I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend in Rome, an amazing city with so much to offer.
Kristin and I arrived in Rome late Friday night. We took the bus from the airport to our hostel, where we were greeted by friendly staff dressed in togas and a spacious room that provided both lockers and safes for our belongings. After dropping off our things, we headed to the restaurant next door. We ordered a 1/2 liter of their house red wine and ate our first Italian pizza. Following dinner, we turned in early after a long day of traveling.
On our second day, we woke up early to get a head start for the Vatican. We set out on foot, enjoying all the beauty of Italy and grabbing a cappuccino on the way. We passed by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which was very powerful and impressive. We continued on towards the Vatican, and St. Peter’s Basilica came into view. It was stunning, towering over the city against the blue sky. We joined the line to enter the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Once inside, I was blown away by the hundreds of sculptures that lined the walls, including Laocoön and His Sons, Apollo Belvedere, and many others. We spent time gazing at them, wondering how long it took to carve each of the features in their faces. We continued through the museum towards the Sistine Chapel, mesmerized by the intricate designs carved in the ceiling, the spectacular paintings on the walls, and the mosaic images that made up the floor. When we reached the Sistine Chapel, my eyes immediately went to the Creation of Adam. It was surreal to stand under it, an image I’ve seen since I can remember. We left the chapel to join the next line to enter the basilica. All of the churches in Rome are free to enter, so that was really nice throughout our trip. When we entered the basilica, my eyes immediately went to the massive dome at the top. The ceilings of many of the buildings we saw in Rome were my favorite part. We walked through the basilica, including the crypt that provides the final resting place of the popes. I decided to climb to the top of the dome, as I really enjoy getting a bird’s eye view of the magnificent cities I’m fortunate enough to visit. It was stunning, with towering mountains in the distance and thousands of rooftops side by side. Next, we walked back towards our hostel, passing the Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) on the way. We had dinner and found our way to the Trevi Fountain. We were bummed to find out that it was shut down for the winter so we continued on towards the Spanish Steps. We purchased a cheap bottle of Italian red wine and sipped out of plastic cups on the steps, watching people socialize. On the way back to the hostel, I got some pistachio gelato, which was amazing. We turned in early after a long day of sight seeing.
On our last day, we had great coffee at a little cafe before hitting the Colosseum. When it came into view, I was filled with excitement to be inside of one of the most iconic structures of all time. We wandered around the levels, imagining all of the events that had taken place so many centuries ago. We continued on to Palatine Hill, where we walked through a garden of orange trees and saw the Colosseum from above. Next, we visited the Roman Forum, where massive pillars still stand. After relaxing in the sunshine, we headed to a restaurant for pasta and wine. As the evening progressed, many street performers began to play and people began to fill the streets. We continued to the Pantheon where we marveled at its structure, especially the domed ceiling and massive pillars. We saw the tomb of Raphael and many more incredible carvings. On our way back to the hostel, we heard some chanting and once we approached the source of the noise, we discovered a large protest. We headed back towards our hostel, not wanting to be caught in the middle. We spent our last night drinking wine and discussing the amazing things we had been fortunate enough to see, not only this weekend but over the course of our entire time in Europe.
It’s starting to sink in that I only have two more weekends before my family arrives, and then it’s nearly time to go home. With each new city I see, I am once again overwhelmed with the realization that I’m living my dreams.
This week is going to be a long one, filled with readings and essays. I just received the topics of each essay for the remainder of my classes so I’m ready to jump in and get them accomplished. Next weekend I’m off to Edinburgh so check back next week to hear about adventures in Scotland! Thanks for reading!
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”