Sunday, February 2, 2014

Roman Holiday

My semester of travels officially began .starting with our first stop: Rome, Italy. CEA planned this trip for us, providing us with a hotel and transportation that did not go unappreciated. There's a lot to see and do in Rome, however, so our weekend was filled with a TON of walking which was both overwhelming and straining on my feet (they still hurt this morning).

Naturally, it was raining almost all weekend upon our arrival. My only complaint about it Italy in general is how it is constantly raining, and Rome proved to be no better than Florence in that aspect. On the bright side, it's literally Antarctica at home in the states so I'd prefer the 50 degrees and rain over the -3 with snow any day. Umbrella's are always available too every corner you turn there is a man holding 12 umbrellas that comes in your face like "BRELLA?" I have fallen for this twice already, and both of my umbrellas have been probably the worst purchases I've made thus far. The first one I was tricked into buying literally turned inside out, bent, and the handle broke all within one day.

Our itinerary was set, and on Friday we would be traveling around Vatican City. As a group, we could not be more touristy with our bright orange headsets. Although I am Jewish, I get enticed by beautiful churches and seeing this extremely holy city was still super exciting. The Vatican was beautiful. Still definitely set up for Christmas, there was a giant Christmas tree in the middle. I laughed at the stereotypical guards at the entrance and admired the columns and architecture. When stepping inside Saint Peter's Basilica i was amazed. Not only did I see the famous sculpture of Jesus and Mary, but I saw tombs of many famous popes, learned about how all of their tombs are underneath the main floor. Saint Peter's Basilica was also the first of many places on our tour with immaculate artwork on every wall. Despite my faith, I was in awe.

Next, we went to the Musei Vaticani. I am so naive when it comes to Europe that I had no idea this museum was home to pretty much every famous painting/fresco in the world. The sculptures were amazing, but I fell in love with the different paintings on the ceilings, especially Raphael's (yes, I am biased even though I have no real relation to him). And our last stop was the Sistine Chapel. I still can't believe how Michaelangelo painted that entire thing in 4 years. No pictures or talking allowed, it is clear that the Sistine Chapel is one of the most cherished places in the world. I couldn't believe I was lucky enough to lay my own eyes on it.

Going back to our hotel, Emily and I legitimately shared a honey moon suite. While everyone else had two beds, we shared one king sized one that we completely crashed on after the first day of tours. We were exhausted. That night we had an amazing dinner and then went out to the main night-scene area in Rome and had an absolute blast.

Saturday started bright and early, with an 8:00 am wake up call. Thankfully, the weather was a bit nicer, and we walked around to see all of the most well-known sights in Roma including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Campidoglio (Capitaline Hill), Pantheon, Piazza della Collona, the Spanish Steps, and my favorite, the Trevi Fountain.

Squeezing so much beauty and history into two days was crazy but really exciting. In general, I definitely took way too many pics of things that no one would care about, so I decided to refrain from uploading them, but everything I saw while in Rome seemed worthy of a picture. I loved the city, but realized it is massive. My friends and I all unanimously agree that choosing Florence as our study abroad location over Rome was definitely the right choice. While Rome is amazing, I could not handle having to take metros and taxis on a daily basis. I love being able to freely walk to class knowing that my home is right around the corner.

I will definitely be back to Rome though, by throwing in a coin at the Trevi Fountain that's a guarantee! Let's just hope my other wish comes true :).
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