then went on our way. In one of the stores we stopped in, I finally got an ornament that I had been searching for. There was a hand painted one of a scene in Rome and I was sold. After further examination, I realized that the scene was of The Spanish Steps, the same ones I tripped up and contained my first crying at artwork, so I knew right then and there that I had to get it. It is still one of my favorite ornaments.We walked around for about an hour and a half before making it to the hotel. Walking around and appreciating everything around me is still one of my favorite ways to travel.
We got to the hotel on time, grabbed our luggage from the storage room, and loaded the bus. Rome was one of my favorite places that I visited and I want to go back for a week to really sink my teeth into everything. I felt like it was all just rushed and that there we so much I didn't get to see. I saw all of the main landmarks, but I still feel like there was so much of Rome that I still have to discover.
Rome was a beautiful city and I am so thankful that I was able to go, it was on my list. I really just fell in love with the city and I want to go back someday. It may not be on my next trip to Europe or the one after that, but I would love to be able to go back.
Thank you for being patient on the posting and I hope it was worth the wait. Don't give up on me! We still need to go to Wuppertal and Barcelona together!
Con Amore, Ciao!!