Monday, November 25, 2013


22 November Friday

Night trains = not the best sleep...but this wasn't horrible.

We pulled into the Roma Termini train station at 9:30, we went down to the Metro and bought some public transportation tickets.  We took it two stops to "Colosseo"...and this is what we saw when we walked out of the station-


We went to the Colosseum and waited in a 20-minute line to get a tour.  The tour was shorter than we anticipated, so Garrison, Tanner and I stayed in for another hour reading things and looking at little artifacts and circling the whole structure.  Here are some things I learned:

It was built (finished) in the year 80 AD.
The actual name of the Colosseum was "the Flavian Amphitheater".
Nero used to have a huge palace over here that covered many acres...
The amphitheater was built where one of Nero's fake lakes was previously...but his palace was destroyed.
They did use it for fights and games, and then it was abandoned for a bit, then someone used it as a palace?...then it was abandoned again...then there were some pretty crazy earthquakes FOURTY years long..!!  So the building just fell apart pretty much.  Then people stole a bunch of the stones that were loose on the ground and took them across the river to build St. Peter's Basilica!!

So this was just too amazing.  I can't even believe any human built this SO LONG ago, and so much of it is still standing.  Sadly there is scaffolding on the main side of it, also on the arch of Constantine :( but still pretttty.  A lot of these photos might look the same to you but just wow.

waiting for our tour guide
the underground...
this was called "graffiti"

So the three of us left the Colosseum, and we met up with Amy, Caelyn, and Klint outside on a hill by the Constantine arch.  Lexi and Katie were together somewhere else because they have been to the Colosseum recently/already.  They were taking a while to get back...but we were eating lunch we had packed (apple and plums for me, cake for the boys...haha).  I walked around a bit waiting for them to come.  It was already 2:00, and everybody decided (after already waiting forever!!!!!) that they wanted to go to the hostels (we are in two separate ones) and drop off our that I said no way I want to keep looking around!  So they went in two different groups, and I stayed around the Colosseum at the Roman Forum (=a HUGE amount of Roman ruins) because my ticket got me in there and I knew I wouldn't have time tomorrow.  We planned on meeting at the Pantheon at 3:00.

there's still cool bark even in Rome
arch of Constantine
the entrance to the Forum
These ruins were awesome.  First, I went over to this church that is on the right kinda in the distance in this photo... is pinkish and is like a broken half dome thing, open facing the Colosseum.  That is the first place I went.

...because the view was perfect

This was in the back of that church.  Apparently there was a huge statue of a goddess back here, in a similar-looking arch, but the only part that remains is this small chunk of her dress.

iPhone panorama

So I finished the Forum at 3:00....I was already late for our meeting time and I was literally RUNNING through those ruins trying to see EVERYTHING!  You could spend hours in there honestly.  It made me sad to be rushed but at least I got to see it!  Need to make time for more things!

So this is what Rome looks like...honestly just random ruins everywhere...around the main streets, in front of buildings, attached to buildings, everything.  And there are random churches all over the place.

This is the Monument de Vittorio Emanuele II I think.  We never really knew exactly what it was or what it is for but it sure is beautiful!!  It was raining hard...super cloudy.  At this busy part of town I was picturing Ethan with his missionary tag walkin up and down the streets past all this historical stuff!  He is in Sicily right now.

I had a map, but I asked some people along the way to make sure I was going the right way, which was good.  I was only slightly wrong once.

So I made it to the Pantheon at 3:20 ish...and NOBODY WAS THERE.  I hung out outside for a while...then got sick of the rain so I went inside and got to see the tomb of Raphael.  This is the largest remaining roofed Roman building.  There is an oculus in the top that is completely open to the sky!  Since it was raining the floor was wet in the middle so it was roped off.  It was all so beautiful and perfect.

Soooo by now it's 3:40 and I still hadn't seen anybody...starting to get a tiny bit worried.  There were men out front trying to get people to buy tickets to ballets and operas and things like that, and they all speak English, so I asked one of them where a good place to get good-priced warm food is around here, because all the cafes looked super fancy and overpriced and not that great.  He pointed me to a pizza place around the corner along the side of the Pantheon, and I went there and got this square pizza folded in half for just over 4 Euro.  It had eggplant on it..!!  It was really sweet and yummy and warm.  I ate it on the steps of the Pantheon.

Let me say that again,

I ate this pizza on the steps of the Pantheon.

So when the clock hit 4:00 and I STILL hadn't seen anybody, I decided I shouldn't waste any more time, especially because it was starting to get dark outside.  I found two things I wanted to see on my map that were relatively close, so I left and went to check them out.

First, I went to this large church at Piazza Novana which has this huge fountain by Bernini.  It is of the four rivers (the men = rivers).  It is so amazing.  He is incredible!!  It was getting dark so my pictures might be a bit rough...and the rain and wind was umbrella got blown inside out a couple times hahaha.

Piazza Novana
Around another corner, I went to the Cathedral of Luis the French (or Luigi in Italian) where there is a Caravaggio triptych.  It was awesome!  It is of some happenings with St. Matthew.  I wish I had known more about it...I read all that I could.  Even without knowing all of the story, his painting style is amazing.

I left the church...and it was dark outside.


I went back around the corner to the Pantheon, which was beautifully lit up.  I was surprised at where this was...the square out front was not that big, and the Pantheon wasn't even that big!  I imagined it being up on a hill somewhere with a huge square out front.  Not so!!  Just tucked away back between a bunch of buildings!

I didn't see anybody outside...Garrison has a bright orange/yellow/blue beanie and I was looking for that.  It was pouring hard still, so I went inside...there were SO many people inside.  BUT I SAW GARRISON'S BEANIE!  I walked through everybody as fast as I could and just hugged him hahahahahah.  They all hugged me and we got a little bit loud I guess and were asked to be quiet (too typical) so we went outside and talked.  They had just gotten there like ten minutes before I did!  Which means they were an hour and a half late to our meeting time!!

So we had two hostels.  Group 1 = Caelyn, Katie, Tanner, Garrison, Klint.
Group 2 = Lexi, Amy (and I'm in the hostel with them)

Group 1 got lost...AND Katie's iPhone got snatched right out of her buttoned pocked on the bus!  So they stayed on that bus for a while looking around to make sure it hadn't fallen....but no luck.  Pickpockets are crazy here!!

Group 2 got on the Metro...well they tried to.  It was shut down for some reason!  Amy asked some guy when it would be fixed and he didn't she and Lexi had to find the bus stop and figure out which one would take them to the street of our hostel.  Once they got on the bus, the doors didn't close and it didn't move for like 15 minutes!  I guess there was an accident so it couldn't leave.  What are the odds of all of this!  Then they couldn't find the building forever...but finally were able to check in.


So we got gelato and went to a souvenir shop.  We found cool t shirts for really cheap!!  Then we went off a recommendation from Group 1's hostel on a place to eat dinner called Carlomente.  They had a tourist menu--four courses for 13.  We sat outside under a heated tent, and we could hear the rain coming down hard.  It was nice to sit down and get warm.  The heat lights made the lighting crazy on my camera hahahaah.

My meal: bruschetta, noodles....Penne "Carlo Menta", then this bacon on pork and it was really oily... it was the Saltimbocca alla romana.  I got creme caramel for dessert.  The noodles were easily the best part...SO AMAZING.

After dinner, group 1 wanted to go to their hostel (we were close).  Amy, Lexi and I had to cross town to get to our hostel, and it was only 8:45 I think when we finished eating, so we made some stops...we went back to the Colosseum in the dark.  It was beautiful.  Not many people were around, it was quiet and pouring rain and just glowing.  It felt bigger.

pickpocket warning...haha

Then we went to the Trevi Fountain!!  The rain stopped for the 15 minutes while we were there!!! There weren't many people there that late either.  We threw money in the fountain which is a promise to a return to Rome!  This fountain surprised me just like the Pantheon was just in this random little space between buildings.  No big just turn a corner and there it is!

iPhone panorama
selfie with the Trevi.
I got some overpriced hot was good though.

We got to our hostel at 10:45 or something I think?  It is super nice.  We have our own bathroom and it is clean and nice.  We had to unpack things out of our backpacks and open our umbrellas so things would get dry!  My jeans I had packed in the bottom of my backpack were soaked...haha.

We had reliable wifi, so I was able to call Dad on FaceTime audio and we talked for a while and he told me about things I needed to get done for sure, and I told him how things were going.  I made another little list of more things to see, googled maps and times and prices...while Lexi and Amy were snoring hahaha.

Such an incredible day.

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