There are almost no words to describe Rome. This weekend I got to travel to the city and it surpassed all of my expectations. From eating my first gelato in front of the Trevi Fountain to standing with my polka dot umbrella in front of the Colosseum, I felt as though I was living out a scene in a movie. This is the stuff you see on the big screen, with a bag of popcorn on your lap, yet I was seeing it with my own eyes. I still can’t believe I was just a few feet away from the Colosseum. I am so blessed.
I hate to say I was not at all prepared for the harsh, cold winter in Italy. However, I was determined to be ready for the cold in Rome. Three pairs of socks, two pairs of leggings, four layers of tops and one pair of gloves however is apparently not enough. Although warmer than Viterbo, located south of my “hometown,” Rome was still very cold. After about an hour of walking around, the numbness was finally gone! …and replaced with a loss of all feeling in my hands and toes. However, Rome was more than worth it.
The day began with a 7:30 a.m. meeting time to catch the 8 a.m. train. However, since there was about an inch of snow, the train was delayed. We were told that Italy never gets snow, so when it does snow, no one knows what to do. Trains are delayed, people go into major panic and the streets are filled with crazy drivers (and this is different from any other time?). I wasn’t too upset about the delay though, since that meant I had an extra hour to slip into a cozy café and order a breakfast pastry. Although one that I had tried before looked tempting, I promised myself to try new things so I picked out a croissant with wild berry fruit inside. Delicious!
The first thing we saw in Rome was the Vatican. I had no interest in seeing the Vatican, mostly because I had no idea about its significance or history before we went. However, the second I walked inside I was speechless. Every single inch of the walls, ceilings and floors has so much detail. It is absolutely amazing. I could have stayed in the Vatican for hours just staring at the ceiling itself.
Next we visited the Pantheon. I was surprised to learn that the ceiling of the Pantheon is open and there are slits in the floor to allow for water to drain into when it rains. Mass is still held there even when it rains. We came across the cutest gelato and crepe store right next to the Pantheon that I can’t wait to take my sisters to when they visit!
We then visited Piazza Novana, which was a big open piazza with two fountains. Although it was pretty, I was hardly paying attention since our tour guide announced that the Trevi Fountain would be next. I was literally giddy with excitement. I was a bit embarrassed as I could not fight back the biggest smile ever from sliding across my face. Before you see the fountain, you hear the water flowing, which builds even more anticipation. Closing my eyes to make a wish and toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.
After the Trevi Fountain, we visited the Spanish Steps and then we were free for lunch. A group of us went to a restaurant that had a 10 euro special for bruschetta, lasagna and dessert. Since lasagna is one of my absolute favorite dishes, I was so excited to have my first try of lasagna in Italy. However, it didn’t even come close to mom’s lasagna! I was a bit disappointed, but made me appreciate mom’s delicious cooking!
While the rest of the kids in the program went back to Viterbo, our group decided to stay at a hostel for the night so that we could see more of Rome! Before finding the hostel, we grabbed some gelato and saw the Trevi Fountain lit up. I was so excited for my first gelato. I got melon flavored! It was crazy to eat my first gelato standing in front of the Trevi Fountain.
Of course, we got lost trying to locate our hostel, but for some reason I didn’t mind at all. I was just thinking that if I was going to be lost, I’d much rather it be in Rome than anywhere else. Although it took over two hours, we finally found our hostel and checked in, only to find that one of the girls that was to stay with us was missing. Many phone calls and a load of panic later, we received a call that after becoming lost, she caught a train back to Viterbo and was safe.
That night we ventured out to find the Colosseum, excited to see it lit up! The next morning, we made a return trip to the Colosseum for pictures and to see it better in the day light. It was so incredible to be standing in front of the Colosseum. I decided to wait to tour the inside until my sisters visit, so we could do it together.
After the Colosseum, we did some souvenir shopping, revisited the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, and grabbed lunch. We then made our way back to the train station so that we could catch the next train back to Viterbo. However, pleased that we got to the station literally three minutes before the train was to arrive, we then noticed we forgot to purchase tickets. Panic mode set in. Our group sent me and two of my roommates to run as fast as we could through the station to buy tickets and return within the next three minutes… even though we just traveled up four flights of stairs, a broken escalator, and around the corner from the ticket counter to get to the train platform. I have never ran so fast in my entire life. The fact that I just had a slice of pizza and potato wedges for lunch was not helping whatsoever. There were two people in front of us as we stood at the counter, gasping for air, praying for them to hurry. Of course, the man at the ticket counter decided to take his sweet time. The second he handed us our tickets, I heard the train arrive above. My roommates and I looked at each other and yelled “run!” Back around the corner we went, up four flights of stairs, the broken escalator, and finally to the train platform, all the while wishing that I had skipped the potato wedges and would have been previously trained for a 5k so that I was ready for this moment. We finally reached the top of the train platform, only to see the end of the train pulling away. So, we collapsed onto a bench and had an hour to catch our breath until the next train. We actually then got on the wrong train, and had to get off and switch to another an hour into the trip home, but that’s another story!
This weekend was absolutely exhausting but amazing. I am hoping that tossing my coin into the Trevi Fountain does in fact ensure me a return trip to Rome one day.