Monday, February 28, 2011

When in Rome...

This is the fastest I think I have ever updated my blog back to back since I have been here! Yay me! It is because this week is going to be crazy after today, I have a midterm in a class that makes me want to poop my pants when I say the name of it. Then at the end of the week my mom and grandpa come! AHH I am so excited I cannot even explain how excited I am for them to get here. I wish Michael could come too but it will make seeing him in May that much better!

This past weekend I went to Rome for a school field trip. I have to say this was the best school sponsored field trip I have ever been on. They should take kids these kind of places instead of the local bread factory or wherever else they go on field trips. We met our advisors at the train station at 7:45 on Friday morning to catch the train to Rome. This is not that early in the morning but how early we had to wake up in order to get 3 girls ready and walk the 25 minuets to the train station, its early. So after dragging ourselves to the train station we boarded at 8:10. When we arrived in Rome I could not believe how gigantic the train station was. It seriously looked like an airport. There were roped off lines for the ticket booths, restaurants, and stores. I could have stayed there for a good three hours just shopping around. After we all gathered in the train station we piled onto a bus with dozens of other people and made our way to the hotel. It was a little too early to check in so we put our bags in a storage room and were on our way to discover the ancient city. The first stop was the Colosseum. The walk alone to get there was breath taking. Yes, there are some Roman tracings around Florence but nothing like the actual city of Rome. Too see the individuals who lived there walking around the city was amazing, I felt like they had no idea what they were passing. The didn't even look up (or down) to take in the scenery. The Colosseum was stunning. To see something in front of you that had that much history and legacy behind it is amazing. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to remember that I am here and it is not a dream that I can't wake up from. The weather was perfect as well, 55 and clear blue skies. Of course everything is better when the sun is out, but I would have liked the Colosseum just as much if was raining. After we visited the Colosseum we had some free time to grab some lunch. The group of 20 split off into the normal groups we hang out with and searched for somewhere to eat. We ended up eating at this Trattoria down the road from the monument. We all ordered pizza that was the equivalent of a medium size pizza from home, however we always manage to eat the whole thing without any second guesses. The pizza was fantastic. After we ate lunch we of course had to stop for Gelato on the corner, because we have to follow every meal with dessert no matter what city/county we are in, it has just become a way of life. We then had to meet back up with the advisors at 2:30 to tour the Roman Forum. This was amazing too, it had a ton of historical and important memorabilia associated along with it. It is hard to describe because of all the history that would have to be described with it. There are tons of pictures from their on my Facebook though so feel free to look at those! After we were done with the Forum we walked to the Pantheon. This was extremely unique because of the giant circular hole that was carved out of the ceiling of the building. This is the only time in my life I wished for rain, because when it rains the gapping hole in the ceiling does no get covered, the rain shoots down in a round sheet into drains on the floor. That has to look awesome when it happens. We were then allowed to go back to the hotels and get situated in our rooms with a free night ahead of us. We all decided we wanted to see the Trevi fountain at night so we unfolded our maps and made our way there. Either we are given dummy proof maps or we are really smart because I have yet to get lost in a city (knock on wood). It also helps that the main places tourists visit are marked on street signs with arrows pointing you in the right direction. This was another one of the monuments in Rome that just made you stop and stare without wanting to blink. It was illuminated with lights that seared through the crystal blue water. Absolutely breathtaking. Once again being the tourists that we are we had to throw coins into the fountain and make a wish. It is custom to do so in hopes that you will return to Rome one day, but since I know I am going back there in two weeks I made another wish! After the fountain visit we grabbed some dinner and made our way back to the hotel for an early night.

The next morning we woke up around 7 and had free breakfast at the hotel. I am not sure if it actually was really good or if it just tasted good because we didn't have to pay for it, probably the latter. When we finished breakfast we walked to the Vatican City to tour the museum and St. Peter's Basilica. I have heard that St. Peter's Square was massive but had no idea how big it actually was. Or the fact that Vatican was actually a city of its own. Once again my lack of knowledge of religion becomes evident. Another great aspect of traveling with school is that we did not have to wait in any lines all weekend to enter places. We had reservation times and just showed up when we had too and walked right in. The first on the agenda was tour the Vatican Museum. This would have been just another walk through rooms filled with ancient painting and sculptures if it was not for the art history teacher Rocky who teaches at KSU Florence. I am not taking this class but really wish I did after being with him for an afternoon. Not only is he attractive, he is filled with knowledge that you would not believe. This man literally knew everything there was to know about the places we visited on Saturday. It was amazing, and I never wanted to leave his side. I was going to ask if I could bring him back to Rome with my mom and grandpa so he could give them the same experience but he might have found that a little strange. I am going to try and regurgitate the main points he told us to my mom and grandpa so they understand what they are looking at as well. At the end of the Vatican Museum tour we ended up in the Sistine Chapel. Now, when we first walked in I did not even know we were in the Sistine Chapel. It was nothing like I expected. I have never seen pictures of it but I was still expecting something totally different. After looking at the ceiling with an open mind and the extensive background given by Rocky I appreciated it a lot more. the detail that went into this painting it is just amazing I cannot describe it in words. Another place that you must visit sometime in your life. After thinking I could not be impressed anymore in one day we went to St. Peter's Basilica. This church was immaculate. More grand than anything I have ever witnessed in my entire life. There is a bronze frame above where St. Peter is buried that alone is 10 stories high, keep in mind that is inside of a building. I could have stayed in there for days just looking at every detail that went into creating this masterpiece. Once again after the school sponsored activities we had the afternoon free to ourselves. We were all starving at this point and decided to find somewhere to eat lunch. We settled on a restaurant down the road from the Vatican. Biggest. Mistake. Ever. First of all never eat somewhere where the worker comes out to the street and harasses you to eat at their restaurant. At first it sounded extremely appealing. The food looked fantastic and the prices were not that bad for being so close to the Vatican. After we ordered we sat at the table waiting for it to be done. This is when we realized we picked the wrong place to eat. While sitting there we noticed that our "homemade meals" we being put into a microwave because they were FROZEN. Yes, I went to Rome, Italy and ate a Lean Cuisine for lunch. Now this would not be too bad because I like frozen dinners but not when it tastes awful and costs me 13 Euro. Let me remind you that 13 Euro is around 18 U.S Dollars. Hardly worth it. After consuming this awful meal we decided we needed treats to cleanse our pallets. This is when we stumbled upon a bakery where I had a fig/raison/nut bar. It was pretty much heaven in the form of a pastry. This was of course was on our way to the Piazza Di Spanga where the Spanish Steps are located. This again was something I had pictured in my head and it was totally different from what I expected it to be. They were smaller than I thought and quite dirty. It was a beautiful day so of course it was extremely crowded as well. So we all sat on the steps and enjoyed the sun before it was lost behind a building. After sun bathing we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Once again a weekend trip that 99.99% of the time I am eating. One thing about being in this country, you will never go hungry, ever. This meal however was paid for on our school fees so we did not have to pay out of the pocket when we ate which was nice (thanks mom and dad)! We ate like true Italians with the courses. The first course was pasta with pesto, second was pasta with meat & tomato sauce, third was a salad, fourth was veil and potatoes, and finally tiramisu with espresso for dessert. I was so full I almost needed to be rolled back to the hotel. After dinner we went out to a bar by the hotel and grabbed drinks and hung out for a while then went to sleep.

The last day in Rome (Sunday) we woke up and had free breakfast again and got our stuff ready so the rooms could be cleaned. After gathering at the boys hotel a few blocks away we got on a bus and headed for the Galleria Borghese. This was not the highlight of the trip for me. I am not sure if it was because I was so tired or just really uninterested. I feel like most of the art in Italy is very similar in style and repeats itself quite often. However, it is awesome to say that I have been there. After this we ate lunch and headed back to Florence. Of course it rained on Sunday. I have come to the conclusion that it rains every Sunday no matter what city or country you are in. We have just become used to it by now.

This entry was a little long, but I do like the details. Stay tuned for the next entry!!

TaTa for Now!

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