Walk in a dream but you know you're not dreaming

Trip Start Dec 17, 2010
Trip End Apr 26, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Friday, April 8, 2011

7 Aprile 2011
 Italy!!!  We flew out of Paris Orly, which is one of the most confusing airports I've ever been at.  Took us forever to find out where to check in for Iberia and then we waited in a super long line once we got there.  Overall, it was a good thing that we left the hostel almost 4 hours before take off. 

We got to the Rome airport at 4:30 pm and then had to catch a bus to the city.  There was an accident on the highway that slowed traffic down significantly, so the bus ride was incredibly long.  It was past 7 when we finally got to the hostel and we hadn't eaten anything since breakfast.  Surprise!! The hostel includes free dinner.  Pasta, of course.  It was perfect.  Then we got maps and walked around a little.  

 First, we went to the Trevi fountain which is really close to our hostel.  On the way back, we got a little lost and accidentally found the Colosseum.  The real one.  Best stumble upon of my life.  Then we came back to the hostel and got some sleep.

8 Aprile 2011
Woke up and did some grocery shopping.  Yogurt for breakfast and made some ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch.  Then we walked to the Spanish steps which is where the Rome free tours start.  Rome actually has 3 free walking tours, and the earliest is the Vatican tour.  He pointed out a few things on the way, but the Vatican was really what I was there for.  It was so cool.  I kept feeling the need to mention that I'm actually Catholic.  I think I was the only Catholic in our tour group.  I'm sure it's a cool place even if you're not though.

First, we went into the basilica and looked at all of the tombs of former popes.  We would have climbed to the dome, but didn't want to pay.  We'll be back to the Vatican so we might do it next time.

We did go to the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel.  Both cool.  And only 8 euros with our student id's.  The ISIC has finally done something for me!!  I think I'm getting better at museums because I didn't get bored at all. And I ran into some TU girls inside the Chapel.  Crazy world!

We left the Vatican in time to do a second walking tour.  Rome is a very walkable city.  The metro pretty much only goes along the northern arc of the city because ordinances have prevented them from building through archaeological sites.  This makes it so that walking is often the most convenient.  Not bad because the Vatican, the farthest thing worth seeing, is only about a 40 minute walk from our hostel and there's plenty to see on the way.

The second walking tour took us back to the Trevi fountain and to the Pantheon, among other things.  We stopped for ice cream before the tour which is good because otherwise I would be starving now as I wait for dinner in the hostel to be ready.  Looks like pasta again.

9 Aprile 2011
Today we slept until lunch time so we didn't have to worry about breakfast.  Then we decided to give in to all of the pizzerias that we have been passing up.  We ate so much pizza.  It was great.  The weather was awesome today, so we walked around a little and laid down for a few hours on a hill by the Colosseum.  I forgot to bring the map today, but it really didn't matter because this city is easy to figure out and I've walked around enough to know where things are relative to each other.  It's fun to get to know a city this well.

We did get briefly lost and ended up at the Circus Maximus.  It's not actually a place anymore.  Just a field.  Then we found a fabric store by chance and I bought my Italy piece.  For the record, I do actually intend to make a quilt with what I buy.  We'll see how that goes.  

After a little bit more walking, we stopped for mass.  At the Pantheon.  Woah!  I was blown away by how much I could understand with just a basic knowledge of Latin and pretty good Spanish.  Also convenient that the gospel was about the raising of Lazarus, one of the easy ones.  Cover your shoulders if you go to mass at the Pantheon.  We almost got kicked out.

Dinner was fun tonight because there weren't as many people as usual and almost everybody could speak Spanish, so that's what we did.  We met some people from Spain and they invited us to go out with them.  The Italian night is not nearly as late as the Spanish night, so by the time we were all ready to go out, things were kind of dying down in the city, but we did find an Irish pub and had some Guinness and practiced our Spanish.  

10 Aprile 2011
I guess we were kind of loud when we all got back from the bar and the other girls who were in our room punished us for it when they got up at 7:30.  Managed to fall back asleep for another hour and then we ate breakfast and walked to the Vatican.

At noon on Sundays, the Pope comes to his window over St. Peter's Square and blesses everybody below, so we were there for that.  While we were waiting, I was thinking about how I hoped nobody around me would get super emotional because that would make me feel uncomfortable.  Then he came to the window and everybody cheered and I started crying.  I was the most emotional person there, so then I felt like I was probably making everybody else really uncomfortable.

The Pope said the blessing once in Latin and then in English, Spanish, Polish, German, and maybe some others that I didn't get.  The whole thing took about 15 minutes.  Do it if you're near the Vatican on a Sunday.

After the blessing, we made a dash to the line to climb to the dome.  Today was the first cloudy day we've had in Rome, so that was disappointing, but the views were still great.  Also the 550 stairs do a little to make up for all of the pizza and pasta.

After the dome, we walked around the basilica.  I practiced my Latin a little reading the walls and we saw La Pieta.  Then a few more hours of walking and shopping and now it's time for a nap.

We're doing cake night tonight even though we don't leave until Tuesday because we want to get plenty of sleep tomorrow night.  This time around we have carrot cake and red velvet cake with some Chardonay.  We'll set up a picnic by the Trevi fountain.              

Now that I'm almost done with Spain, France, and Italy, I'm thinking about how much I'm going to miss the constant affection these countries are so well known for.  On the walk home from the Vatican, we passed a restaurant with a waiter standing outside to draw people in.  I thought he was going to ask us to come eat, so I had already prepared the response, "Maybe later,"  but then he said, "Excuse me, ladies. Can I offer you a...boyfriend?"  Also, men in France and Italy have called me Lady Gaga.  I'm not sure how to take that.  

11 Aprile 2011
The lucky breaks just keep coming.  Turns out today is the first day of the one week of the year that the Colosseum is free, so that was our excursion today.  Normally the ticket is 15 euros, and that includes entry to the Colosseum and the Palantine which is where the ancient forum was.  Palantine was way cooler.  Super big though, and we didn't have time to wait in line to see the house of Agustus, which is apparently really nice.  I had a hard time picturing either of them in their former glory.

We caught the 3rd free tour of Rome which took us through the ancient city and then we ended up once again at the Colosseum.  Considering our only plans for today were to do the Colosseum and the tour, we did an insane ammount of walking.  This is the first time I've really sat down in the past 5 hours.  It was also super hot today.  I'm really glad I decided to bring Chacos along on this trip.  My Mizunos would be too hot and my sandals couldn't keep up with all of the walking.  I already have awesome Chaco tan lines.

Tomorrow we move on again to a new country.  Again, not going to say which, but I do believe the awesome weather has run out for us.              

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Maria Puhl on

"Excuse me, ladies. Can I offer you a...boyfriend?"

Depends, was he hot? Hahahahaha.

And man, you got super luck with the Colosseum! I'm jealous. Although, really, i'm jealous of everything you get to do but that's besides the point.

How many more countries are you going to, cause I know you don't have that much more time left ( sad face for you, happy face for people who miss you! )

Uncle Dave on

So you have the Pho fever...I eat it three or more times a week.
Maybe I can take you out for a bowl when you come back. My good friend Aaron owns pho95 close to the house. I can't get enough of the stuff, have been eating it for years...We miss you, greetings from Sandra, she says hola

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