Did you forget already? Yup, I went to Rome! That’s right, Chris Bowles and I caught a flight from Glasgow, Prestwick International Airport to Rome, Ciampino International Airport on Thursday afternoon. While there we stayed at Yellow Hostel which is just down the road from the Station Termini in the Centro Storico (Historic District). I’ll just go ahead, bite the bullet, and do a (relatively) abreviated blow-by-blow.
So we arrive in Rome. Wait. Backup. First let me say that we discovered that there will be several Vet students on the same plane in both directions. Not the happiest of news for us for many reasons, but we deal. Anyway. So we arrive in Rome. We manage to get ourselves on a bus to “downtown” (having no concept what this means). So, on the way Chris and I decide to catch a cab to the hostel when we get there. The cabbies however were pretty scary greasy Italians (all the bad stereotypes) so we decide to hoof it. Good choice. We arrive after only a few “we’re SO lost, aren’t we” moments at Yellow Hostel. We’re shown up to our room (way up. Fifth floor, which is the sixth floor to Americans) before we practically RUN downstairs to get ourselves some food. There’s a pizzeria at the corner, so we went in, got ourselves a pie and drank a bottle of “November Wine” (wine which is apparently meant only to be served in November . . . probably because it is bottled in October. It wasn’t that bad, but certainly wasn’t worth the 15 Euros it cost us!)
A note about this story: Please don’t think I’m an alcoholic. I do not in fact even like wine. However, there’s a phrase which is often used, even when not appropriate. I have never gotten to use it correctly, but during my trip I was able to live the concept of: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” So Chris and I drank a whole hell of a lot of wine, ate a lot of carbs, and were lecherous at beautiful women . . . because we were in Rome! A second note is that most of the places we saw are covered to one extent or another on a pretty worthwhile site here.
So that was the first night with us pished by the time we got in bed. The next morning at 7 we ignored my alarm for half an hour. We then embarked on our adventure. First we hit the Vatican (which I like to call “PopeWorld”) where I almost killed myself several times. Once by stopping in the middle of the street to get a well-centred picture of the obelisk in the middle of the Piazza, and then again when I agreed to climb all the way to the top of the Cupola at Basilica di San Pietro (Saint Peter’s Basilica). This provided a view of Rome which I was glad to see, but given the choice would have rather spent my life’s savings to rent a chopper to get the same view than climb those steps. Next was the Musei Vaticani where we (eventually) saw the Sistine Chapel, which I can categorically say is well worth the hype it generates. I can’t really do it justice here, but I can say that it was truly overwhelming, especially considering Michelangelo did it all in the space of only four years.
After PopeWorld we got ourselves some lunch and then got totally lost. To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember what we did directly after that, but I’m pretty sure we went to the Piazza di Spagna (the Spanish Steps) and the Fontana di Trevi (the Trevi Fountain) by far my favourite sight in Roma where I proceeded to throw one Euro in the water, followed by a two Euro piece, followed by a whole 10 cents — I have my priorities. Read here to see what the hell I’m talking about. That that night we again had some pizza, this time a bottle of wine each and I again went to bed with the world spinning just a bit (notice a pattern yet?).
Saturday morning found me wishing I was dead. Instead of letting me sleep and suffer, Chris dragged me out of bed and off to the Colosseo (I should hope you can figure that one out yourselves) and the Arch of Constantine. Both were too amazing to really describe, other than to point out that the complexities of some of the inner workings of the Colosseo weren’t really matched again until some of the theatres of the 18th century. After that we searched all of the Forum district for an ATM for literally hours. Once we found one, we celebrated by relaxing and eating gelati across from the Foro and wrote postcards. We tried to then get in the Forum, but it was closing, so we called it a day. We headed back to the hostel where we then took a nap in preparation for the pub crawl that night (arranged by the hostel folks). Pretty much nothing will be said about that pub crawl, mostly because I don’t remember much about it. To put it in context, it started raining while we were inside the last pub. When I started walking home I stepped off the curb and into a veritable lake. I then stopped and stood there for a good twenty seconds wondering why my feet were suddenly cold and wet.
A quick aside: I got to pretend to be a Mormon during this pub crawl. Before I was too drunk, I was chatting with a couple of the girls who work in the hostel when Greasy Italian Guy came up and started laying it on thick. One of the girls, Anna, said “Hey, leave me alone! This is my boyfriend!” He said “Eef theesse ees yor buoyfrienda, geev heem a keess.” I shrugged and said “Here hon” and she gave me a peck on the cheek. He wasn’t satisfied and demanded a “reeeel keess” to which we replied “no, it’s rude” and Anna added “we are very religious, we don’t do that in public.” So the GIG then turned on the other girl, Missy. Missy immediately leans in towards me and says “Do you know what a Mormon is?” Ha! Do I know what a Mormon is? So I nod, and she says to the walking pile of hair gel: “I’m his girlfriend too. We’re all Mormon.” I don’t think he understood, but when she gave me another peck on the cheek, he got the picture and went away. Well what do you know? The Mormons really have contributed something to this world! 😉
So the next day was Sunday, returning day. We were going to take it easy originally, which meant roughly no walking if at all possible (my blisters were unreal, might I add). But, since the bus didn’t leave until half six (we thought) and since we didn’t see the Foro the day before, we thought we’d hit that. It was cold and wet for the first time (other than the night before, of course), but we still enjoyed seeing that amazing bit of Archaeology (yeah, yeah, I said it). After wandering around for a while in there, we then headed over to the Pantheon (which ironically enough is now a Church . . . what can you do?) where I left a bit of an offering and took a full roll of pictures of things I just found pretty (the fountain, the cobbles, the people, even the pigeons!).
We eventually headed back and thought we would miss the flight because the bus was so late, but the flight was over an hour delayed anyway, so there was no real harm. I got here and wouldn’t have even bothered kicking my shoes off if they hadn’t hurt so bloody badly before falling into bed. Since then, I’ve just been moving my stuff down the road and trying to relax after such a hectic holiday (more on the move and what not later).
For now, take care and I’ll talk to you all soon!
Oh, and needless to say many pictures will follow soon . . .
~Fred Armisen (as “Creepy Italian Guy”) – “Eurotrip” (and Chris and me all weekend . . . followed by chortles)