Welcome to My Blog!

What can I say? I like to travel.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ciao, Roma!

I’m in Rome. I’m IN Rome. I’m in ROME. It’s a simple sentence, but one that I have forgotten many, many times these last few days. I’ll be sitting, drinking some coffee in a little café, lost in my own world when BAM! I step outside and nearly run into the Pantheon. THE Pantheon.

St. Peter's crowd before Sunday Mass. Hey, is that the Pope? Nah, just some Priest.
  It’s only been three days, and I feel as though I’ve seen so much already, but yet not enough. Day one of my journey consisted of dragging my jet-lagged self into my Roman apartment at 8:30 in the morning (2:30 am Houston time), buying my first (and not even close to last) cup of gelato, taking a bridge over the Tiber, and checking out Castel Sant’Angelo—the Mausoleum of Hadrian turned fortress turned museum. Our apartment is literally right next to the Vatican, on the Via Vaticana. We pass by St. Peter’s everyday on our walk into town.

19th Century Mall
Day two consisted of attempting to see Pope Francis at Sunday mass at St. Peter’s, the a looong (4 mile) walk to the Fontana de Trevi, Pantheon, and then back to home base. One of the coolest parts of the day was befriending this Italian guy named Carlo. He was selling pictures on a road between the Fontana de Trevi in the Pantheon. Carlo recommended this fantastic sandwich shop for lunch, where I had the Napoli—buffalo mozzarella, basil, tomato, and basil. The basil is SO fresh everywhere. I love it so much!
Street Performers by the Fontana de Trevi
  The entire class (all 10 of us) were invited to Mr. Pihas’ (one of our tutors) place in Rome for dinner. He and his Italian wife Francesca fed us a fantastic dinner of fine Italian salami, cheese, pasta, and nut-covered gelato (pine nuts and ice cream are a surprisingly awesome combination). The conversation was great, but the food was even better. Alex, Jeremy and I learned some helpful Italian phrases from Francesca (il chibo e multo buono).
Fountain outside of the Pantheon

Today was the first day of class. A few of us woke up early to eat some breakfast (conetto e caffe latte) before catching the 8 o’clock class to the Visconti, an old Jesuit school that’s loaning us a room. St. John’s classes are student-led and discussion-based, pretty similar to my Plan II World Literature class last year. We discussed Plato’s Symposium, and we actually voluntarily ran over the time limit because we all had so much to say! Hahah I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before…St. John definitely has a unique educational culture, and I think (or rather hope) that it’s rubbing off on me a bit.

Inside the Pantheon
 After class, a number of us—me, Alex, Nancy, Matt, Nick, Jeremy, and Cho—walked around looking for a cheap and good spot for lunch, and eventually had to run in and ask some random hotel concierge for a recommendation.  He sent us to a delicious, but not so cheap restaurant where I ordered pasta with the best pesto I’ve ever had in my life.

Egg Pasta with Pesto, Tomatoes, and Cheese 

At 2 o’clock today we had our first Italian class. To our surprise, the ENTIRE class is conducted in Italian—no inglese allowed! It was difficult to keep up at first, but class soon became a long string of games—hangman with Italian Pronunciations, false identities, and tongue twisters. Also surprise! We actually have homework. And a final. And I’m not even taking the Italian class for credit…

One of the many Vespa-drivers scooting around the city
 Alex, Jeremy and I headed over to the Spanish Steps after lunch, which honestly weren’t too exciting. We then walked to the Ara Pacis, which, to our dismay, is closed on Mondays. We ran into this post modern artist outside the Ara Pacis, however, who had set up all these individual statements about consumerism. My personal favorites were a broken umbrella labeled “Gucci Bending Umbrella, 2500 euro” and a bowl full of face-painted rocks labeled “Narcissus”.

Honestly, I have no idea what this is. But it's pretty. 
My impressions of Rome so far? I love how all the fountains and public drinking spots are powered by aqueducts, but find it odd that we actually have to pay for water in a restaurant. It was also a shock to realize that Rome exists as an actual living and breathing city that's moved on from its context that I am used to--ancient history. Don't get me wrong--history is everywhere; it's just strange to see a McDonald's in one piazza and an imported Egyptian obelisk in the next. I haven't made it to the Ancient Rome Section--the forum, Colosseum, and Circus Maximus, but I am SO eager to! There is just so much to do and only so many hours in a day! Well, I'm off to dinner now. Arrivederci!

No comments:

Post a Comment