I told you guys I’d be back with more Europe posts, and I am not one to disappoint! As I was sitting here thinking about the rest of the time Joni and I spent in Roma, a vision of dozens of posts swarmed before my eyes. You see, we fit in so much, and saw so many things, that it would take me forever to write it all up. So, I’m going to do something a little different. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here we go:
The Colosseum was an incredible experience, and when I asked Joni later, she said it was one of her favorite things that we did. Why? Because it’s some of the coolest history we have. (Side note, you can click on any of the pictures in groups to make them larger).
There’s nothing like visiting these ancient buildings and trying to wrap your mind around the fact that people, real people, lived and fought and died here 2500 years ago.
Along with the Colosseum, we went to the Vatican Museum, where we saw the Sistine Chapel and rubbed shoulders with thousands of other awed visitors.
We also found out that the Sistine Chapel, where no photos are allowed, is actually enormous, and the most famous panel within it is actually quite small:
We visited St. Peter’s Basilica, listened to audio guides about a thousand dead popes, and got to see some of the best religious art in the world.
We walked through the Roman Forum, an entire city’s worth of ruins that culminate in a palace overlooking the Circus Maximus (where the old chariot races were held).
We went to the Trevi Fountain and the top of the Piazza Venezia, which the Romans hate because it’s made of white marble, but looks just as beautiful to us:
We ate more gelato than any person has a right to- though the best was the one separately recommended to us by two different tour guides.
We made real, Italian pasta in a class taught by a real, Italian chef. And then we ate every last bite.
We drank bottles of wine and climbed the entire city and when people asked us if we were tired, we stared.
Because this is what Rome is about. It’s life. It’s the past and the present and the art, all mashed together into one teeming, thriving city.
Well hello! Long time no talk! That’s because I’ve been busy making memories. And guys, do I have some stories to tell you. But! First things first. I’ve spent the last 9 days in Rome, where I’ve made new friends, spent time with old ones, and got to show an Italy noob around. (As if I’m not one)
Let’s begin from the beginning, shall we?
I previously told you guys that I was staying in an ancient farmhouse in Tuscany, with no wifi and lots of animals. Well, my day to leave came around and I packed everything up, dragged my suitcase to the car, and let the farmer’s son drive me the half hour to the train station. I was waiting on the platform with Nala, barely five minutes before leaving, when I realized that I had forgotten my wallet. You will recognize this as something that I absolutely cannot lose. Luckily, the farmer’s son had gone to the market and hadn’t left the village yet. I caught him as he got to his car, and he escorted me back to the farm, where my wallet sat waiting. D’oh. Unfortunately, this also meant I missed my train, and my connecting one, which put me in Rome at 4pm rather than 12pm. This sucks all by itself, but my friend Sarah (hi Sarah!) had come down from Germany for the weekend and landed at 9am. She was forced to wander alone while I languished in the Tuscan countryside. Such is life.
Pause here for a moment while I tell you guys about this game that my mom got me. It’s called Anywhere, and can be found on Amazon.
I hadn’t played it before, since I didn’t want to be a lonely loser, but Sarah and I spent the entire weekend playing and had an absolute blast. It features such cards as “make up a silly walk,” and “pick someone to follow around. Follow them for as long as possible.” You better believe we followed a man wearing incredibly tight pants all throughout the city.
Our second night in the city was amazing and ridiculous and just…well let me tell you. We made the bus ride to the Coliseum, during which an incredibly drunk man sat thirteen inches away from us and made awkward, unending, eye contact for half an hour. He was undoubtedly fascinated by us, to the point where he attempted to read our cards and even check out the pictures I was showing Sarah on my phone. After an understandably creepy amount of time had passed, we finally managed to hop off the bus and make a run for it before he realized we were gone. Upon reaching the Coliseum, however, we found out it was closed. Staring at it, and the various people milling around inside, Sarah turned to me and said, “I think I need a drink.”
And thus began our adventures.
We started first at a hipster bar, where the bartender did his best to impress Sarah and accidentally threw an entire bottle of liquor on the floor. Then they gave us free shots because they forgot to give us our bruschetta.
Suitably tipsy, we made our way to a highly recommended pizza shop, where we told the wait would be a half hour and finally got a table two hours later. In the meantime, we wandered the streets and even managed a few words with a Syrian shopkeeper, who was very impressed by us.
Finally sitting down, we ordered an entire liter of red wine and devoured a whole pizza each. We closed the shop down at midnight, after the exasperated waitress asked us for the third time whether we wanted to order any more food.
Then, because I had told Sarah I’d always wanted to go to an Ice Bar, she looked one up and we made our way over there. We arrived at 12:30, and the guy at the entrance paused, my credit card in his hand, before telling me to look up at the live feed inside the bar. It. Was. Empty. I mean literally not a single person was inside. Having saved us 30 Euros (for a cover fee), we thanked him profusely and asked for bar recommendations. He directed us to the Nag’s Head, a Scottish pub which he promised would have people in it.
Also, I just need to tell you guys what we looked like at this point. Sarah was dressed all in black, from head to toe, and I was wearing sky blue leggings with a hot pink workout shirt that read “After this…pizza.” Oh, and my red Gryffindor sweater. So basically we were hot babes and everyone knew it.
In contrast, the pub was full of middle-aged women in club attire, with full face makeup. Seeing we were completely out-dressed, we hurriedly redid our hair from ‘ponytail’ to ‘inside-out ponytail.’ Very effective.
We then continued to play Anywhere, enjoying glasses of Guinness and dancing around awkwardly at our very own table. At one point, Sarah walked into the kitchen (on purpose) before hurriedly being shoved out by a very distressed waiter and waved in the direction of the bathrooms.
It was at this point, after having been alone for approximately 30 seconds, that an Indian man named Tareq came over and made himself comfortable at our table. Now, it was very loud in the bar, and I had a really hard time hearing him. So every time he spoke, I would turn to Sarah (who had come back from the bathroom) and ask her what he said.
It was because of this that I thought he was a writer. For the Vatican. After asking a million questions about what he wrote, he exasperatedly told us that he was a waiter and that he served people food for a living. Oops.
I mean seriously, this guy would not leave our table. So in desperation, I stood up, eyed the bar, and beckoned a different table full of men over in order to get him to leave. And, I mean, it worked. He did leave. But then we were stuck with this other table full of men. So…it was better?
We ended up spending the rest of the night hanging out with these guys, before they tried really hard to get us to go home with them. I mean, come on guys, we’re not fourteen. We know what you’re trying here.
So it was with great enjoyment that I watched Sarah break down into full hysterics over her lost necklace, fabricating a hilarious and semi-realistic excuse to leave. And let me tell you- she didn’t half-ass it here. She went all out, sobbing, tearing at her hair, looking all over the floor, etc. etc. I even made up a nice backstory, telling the guys with us that it was from her dead mother and literally irreplaceable.
Since she was just *so* upset, we had to make a quick break for it. Running off down the road, I called an Uber, which was just minutes away when the guys from the bar caught up to us. I’m fairly certain they saw us chit-chatting, with Sarah perfectly fine, before she broke down again, RAN TO THE NEAREST CAB, and climbed in, screaming for me to join her. I, being the good friend that I was, couldn’t just leave her, and shrugged woefully at the poor bar guys before joining her in the cab.