Monday, January 30, 2012

Rome may not have been built in a day.. But we saw it in a day

Warning to the reader: This is a long blog.. Wine tasting and a packed trip to Rome. Enjoy!
Back tracking to Friday night: Wine tasting was amazing. You learn so much, and somehow she is able to describe every different taste and tingle that happens on your tongue or in your throat. After this, the chef offered us a 15% discount, so of course we had to have dinner! First time I ever had wild boar-Amazing- In the pasta and for the main course. For dessert we had chestnut mousse and a biscotti.. very delicious. Our chef friend Gabe told us about an apple crepe so he also made us that with fresh cut apple slices and cinnamon apples. A very delicious night! It was ended by our friend Josh Farley playing his guitar and singing to us. Nothing like a good group of friends together all in one place enjoying good food, wine and music.
The morning arrived fast and we were up and at em at 6:30 to head to Rome! We departed Orvieto and took a fast fast that our ears popped worse than on planes when we went into underground tunnels. Of course we didn’t wake up in time for breakfast so upon arrival to the train station in Rome we ventured for food. What did we find? ..McDonalds :) a little American indulgence-no breakfast menu so a cheeseburger for breakfast it was! We also ventured down to the bathrooms..and get this.. you have to pay one euro to use the public restroom. My mind was blown.
We finally met up with our professor, Marco, and headed to our first stop—the Colosseum. Sleepy eyed we walked out of the bus station, and all of the sudden I wasn’t so tired anymore. What an amazing site to walk out on the sidewalk and have the Colosseum, Triumphal Arch of Constantine, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum all presented to you in one shot. An architect’s dream-I couldn’t get to my camera fast enough. We stood at the base of the Colosseum and listened to Marco talk for a while and then he walked us around. Past the Roman forum to Vittorio Emmanuele’s monument-which Romans don’t like because “it looks like a wedding cake”.. which isn’t completely false. We saw so many ancient ruins, Rome is truly beautiful. Of course some are preserved, but a lot are also just incorporated throughout the city-another way of preservation, building on top of what is already there. We made a stop at the steps Michelangelo designed, which were quite interesting. Each tread sloped, so it was like a ramp with steps incorporated. We were able to walk around the plaza the steps lead up to and catch new perspectives of the Roman forum.

Marco took us then to the Ghetto..not quite like you may picture it.. and he gave us tips to cross the street. “Cross when it’s green, not when it’s red..” for obvious reasons.. and “look both ways and then just push yourself out into the street.. they will stop. They may scream at you, but they will stop”. Very insightful. We made our way towards the Patheon from here, but of course had to stop by a very important stop-the largest cat populated place in Rome, maybe even in Italy. They live down by a bunch of ruins and are fed twice a day and cared for. Some people took more interest than others.. I was not one of them haha. Finally, we arrived at the Pantheon. Walking in was absolutely breathtaking.. the dome, the occulus, the shear detail of everything was amazing. And what made it even more so was just sitting in the pews and taking it all in, wondering in the back of my mind how they were able to build something like this back then. The scale and the strength.. It just blows my mind.
We were dismissed and set free.. and thus our weekend adventures of miles of walking, sore feet, and “wow” faces began. We sat down for lunch at Miscelanea, which unknown to us at the time was ranked number three in places to eat while you’re in Rome. The waiter was a hoot, joking around the whole time. If Europeans tipped, he would have gotten one no doubt. At the end of the meal he brought us their “sexy wine”. It basically tasted like strawberry soda. Very good. We were confused as to why we got it though. So he pulls out his Rick Steve’s Europe guide book to show us.. low and behold, if you have a Rick Steve’s guidebook on your table while you’re eating, you get their famous sexy wine for free. Hm, good choice!
After we were re-energized we began our journey. Trevi Fountain, and yes we through our coins in. One for me, which means I will return to Rome. I’m not going to argue with that. More stops on our list included a path around the Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, a walk along the river, back to the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain for the night shot, and the Spanish steps. Tired and sore we made our way to the hostel, which actually was a lot nicer than I predicted. Not bad for 13 euro. Morning arrived again, and we were up to beat the crowd at the Vatican. We worked our way through the museum, which included going through Sistine Chapel. Another breathtaking moment.. no pictures were allowed or I would share with you the experience, but I guess I need to leave a little surprise so you have an excuse to come to Rome. After the museum we went to Saint Peter’s Basilica- goal: to make it to the top of the dome by foot to get the amazing overlook of the city. 320 varying stair sizes, heights, and angles later, we made it! I will say, it was worth every single step. We ventured down and into the church-2+football fields long and 7+ stories tall… again, how? We strolled through taking in all the ornament and listening to some of the masses going on. Then we got into the catacombs where all the tombs of prior Popes were. The pope wasn’t in town today so we didn’t get to see him.. maybe next time..
After a stop for food—pizza with prosciutto and on with potatos (only in delicious)- we boarded the subway to get back to the Colosseum. You better believe we weren’t going to leave Rome without seeing the inside! We circled through-again with the shock and awe- and appreciated all the was placed in front of us and this amazing opportunity. Our ticket then got us into Palatine hill and the Roman Forum –finally a view from within, and not the outside. We had to run to the gate because we had about 8 min to spare before the stopped letting people in. We made it and began our walk. The views were absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think words or pictures can describe it. Let’s just say it was a great ending to the trip. I felt like the whole time I was just walking through a postcard. It didn’t feel real, but it was amazing- if this is how every trip is going to be, I’m in for a ride. :)

We boarded the train and headed back to Orvieto-I think it took this trip to make Orvieto feel like home. And boy was I ready to be back. The night was finished with dinner, homework, and a very early bedtime.
Leaving Rome as the sun was setting :)
I love it here.

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