Thursday, June 2, 2011

May 29, 2011- Rome- "I would never want to miss this, cause in my heart I know what this is....this is what dreams are made of." - Hilary Duff - Lizzie McGuire Movie

Oh you know, I only went to Rome today. No big deal.

It was SO AMAZING. It was a whole day of “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moments. After getting up at 4:45 am and arriving in Rome at 9 we went to the coliseum first.

Yup, it didn’t feel like real life. I never thought I would actually see it in person….I still don’t think it has sunk in. It was so beautiful and even more impressive in person. The time and effort it took to create something so large without machines or electricity is inconceivable. The Romans did everything there from gladiators to filling it with water and staging navel battles. We wanted to get out picture taken with one of the many gladiators walking around but they are known to scam you for money.
Outside the coliseum is the arch of Constantine.

Arches were made for important people in Rome. Later we saw the arch of Titus. After meeting up we walked the path the soldiers took when coming back from war making our way into the Palentine.

We saw the area that had the statues of the 7 virgins of Rome. The women were in charge of keeping the fire of Rome lit. They had to vow to remain virgins and in return they were treated like royalty. However, if they broke their vow, they were chained up for life and given only bread and water.

We then went to see the staircase Michelangelo built, along with the beautiful buildings around it. Two giant figures stood on with side of the fountain in the center of the building. Statues lined the roofs of the surrounding buildings. One of the girls in our group tried to climb onto the statue to get a picture. The second she attempted it, a whistle blew from a police officer nearby. They see everything.
Walking down the staircase was a disaster waiting to happen. It wasn’t really a stair case but it wasn’t really a ramp either. They were like slanted steps. We crossed a lot of crazy Italian traffic. Drivers here are much crazier then back home but they are also more patient. There is rarely a honking of a horn or shouting from the window. They just patiently wait for things to clear or move. After getting across all the traffic I turned around.
There stood the largest and most beautiful building I have ever seen. Up on a small grassy incline stood the capital building, practically glowing white in the hot Italian sun. Long and tall with pillars and statues surrounding it, my jaw literally dropped and a hushed “oh wow,” escaped my lips. I can’t even describe how awe struck I was.
From there we continued down the hectic and confusing streets making our way to the Trevi Fountain.

This is what I have been waiting for. The figures in the fountain stood tall and strong; men built for battle and horses burst from the base of the fountain while lady figures stood up the sides watching. I am very into wishing and this is the place to so it. If you have ever seen The Lizzie McGuire Movie (I grew up with this show and Hilary Duff) she goes to Rome and makes a wish in the Trevi Fountain. From there she meets a pop icon and becomes famous. So all day I was singing “What dreams are made of” from that movie and saying I would meet a pop star and live happily ever after. Jill and Ashley rolled their eyes every time. Ashley and Jill wished first then it was my turn. Just as I was thinking about my wish (I take wishes very seriously), Ashley yells, “It’s 11:11!!!” That’s right ladies and gentlemen; I made a wish at the Trevi Fountain at 11:11….now THAT is the ultimate wish. One coin means you will return to Rome, two means you will find true love and three means you will marry your true love. I will leave you in suspense for how many I threw.
We then had free time for lunch. We got pizza and sat on the step and watched the fountain as we ate. We walked around the shops and I bought a post card and keychain to remember Rome by.
Next we went to a nearby Piazza that was very popular. It had three large fountains, painters and street performers. One of the street performers was painted like a statue and only moved to freak people out. We were told to use the restrooms before we left because it would be a long time before we would be able to do it again. The problem was there aren’t any public restrooms and you cant use a café restroom unless you are buying something. But our professor insisted that we go. So we casually strolled into a business until we realized it was just a weird wine bar thing with no bathroom….everyone just stared at us. We tried a different one and saw a sign for bathrooms upstairs. We ran up, used the men and women’s room to save time and ran out while avoiding eye contact.
By this point in the day, we were so thirsty. Luckily, the water in fountain in Italy is good to drink. So Ashley and I filled up in one of the big fountains. It tasted so cold and good.
We then made the long and hot trek to the Vatican and Sistine chapel. Unfortunately, the chapel was closed because it was Sunday (as are most things on Sunday in Italy) so we got into line for the Vatican.

I have never seen a line so long out in the hot sun before. The line was for security to get in. Once inside, all my awe-struck moments of the day were blown away.

Statues bigger than houses covered the walls, famous painting were scattered and everything was marble. Michelangelo’s last piece of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus after his death was there.

And I saw it. Wow. The amount of marble and gold in the place was incredible.
After killing two hours shopping around Rome (I got more presents for my family) we got on the bus and made the 2.5 hours journey home.
My feet were torn apart, sore and dirty from the longest and hottest day of walking I had ever had. We had leftover salad for dinner but added a mix of beans for protein. I took a hot shower to sooth my muscles and feet. I happily got into bed and now I am going to get some sleep.
This can’t be real life.

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