Tag Archives: Rome

Day 31 – Florence to Rome

It is always so hard to write a few of these entries in a row. After finishing one it seems like such an accomplishment than I want to sit back and take a break before starting another, but I know that break will expand into another day of writing. Really what I have to do is not look at anything and just start typing. Once I’ve started typing up one of these, I get on “The Roll” and it just flows out. It’s like drawing a continuous line on a piece of paper, but not looking at the paper so when you finish drawing one bit and pick up the pen, you have to look back at the paper to put the pen down at the end of the last line. Makes sense? Capisce? Yes.

Anyhow. We left the hostel with our stuff and went to the supermarket. I stood outside holding Mode’s water while he got some stuff, and then he went to the 1 euro store to get me a new lighter. Not that I smoke, I just use the lighter when people ask for a light because you would not believe how useful it is. Also Mode had lost the last lighter which was traded for a box of matches in London to the Estonians.

We went to the station, and decided that because we had a Eurail pass, we didn’t need to make a reservation. Which was a bad idea because apparently, even if there are seats available on a train, you NEED to make a reservation on some trains. So we were oppressed for not having tickets and had to pay more than usual to cover that. Anyway anyhow we got to Rome, got on the metro and went to our hostel. But the hostel had a lock out until 4 and we had got there at 2:30 or something, so we waited outside the front door playing was. An odd side note – We were sitting there minding our own business when all of a sudden, a bag of trash flew out some window and crashed behind me. I say crashed because there was glass in there as well. Just a bag of trash, flying out of nowhere, and landing there. A bit startling.

We finally got in when someone opened the door and asked why we didn’t ring the bell. We said because they were closed, but apparently there were still people there. We got in, took showers, and rested. The ladies who owned this hostel were really friendly and almost acted like surrogate mothers. They gave out popsicles to their guests and really tried to help us find places on the map.

We went out to do our laundry at a nearby laundromat. When we bought soap to put in the washer it exploded in my hands and got all over, but most was salvaged. While that was running we explored the area. It was strangely quiet, and we found some crappy pizza for lunch. Went back briefly to move the laundry to the dryer, got some drinks, and then chilled at the laundromat. I took a small snooze in the chair there, and then it was done so came back to the hostel.

When we came back our two other roommates had arrived. One was named something, and he was from Brazil, and the other was named Cristobal, and he was from somewhere. The Brazilian guy knew very sketchy English and I tried to talk to him as well as I could, but it was very difficult. But I think we got along and that was all fine. Mode and I then decided to try to get to a restaurant named Cico’s and Pepe’s (not sure on the spelling), but when we got there it was completely full, and there was a mob of people hawking free tables. So we walked back looking for another option and found another Pizza al Legno place. This one had a few celebrity pictures and had a friendly atmosphere, and the food wasn’t too bad. We then walked back to the hostel.

Here is where we disagree, but Mode thinks it was this night that we met the friendly Mexican girl. I think it was the next night. Nothing too significant or a story to tell about that, but she was there at some point.

Day 32 – Rome

I guess I should mention for the record that we had a LOT of ice cream in Italy. It’s all over the place, and it’s so good everywhere you go, so it is a necessary evil that you subscribe to the whole time you are there. Some people might think pasta and pizza when they think of Italy, but they really should be thinking ice cream.

We got up and took the metro to the Colosseum. The huge arena where gladiators fought things and people got killed by animals. Arena means sand, and there was sand on the floor! That’s a bit of trivia for you guys. Anyhow, we found an excellent deal, which is all around Rome, which is 1 euro for 20 postcards. A fine tourist trinket I can agree with on price and value. We then stood in the Colosseum line to get tickets, which was a long line. There were many lines in Rome actually, and this was the first of those many. We walked around the Colosseum, explored its ins and outs, read the few plaques around with information, and took pictures.

Then we went over to the nearby ruins. Viewed the ruins, walked around, took pictures, tourist stuff. There were some really nice redone marble columns. And real olive trees! We found a headless statue, and I climbed up the back and we took a picture with my head replacing the statue’s head. It was grand. We went to a small museum where there was large artifacts. A short funny incident was when we walked into this one room and this Korean woman saw us and immediately grasped her bags which were sitting next to her. I guess we’re intimidating. Anyhow, we also walked by the large area where Ben Hur was supposed to have taken place.

Then we got some food, sat down and ate it. We then rode the metro to the one of the few fountains in Rome, and it was very crowded with tourists. We found a place to sit down and chilled there for a long time. Took a funny picture. Then got up again and walked down a very large street, stopping in a music store, and then got to a large square. We sat down in front of a statue of these three people (can’t exactly remember the story of that statue, but it’s a famous one), and some guy approached us saying he was taking photos of himself recreating the scene in statues around Europe and asked if we could pose for this one. So we did, and it was quite funny.

After that we headed back to the hostel, and decided we would try again to go to Cicio e Pepe’s. Fortunately we got there early enough to grab a table. I had some really great Risotto and Mode had the Spaghetti Carbonara. The second part of the meal, which I think I had a salad for, was really not that great and I wish I had ordered something more substantial, but money is money. We walked back to the hostel with full stomachs. When we got back, a few people decided to watch a movie so we all watched The Prestige, which was an interesting movie with a big twist at the end. It’s a bit interesting to think about how the movie would have been different if they revealed the twist at the beginning. One way or other we went to sleep soon after that.

Day 33 – Rome

I’m not in the mood to write the journal right now… but I will write it anyway. That’s your dedicated journalist right there. There is a cause, and no matter what mood I’m in, I must strive to help that cause, and the cause in this case is bringing stories of my travels to those less fortunate. That whole paragraph was filled with interesting word matches. Except for maybe the second sentence and this last self-referential part.

We got up and headed to Holy Country, a.k.a. Vatican City. But apparently immigration lines are extremely long, even in the small countries. So we stood in a line that stretched at least 5 city blocks, and not single file. It was kind of like standing in line for Disney rides, except Disney lines are longer because people care about Mickey Mouse more than Jesus these days. This topic was noted at the time. So after what seems like years we got into the Vatican, which was strange because I half expected them to check passports. Not quite that kind of country I guess. Bought our “visas” (tickets) and went into the museum area. Walked around looking at all the cool pictures and statues. There were lots of statues. In the middle of one courtyard there was a strange decomposing brass sphere. I claim it’s a time machine that the Vatican built so they could control the world. Then went into a hall of statues where we could obviously tell the statues’ guitars had been taken away.

There were lots of pretty things we saw along the way to the Sistine Chapel, some that were actually more impressive. But the signs that pointed to the Sistine Chapel kept on going, and going, and going. Finally we got to the giant hall, flooded with tourists, all trying to take pictures of the ceiling. It was not lit very well, so of course everyone’s pictures probably came out as blurry as ours, but there it was, the magnificent paintings we all have seen all over the world. There was even that small crack that you notice. It really does exist!

Exited the chapel and headed off to the extremely overpriced cafe. Bought some cheap things and sat down next to some other Americans. But oddly enough, when they got up to leave they left a lot of leftover food. So much was wasted! So we decided to be activists and eat some of their leftover food. How could they buy stuff that expensive and leave it all? Psh, Americans.

Next we went to the San Pietro, a giant cathedral with light coming in at very cool places and interesting designs here and there. Went up to the top to see around Rome from a heighted perspective and then went down into the actual cathedral. Kind of a flood of tourists roaming around. We heard some choir people singing too. After that we left the Vatican and chilled at another large fountain of Rome. This fountain had a fish like things. Got some food. Also, there were these guys selling magnet noise makers. I’ve seen these annoying little dohickeys (the technical name) at my mom’s office before, but here they were being sold all over the place and made such a pervasive and terrible noise. It got old. Fast. We went to the other fountain and they were there too.

The other fountain was the one we went to the day before; the one with Poseidon. When we were there we randomly met up with our brazilian roommate, and another guy who was Kenyan. The Kenyan guy talked a lot to us, and I didn’t really understand all the stuff he was saying, but I think it was in English. He was nice though, and apparently knew a lot of people everywhere. Told us some history about the fountain. We had a good time.

After a while we decided to walk back to the hostel. It was a long walk, but we did it. Along the way we stopped at a restaurant for a small bite to eat, and talked to the owner a lot about various things. Then walked the rest of the distance back to the hostel.