Monday, November 9, 2009

'Rome! By all means, Rome. I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live.'

And so we begin the telling of perhaps the greatest learning experience of my life.

First, always check and double check and then re check your plane tickets. Our hostel was next to Marco Polo airport. Venice's airport. So we just assumed when we booked our flights from Venice to Rome that we would be leaving from Marco Polo. It is also a good idea never to assume anything. We actually we were leaving from Treviso, which was about a half an hour drive away from our hostel. And if only we had known to tell the hostel 24 hours ahead a time, we could have hitched a free shuttle ride to the airport. INSTEAD, we found out late the night before we left and ended up having to take a taxi so we could catch our 8 o'clock flight.
So we get to the Treviso airport. And we wait. And we wait. And we wait. And it's really foggy outside. So the airport announcers come on and tell us that due to weather conditions, our flight has been delayed and they need to shuttle us all to the marco polo airport and then we can go to Rome. So 2 hours later. We finally made it on a plane, and we were off to Rome!!!!

First impressions of flying over Rome: It was much more green than I expected. But the first building I saw that I recognized was the Colosseum. That was so unreal to see from the sky. BUT I was stoked to be there. Even though the morning had been a little rocky. And we were alllll exhausted, it was worth it.

So we get to the next hostel. I didn't know, but apprentaly Rome has it's own little India... Which is where we stayed for the first two nights. It was very interesting to say the least. It was called Freestyle Hostel. And we think the man who ran it was named Tito. But we're still unsure. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't stay there again. Tito was very friendly. And so were the other people that stayed there. But the room I was in was more like a hallway to the bathroom. And not really a bedroom at all. So there was little privacy. And it was a little scary. I was defintely living on the edge. Well, kind of. At least we got a free pasta dinner every night. That was yummy.
So after dropping our stuff off at the hostel, we went straight to the Colosseum. Unreal. We were able to take an audio tour. And I learned tons of interesting things. It was built by the Flavian family. The games that went on in the Colosseum were extremely intricate and involved a lot of stage work. There's even evidence that suggests the whole stadium would be filled with water and they would have aquatic battles. Senators got special assigned seating. And there were public bathrooms in the arena. The animals were kept under the stage of the arena. And the gladiators trained in a complex a little ways away from the arena that was connected to the Colosseum by an underground passage. So I loved it. It's history is quite violent. But what an architectual feat! Even by today's standards, it's still an amazing building. Pictures again, are on Facebook. Please view.
After our free meal at Freestyle, we went exploring in the city to see everything lit up at night. We went back to the Colosseum, which is just as intimidating and beautiful in the night as it is in the day. And then we went to the Trevi fountain. Pictures are also on Facebook. The fountain is big and beautiful. It's funny to compare how these places are in real life to the movies. I always thought the Trevi fountain would be in a large square. But it's not really. It's just situated against the side of a building. It is a kind of a small square, but not as big as some of the other squares in Rome. I threw two coins in. This is the legend of the Trevi fountain; one coin to wish that you'll come back to Rome, and one more to wish that you'll find love during your stay in Rome. The love part didn't work. So who knows if I'll be back. Höffenlich! On the way back to the hostel that night, we ran into the church of the four fountains. HELLOO BERNINI! Bernini is on of my favorite sculptures. Of alllllllll time. We didn't even plan to stop there, we just ran into it. And that's kind of how it was the whole time we were there. We would be planning to visit one historical landmark and then turn the corner, and BAM BERNINI!! The church of the four fountains is really small and just on the corner of a street. It's defintely a building one has to see for themselves to really take it in. Pictures just don't show how it really is. And that was the end of day 1. Colosseum, Trevi fountain, Church of the 4 fountains. I thought that was quite an accomplishment for the first day. But wait until you hear about day zwei.

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