Monday, November 9, 2009

Italy!!!! (Days 2 & 3 of our trip)

It is SOOOOOOOOOOO amazing here!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't even describe how great it is!!!!!
( I have added albums of our days - TONS of pics! Just skim or look at them all if you want!)

I love how Joe has described the first part of our time here.

November 7, 2009
Got up and packed and took the trains to the airport. That was quite a chore. Sat around the airport for like 4 hours. Did a lot of reading and listening to my Italian tapes. Then some old Turkish woman who looked just like an old Russian Babooshka came and asked to use our cell phone. She wanted to make a call to Turkey. She didn’t speak a lick of English. I finally communicated to her that it cost too much money f
or me to call Turkey on my cell phone, and she went away, lol. The flight to Italy was quite long. Jen slept ok, but I maybe got in 30 minutes of sleep. I mostly read and listened to my Italian tape.

November 8, 2009
Arrived in Italy about 7am local time. We found our tour bus, but they only had 1 bus and were expecting 50 ppl, but we needed 2 busses as we had 90 ppl. So we sat around the airport for like 2 hours waiting for our second group to arrive and the tour ppl to get their stuff straightened out. When we all finally got on the bus we were missing 1 person. Turns out it was someone whose bags got lost, so when we couldn’t find her we just left. Poor Girl. The busses took us to our hotel, but the rooms weren’t ready so we unloaded all our bags into 2 rooms. One of the guys had to argue with the cleaning woman about how she couldn’t cl
ean the room with all our bags in there. Then we got on the bus, with no time for lunch, and headed out. This was about 11am local time. So many ppl were tired and sleeping during the tour. We got out several times. We walked around the coliseum, and walked by a soccer field that was all dirt and mud and pools of water from all the recent rain, but ppl were still playing on it. These adult teams with some pretty old ppl playing too. That was really funny. Then we got out at the Vatican and saw the front of St. Peter’s Basillica. Then got out one last time to look at some square, I forget the name. Then they dropped us off at our hotel, and we took our bags to our room then went out and explored Rome. That was way cool. We went and saw this church down the street, then I bought Jen an orange rose from a roadside florist. On the way to the church we stopped at a bakery and Jen got a truffle. Then we wandered up to this other church but didn’t go in, saw the Laundromat, then back to our hotel. I got in another 30 min nap then we went to dinner. We sat with Paul and Sarah which was fun, and had a great dinner. Bread, soup (minestrone kind of), mashed potatos and meatballs with peas. Then this weird dessert in a shot glass. Some kind of custard. Jen says she thinks that the alcohol wasn’t totally burned off because she felt a little tipsy. I didn’t taste any alcohol in it. After dinner we went back and took a bath. The towels smelled like vinegar, and they weren’t incredibly absorbent. The toilet is like a 5 gallon per flush thing that splashes when you flush. And the beds are about like box springs. But with the windows open we can hear Rome, which is all scooters and crazy European sounding police sirens and cars driving by. It’s so awesome to listen to.

Day 2
The flight was pretty uneventful. I got some decent sleep and felt great when we got to Italy. We got to the airport and had to wait for the other group. We loaded the buses and headed to our hotel in Rome. Once there we dumped all our crap into 2 rooms and headed out to see parts of Rome. We started out on a bus tour of Italy since the rooms weren't ready yet. We saw all the major points(The Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, Santa Maria Maggiore, Altare della Patria, St Angelos Castel, St Peters Square at the Vatican and Piazza Navona) and made notes of what we wanted to make sure we saw better with our free days. Once the hotel was ready for our group we took our stuff to our room and we headed out to see Rome on foot. We saw some beautiful churches and were able to actually witness a baby christening!!! That was pretty cool. Found a yummy bakery and had this great chocolate treat. Have no clue what it was called but I want one again! We had to head back to the hotel for dinner where we stayed till they kicked us out of the dining room.

The next day(Day 3) was a free day in Rome!!! We just wandered all day! Some of the best things were
-Trevi Fountain
-The Spanish Steps
-The Pantheon
-Basilica di San Giovanni
-All the things we saw the day before only at night!!!
-Tons of soccer stores
-Great food

We bumped into a couple in our group Riina and Junstin. They are from Colorado. We had lunch with them and enjoyed a few of the sites then split into our own directions. I had hoped to find them at the Pantheon so we could get gelato together bit we didn't see them. We did quite a bit of shopping at the shops for soccer jersey's. I think Joe found 5!!! (I'm keeping a tally for my shoe revenge) It rained off and on all day. It wasn't too cold so it was pleasant I guess... We wandered the streets of Rome as night fell. We found our selves in front of the Colosseum with all teh lights glowing. It was breathtaking. We walked around that whole area again seeing all the buildings lit up. We found the restaurant that a student had blogged about. It was perfect!! It reminded me of what JP's would be like if they were in Rome 20 yrs in the future. It felt like home. The food was excellent and we told everyone about it when we came back.