Postcard From Rome

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

There's no place like Rome, there's no place like Rome

The first weekend in March, Madi, Cheryl and I headed to Rome for two days! We left Friday morning on the train. We opted for the three hour train, instead of the faster one because it was about half the cost! On this train ride, not only did they check our tickets, but also out passports. This was a little different then our first train ride. Also, while the man was checking our tickets, he noticed Madi's foot was rested on one of the chairs. (She is tall, and never has enough leg room. It was barely on the chair, but the man gave her a look. Later, he even brought the guy to us who cleans the train cabins! It was a little awkward, but now we know to not put your feet on the chairs! To help kill the time, I downloaded The Lizzie McGuire Movie (which takes place in Rome) for us to watch on the train. Every time I told someone (well most of my girl friends!) that I was studying abroad they always mentioned this movie! I think growing up, after watch this movie, most girls dreamed of going to Rome and having their own Lizzie McGuire moment! Watching the movie was a major throwback, but so enjoyable at the same time. (Let's remember the movie came out when I was around seven...... and I'm now nineteen!)

We arrived in Rome in the early afternoon. The hostel we were staying at for the weekend, was only a short walk from the train station, so we didn't have to travel far! We couldn't actually check in to our room, but most hostels have a luggage area to leave your bags. This hostel, had lockers that you made your own code for. The lockers were also deep enough to fit all three of our backpacks. It was a win, win situation!

From our hostel, we headed to the Trevi Fountain for our first stop in Rome. The weather was perfect! I wanted to take advantage of the sun since this was one of things I was most excited to see! It definitely did not disappoint! There was a good amount of people here, but we easily managed to walk closer to the fountain. We first found a little ledge to sit on and take it all in! We then made it past the selfie sticks to the front of the fountain to take pictures. Once all the picture possibiltes were taken care of, we decided to go find food. While we were walking, one of the street artists was singing "Knocking' on Heaven's Door" and it brought back memories of right after my daddy passing away. I felt like I hadn't heard that song in forever, but what are the odd's that I hear it in Rome! After walking around we, decided to just get gelato and eat it by the Trevi Fountain. Couldn't complain about that!

This is what dreams are made of!

Life is good!

From the Trevi Fountain, we decided to head to the Colosseum. Not knowing how long we would spend in the Colosseum, we decided to grab lunch on the way there. We passed this restaurant, with an area outside. They even had blankets, which I thought was a cute touch! We don't have much criteria when picking places to eat. We usually avoid places that have pictures on their menu because we are told those are more tourist places. I always look for a TripAdvisor sticker, because that means someone liked it! Food, as in most cases in Italy, was not disappointing.

From lunch, we continued on our walk towards the Colosseum. When we got close, the area by where the Colosseum felt like a whole other word. You could see the outside of the Roman Forum and Palentine Hills and the Colosseum in the distance. Birds were flying all over. Man, even the trees were different. I even felt like I was in Disney World!

I don't know how to describe this performance, but it was neat!

When we got closer to the Colosseum, we started looking for the ticket booth. We went into one informational place, they told us that the ticket booth closed at 4:00pm. It was 4:13pm. We were a little bummed, because if we had known that, we would have not stopped to eat. But I guess you live and learn. We continued to walk around the Colosseum, take pictures, and then headed up to Capital Hill. (Which Madi matched!) From there, we walked to the Pantheon and spent time in that area.

We may or may not have skipped from rock to rock. Deciding, if our foot missed the rock, we would be in lava. Yes, we are in college. 

My trusted Nikes. Bless them. 

Bubbles make me happy! Sorta, regret not trying this myself!

From the Pantheon, we decided to head back to our hostel to check in. We were able to check in  without any issues! We stayed in a six person, female only room. There were three bunk beds and a small bedroom. Only one lady was in there when we arrived. She was on her IPad on the bed. We started to get settled, and our friend Cheryl started to make conversation with her. I'm glad Cheryl was with us because she is outgoing, and can start a conversation with anyone! (I sorta adore her, she is a pretty great human being!) If it was just Madi and I, we would probably just talk to ourselves. The lady was older, from Canada, and traveling by herself. (Well, herself and a map!) I thought that was so neat, because I feel like I would be afraid to do that on my own! It also made me wonder, if she had a significant other or any children she could have traveled with. The more places we go, the more I think how romantic some of these places are. I can only imagine what it would be like to bring someone you love! She told us about some of her traveling plans. When she mentioned Florence, we told her some of our favorite spots. Her native language is French, but she was speaking very good English with us! She even asked about our opinions of Donald Trump. Later on two more ladies arrived, but we headed back out to grab some dinner. We stopped at restaurant we passed coming home. We each got two courses.... it was so filling after a day of walking.

The next morning we got an early to start to make sure we had enough time to see everything! Before we left the hostel, we asked the front desk guys the best way to get to the Vatican from the Colosseum. He showed us the bus stops on the map, making it easy to understand! I'm glad we did this, because we would of had no clue what bus to get on! With a plan for the day and directions, we headed to the Colosseum. The area walking towards the Colosseum was a lot less packed than the prior afternoon. We went straight for the ticket booth and then straight into the Colosseum. We walked around, eavesdropped on some of the tours going around us. I love looking at the tour guide's sticks and what they have on top of them. Mostly they have a flag of some sort, but we saw one with a pink loofah.... it killed me!

Bought Peanut M&M's because they reminded me of Kenny! Saved them for a snack!

Cornettos are life. 

After we spent time in the Colosseum, we headed towards Palentine Hill and the Roman Forum. We read more about each place with the help from Cheryl's book! We all continued to imagine what the area would have been like in it's prime. Once we saw everything that we could, we walked back towards Capital Hill to find the bus station. It took us a few minutes and some time asking for directions to find the stop. From there, getting on the bus went smoothly and off to the Vatican we went!

Free water, is the best water

We didn't pre-order our tickets for the Vatican. The line wasn't too long, and it probably took about an hour to get to the front! With our student visas, we got our tickets for $8 instead of $15. (every penny counts!) We decided not to get an audio tour, instead Madi downloaded an app on her phone. The app went through each section of the Vatican, and told you all about it! Madi listened, then would relay the information. We only had spent about two hours in the Vatican until we arrived at the Sistine Chapel. It was crazy finally seeing something you have heard about your whole life. (Well you can say this about everything in Rome!) Sometimes, the moment was ruined by the workers saying, "No Pictures." Well, more like yelling it. While you could see the Sistine Chapel everyday, I decided I wouldn't like that job of yelling at people. We could have spent way more time in the Vatican, but we had to head home! We stopped in front of St. Peter's Basilica on the way back to the bus stop to head to the hostel. Sadly, We didn't have enough time to go in. I guess the just gives me an excuse to come back to Rome on day.

Once we got our backpacks from the hostel lockers, we headed towards the train station. We grabbed dinner at McDonald's because we all were needing some fries in out life. (Don't judge!) We then went to go find our train. The board said "1EST." We really weren't sure what this meant. We asked one of the workers once we passed the ticket gate. He just kept saying "1EST" over and over again and pointing straight. So, we sorta walked around by the trains like lost puppies we figured it was just one of the trains in front of us. I guess he noticed we were still confused (and not by 1EST) , and pointed to the left. We finally understood we had to walk along the side further. Luckily we had plenty of time to walk to the train, because it was a good 5-10 minute walk from where we are standing! Plus, we now know what "1EST" means!! The train ride was painless, and they didn't even ask for our tickets. Once we left the train station, we headed home! (yay bed!) Since it was late, Cheryl walked home with us then called an Uber. Yes, they are Ubers in Italy! We haven't used one yet, but she said he was really nice! I guess taking an Uber in Florence can be one of our next adventures!


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