I think that I will relax with a weekend in Rome..

Trip Start Feb 23, 2009
Trip End Aug 22, 2009

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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Sunday, April 5, 2009

Normal 0 I met Michelle at the train station (there's a train direct from the airport), we relaxed at the hostel for a bit and then proceeded to make the most of our stay in the country's capital...we walked in a very disoriented manner to the Trevi Fountain (it took us a while to find it...apparently I am not as adept as I thought at readin maps) and then proceeded to have a lovely Chinese meal, right near the fountain...I realize that for Michelle's first night in Italy, I should most likely have taken her to a proper Italian restaurant, however I knew that we would be having only Italian cuisine in La Spezia and I wanted to savour my first non-italian meal in Italy...oh and I did...

after all the walking we were quite exhausted so we headed back to the hostel to crash...only for me to be awakened at 1 am as an Italian friend felt the need to call me and sing me a drunken song...I suppose that there are worse ways to be woken up, but at the time I was not terribly amused and promptly fell back into a stupor...

Day 2 in Rome:

Firstly we woke up bright and early and headed off to the Colisseum and got I without any queue (I can imagine that in the summer they must get quite long though) ...the Colisseum was stunning as you can imagine!  It was like stepping back through history 2000 years ago (aside from the cameras of course) and the information in the exhibits was very well presented, informative and most importantly written in English and Italian.  I also learned something new...it seems that not only did the Colisseum feature lions and tigers, etc. in its' gory battles, but hippos and crocs were also brought for the spectators' viewing entertainment...

Then we were off to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill(coincidentally right across from the Colisseum...you have to hand it to the ancient Romans, their urban planning is convenient...I enjoyed not having to walk very far)...the Forum and Palatine were both quite beautiful as well, but not nearly as well preserved as the Colisseum.  Admission into these two sites is included with the purchase of a ticket to the Colisseum for an acceptable 12 Euros...

At this point it was nearing 1:30 pm and we had had enough of walking, thus we sat ourselves down in a café and had some paninis (sandwiches), drinks and gelato (I certainly hope that I don't need to translate this word :p)

After our booster, we proceeded to walk over to Vatican City and went first to the Piazza di San Pietro (Saint Peter's square), where I will admit we sat down again and I took a nap, because I was shattered!  We went itno St Peter's Basilica which is gorgeous and an architectural marvel (and is also free to visit).  Then it was off to the Vatican Museum and another 8 Euros (the student discount price) well spent...What I did not realize however was that to walk the entire museum is the equivalent of 4 kilometers...They have a variety of exhibits that cater to every museum goers tastes.  There are exhibits on early Christian art, ancient sarcophagi, Egyptian, Etruscan (the people that lived in Italy before the Romans and who were known for their wanton sexual abandon), Greek, Roman and of course a large painting wing.  I can appreciate art, however by the end I was quite satisfied that I had seen enough.

We headed back to the Trevi fountain, which I have decided is my favourite spot thus far in Rome to do a bit of shopping (we are in Italy after all) and then we headed off to a nice Italian restaurant with a fixed price menu that was delicious, filling and good value for Roma.  The waiter also too a liking to us as he gave us free Limoncello (a potent Italian liquor that is lemon flavoured) and dessert. 

Day 3:

For our last day we headed off to the Spanish steps to see a bit more of the city...when we arrived I slipped and fell, which was a bit embarassing and very painful.  Apparently for those of you who like haute couture (Michelle!) the Spanish steps is the area to head to as you will find Fendi and Chanel stores, among many others...I suppose that it is the Italian Rodeo Drive.

Now it's back to La Spezia for us
Michelle (my friend from the University of Ottawa, who is studying in Granada, Spain) and I have finally managed to meet one another...Michelle has flown over to Rome and we meet there...(and we may never walk again after the experience... :p)

Firstly, trains in Italy are always adventures, and my train ride to Rome was no exception...for the first hour and a half I luxuriated in a compartment empty except for myself...however when we hit Livorno, it was invaded by 5 tall Napolitano (from Naples) men... At first I was a smidge intimidated being in a compartment alone with five men, but eventually I cracked a joke and then we chatted for the rest of the train ride...for the most part, I comprehended what they were saying, but when they broke into their Napolitano dialect, it became near impossible to understand and it reminded me more of a Slavic language or Portuguese than Italian...but hey I picked up some new vocabulary, made some new friends, started a big discussion about religion by accident by mentioning ghosts (I shall definitely be careful there next time :p) and passed the time to Roma Centrale (central Rome and also coincidentally the name of the main train station)
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