Sunday, March 14, 2010

They didn't build Rome in a day, but we saw it in one!

Well, let's just see now. I owe a blog from Friday, Saturday and of course, my adventures from today. For readability sake, I still split them up. This one is recapping Friday, our free travel day.

First, let's just say this:

I was born in the wrong era.

Friday, a bunch of us went to Rome. The art, churches and architecture there was just jaw-dropping. I can't believe I live in a time where none of that is important anymore- the buildings America make now are not built to last like these Roman ones. American buildings are made efficiently, to better fulfill the time element rather than the sustainability and longevity. It's really quite sad. Plus, the beauty nowadays doesn't even compare to a fraction of the work that was put into anything back then. A man spent 75 years, his entire lifetime, working on the Duomo baptistery to get the doors perfect. Who is the equivalent to that in America? We're so concerned about being free, about being able to have freedom of speech and say whatever we want and have certain rights, but Americans hardly do anything extravagant when it comes to expressing themselves or culture artistically.

Anyway, we split up when we got there depending on what we wanted to do and what we wanted to see. A bunch of people had been before and didn't want to do the whole "tourist of Rome" thing, but of course I wanted to; I had never been!

Gabrielle, Janet, Stephen and I took a taxi to St. Peter's church when we first arrived. On the way, though, we got stuck at a street due to a bus strike. There was also a train strike that day; strikes are common in Italy. So we got out and walked when they blockaded the street for minutes at a time and we saw our euros being thrown out the window as we sat and idled in the street.

After we walked to St. Peter's and stood through the long line for security, we went inside. Breathtaking. Beautiful. The beauty of Italy just amazes me in so many ways. These people took so long to create something that would stand the tests of time and remain flawlessly intact.

At this point we had been in Rome probably less than an hour. When I took a picture for about hmmm... 1/250th of a second and turned around... Gabrielle and Janet were gone. Nowhere to be seen. They had said they were going over to the statue, but when Stephen and I went over there we couldn't see them. There was just way too many people.

I was frustrated. I couldn't believe we had just got to Rome and now we were all separated for the day. After getting angry at some guard who just DID NOT understand what I was asking.. (I asked for the nearest phone.. he thought I wanted to use a phone in the church. We had a little heated argument with accents), we went outside to go find the phone in the courtyard to call Dr. Miller when I heard my name. Gabrielle and Janet were outside trying to figure out what their next step was in finding us.... or moving on.

That was really lucky we found them.

From there we walked to the Trevi Fountain... in the pouring rain. We had to huddle in a corner of a McDonald's to avoid the torrential downpour. When it finally settled down we went out to the fountain. It was pretty epic, I'm not going to lie. I know I keep raving about the architecture and art, but if you saw it, you'd just understand. Pictures hardly do justice; it might be better to not even post any since it would only defer your thinking of what it really looks like.

The thing that surprised me most was the fact the fountain was in the middle of a random center.. with gelato and other shops sprinkled nearby, and then oh! Trevi fountain. This majestic piece of art is just chillin by itself, aloof from what was ancient Rome...

And it was a lot smaller than you would think, too. It looked so different than the pictures you see in textbooks and online- not all of us have the luxury of unrestrained lighting and flattering, wide-angle lenses.

After making wishes by throwing coins over our shoulders at the fountain, we went across the street to get Gabrielle her nutella-filled crepe. From there we made our way to the Colosseum. On the walk over we saw the Roman Forum. It was very random. We were wandering down the street, just looking at the modern churches and oh! Hey! There's ancient Rome. Just right there.


There were just arbitrary columns and other ruins in the middle of the city. People who you could tell were native to the country were just walking by, not at all amazed by what they were passing. We, of course, snapped about 4,000 pictures of the ruins, each from a different angle.

Then, as we walked down the street we took a turn and COLOSSEUM! Right in front of us. Right next to a busy street, with street lights and honking horns. (That is another thing that is not foreign to Rome-- honking. So much honking.) Outside the Colosseum were people dressed as Roman guards. We were trying to figure out how everyone got such a clear picture of the Colosseum-- there was stuff in front of it from every angle, whether it be merchants and vendors, or streets, street lights and immense traffic.

After that we went shopping and caught a train back to Florence. Though we didn't get to see some of the stuff we wanted to see, like the Spanish steps and the Sistine Chapel, we were exhausted. We were especially tired since it was the last day we were in Italy and had been up late working all week. If we were to enjoy free travel, we think it should have been in the beginning of the week rather than the end, after we were all ready to pass out as soon as we woke up. Plus, we all would have looked cute in pictures from the beginning of the week, before the look of extreme exhaustion became written on our faces, and still have yet to be wiped off.

We got back and pretty much went to bed and passed out.. especially since we had to be up early the next morning to fly home to America. Or we thought we were going to fly home....

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