One month ago, I was trying to organize my life from Christmas and get ready to begin the wonderful journey that was the 8 day, 7 night trip to Rome, Italy with my fellow YAV, Christina. Wednesday, the 28th, Christina and I began our trip by leisurely sitting in the airport, having a cuppa and reading (which proves to be a difficult task when, someone like me is trying to steady their nerves). Soon it was that wonderful moment of take off, the time when you know you can't turn back now and must face the challenges, and joys ahead of you with confidence. We landed after a 3 hour plane ride and walked out into the crisp, warm Rome air. We took a train to Termini Station and began our walk to our hotel which was only a 5 minute walk from the station.
The hotel we were staying in for the first half of the trip was fantastic! The rooms were nice, it was in a great spot, very affordable, and the front desk people were very friendly. So if you are headed to Rome and need a place to stay, look up Hotel Elide. I mean who can beat staying just down the road from the Colosseum (we only found out that tid bit of information our last day on that side of the city)?! Our first day adventures consisted of getting lost several times, seeing the Colosseum for the first time, stumbling upon the Trevi Fountain: day and night settings, stumbling also upon the Pantheon at night, and eating some delicious Italian food. Both the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon are absolutely beautiful at night, all lit up. The thing that I think took the cake for me was the amazing food that we had. Fabulous pasta for lunch by the Colosseum and some delicious gnocchi and meatballs for dinner at a place we found while wondering around.
Day two was our day to tour the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. It was awesome to be walking where the Gladiators used to walk and see the place where they used to fight. There are barely words to describe being where the spectators sat, seeing the under ground tunnels and hearing about the intricate workings both on top of the fighting area and underneath (thanks to the audio guide we rented!). After a bite of pizza and a wee rest, we headed off to see the Roman Forum. Walking backwards through the Forum allowed for us to spend a little bit more time exploring the bits that were still under excavation. Something like only 30 or 40% has been excavated which not only allows for continued surprises but also for people's minds to wonder about what treasures could lie below their feet.
New Years Eve, or day three, consisted of wondering around and poking our heads in shops around Rome but also seeing the Spanish Steps. The Steps were absolutely packed but was awesome to see people just relaxing and taking in the wonderful sites that were just presented in front of them. I mean who wouldn't want to relax in the Sun when you are in one of the oldest and beautifulest cities in the world? To ring in the New Year, we decided on hanging out at the Colosseum because not only were they going to have a free concert but the fireworks were supposed to be amazing!! It was sad though that when it came time for the fireworks display, we couldn't see them due to our views being blocked by the trees that lined the street. :( Oh well, I guess we will just have to go back!! :)
Day four was super relaxing and the moving of hotels, which ended up in an adventure itself. We ended up having to take the train to almost the very end, then needing to take a bus to a supermarket parking lot and then walking another 5 minutes to find our hotel. Needless to say, its not as easy as it seems. The hotel we stayed in, though, was super nice.
Days 5 and 6, we visited the Pantheon and the Vatican City. The Pantheon is huge and no matter how you try and take a picture, you will never be able to fit the whole dome in a picture. The Vatican City was full of interesting facts and statues I never knew existed (again, thank you to the audio guide we rented). After seeing the wonderful museums, we eventually made it into the Sistine Chapel. The paintings are beautiful and extremely intricate. Seeing the famous painting on the ceiling can not be described in words. It was beautiful and very humbling to be standing where several great painters once stood and painted absolutely gorgeous paintings onto the walls and ceiling.
Our last day, we went to a famous museum but I think for me the highlight of the day was getting to see St. Peter's Basilica. The size of it is incredible. Absolutely beautiful sculptures of Pope's and breath taking paintings line the sides making it a site that one won't forget as long as they live. The thing that really caught my attention was the window that was letting in a stream of light onto an altar which lies under the baldacchino of Gianlorenzo Bernini (the baldacchino is 98 ft tall and is claimed to be the largest piece of bronze in the world). It was incredible and made you feel like God's presence, although he is with us every day, was truly there. Soon we moved on to stand in the queue to the Dome, both inside and out. 551 steps from the ground to the tip top outside area, several areas which you felt like you were going down into the rabbit's hole in Alice in Wonderland. The view from both inside and outside was incredible. Outside you could see as far as the eye could see (thank goodness for a very sunny day with no clouds) and inside, looking down the people walking around looked like little tiny ants. By the way, if your a little shaky on heights, don't look down either inside or outside even though you are protected by a thick metal fence inside and thick bars outside.
All in all, it was a great trip and won't ever be forgotten. Now its back to EBM and the wonderful programs I am involved in. Its nice to go back to work and to the programs and see all the friends I have made since I arrived back in September. If ever given the opportunity to go to Rome, even for a day, take it!! For now, I will leave you with a few photos from the trip! I hope you enjoy!! Another post to come soon!! Thanks for reading and love to each and every one of you!
|Trevi Fountain at night|
|Pantheon at night|
|Excavation at Roman Forum|
|In the Vatican City|
|Outside St. Peter's Basilica|
|Light onto the altar|
|View of St. Basilica's Plaza|