Sunday, April 19, 2009

Quotes from Mike: Rome (Spring Break part II)

We awoke at 4 am Thursday morning to head off to Rome. We had all packed before we went to sleep so basically just had to grab our stuff and go. We went to reception and had the midnight watchmen call us a taxi. It seemed he had some trouble which made the four of us nervous, especially with our past history. But the man assured us the taxi was coming so we popped a squat and waited for it. I don't know what came over Alyssa and I but we got into one of the biggest giggle fits I have ever been involved in. I don't remember what was so funny, but some scenario we made up in our heads was hilarious. I assure you we were not on drugs of any kind or under the influence of alcohol-this was some pure PG fun. A few minutes after we were able to control ourselves the taxi comes flying around the corner. I seriously thought he was going to kill us and he zoomed and whipped his car in a 180. We loaded up our bags and he drove us into the bus terminal which was about a 10 minute ride that cost us 40 euro (55 dollars). Insane, but we were too tired to care. We arrived at the bus terminal a little early so had to sit around for a little while. Which would have been fine if I hadn't been hit on by some weird Italian man and had another short sweaty creeper stare at us while we waited. Again, Mike, the man, didn't stand up for us--good thing women need a man to travel with, especially for security reasons. So the bus pulled up, we loaded the gear and headed to the airport. Check-in went much smoother this time, sort of. The flight company we chose has a crazy rule about only 1 cabin baggage is allowed and it has to weigh under 10kg. So if you area girl you cant have a back pack and a purse-only 1. So i was fine but Katie had some problems with her bag. They wanted her to check even though it fit the dimensions specified by them. Annoying but we got it figure out and headed to the gate. When we sat down I had a little bit of a panic because I couldn't find my passport. It then hit me that I had set it down in security and left it there. Four letter curse word. So I jaunted back to find that a security officer was coming to find me at my gate, phew. So I calmed down and went back and sat at the gate. It wasn't long after that we heard an announcement over the PA system. Our flight was cancelled. I will write it again, CANCELLED. Seriously, WTF. Our flight was terminated due to the foggy conditions outside. Yes it was foggy but not that bad and they cancelled the flight a whole hour before boarding-didn't try to wait it out or anything. Super annoyed. So we had to go back and wait in this long line so that we could get our flight refunded and to be told that all of their flights were booked until tomorrow night. So we had to go back to the bus terminal and to try and catch a train to Rome. We got there to find our the we couldn't catch a train until 1:00pm. We had to wait at a stupid train station with crappy, overpriced food until then. We popped out a deck of cards to try and pass the time but a worker came up to us and told us that cards were not allowed. I have yet to understand that logic. But we got on the train and made it to Rome in time to check in to our hostel. But we arrived in Rome at 5:10pm versus 9am, which is when our flight would have landed. We then had to catch a couple of metros and overground trains to reach our hostel where we were able to check-in right away. We went to our rooms to see that they were very similar to our Venice ones. This hostel, Tiber Village, was a sister campsite to ours in Rome. We had another cabin with 2 conjoined rooms but this time we had 2 bathrooms, which was great. In Venice we had community bathrooms shared by a bunch of people. We pretty much bummed around the campsite for the rest of the day, took advantage of the free internet, and went to bed. In our rooms blankets and such were provided and we were given 1 plug in heater and their was another on the wall that looked like an air conditioner. We had the heater plugged in for a while but unplugged it before we went to bed because of safety reasons. I woke up in the middle of the night and it was freezing, I can't describe how cold it was in the cabin. I desperately wanted to plug in the heater but didn't dare leave the somewhat warmth of my blankets. The cold kept my from falling completely asleep so when my alarm went off in the morning I was pretty much awake. As soon as me alarm went off, Mike and I woke up (we shared a room and Katie and Alyssa were in the other), we all started verbalizing our thoughts of the cold. Mike, a passive-aggressive baby, said off the cuff, "Do you think the heater will turn on if it gets plugged in?" Which was his way of saying he wanted me to get up and plug it in. What a man right? He also made note of how cold his nose was and that he needed another pair of socks. I couldn't even get mad, he was so pathetic, and funny to hear. So I jumped out of bed and ran over to plug the heater in and jumped back under my covers. A few minutes later he got up and jumped in the shower which helped heat the room with the steam. After we got over the shock of the temperature we got up and headed into the city. It was Good Friday. This led us to the decision to start the day off with a tour of Vatican City, we had to earn some brownie points for Heaven somehow. We began by touring St. Peter's Basilica. It is gorgeous with amazing mosaic, tile floors and painted ceilings. Sculptures of Martyrs and former Popes decorated the walls. Amazing stuff. From here we headed over to the Vatican Museum-this place was/is filled with many paintings, sculptures and artifacts. Most of which was stolen, probably during the Crusades. The self guided tour ended in the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo's masterpiece. While it wasn't permitted I did happen to sneak a picture of it. Yes, I have already been scolded for my actions and have had some brownie points taken away. But the chapel was amazing but I would it is a lot smaller than you would guess it it. Well we stood and gawked for awhile but then decided to move on to see some of the other hot spots that were close by. From here we walked all around and saw things like the Castel de Angelo, Pantheon (Raphael's tomb is there!), Piazza de Venezia, Piazza Nuova Four Rivers Fountain, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and a park that I have forgotten the name of. In a nut shell if you have read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, the same author as the Da Vinci Code, you may recognise some of the places. I think my favorite was trevi Fountain, but each place had different architecture and atmosphere so it was hard to compare them. Seeing all of these sights took up the entire afternoon/ day. We ended the day in the park and then headed back to our hostel. The hostel had a restaurant, bar and market like the Venice one so we decided we were going to eat dinner there. They had delicious food. After dinner we hopped on the internet and just hung around the area and eventually made our way to the cabin to bum around there. It led to another night of fun conversation and again Mike making an ass out of himself. at one point he mentioned that great Spanish song, "Habla Nagila Habla." You may have never heard of it, and that would be because it doesn't exist. What Mike meant was the Jewish song, Hava Nagila. We still cannot figure out the train of thought he was using but, I mean we shouldn't question him because males are the superior species, right? ;) Well that capped off the evening and we headed for bed. This time we decided to keep the heater on all night, if the place caught fire at least it would have been warm. After some inspection we also found out that what we thought was a air conditioner was actually a second heater in our so we cranked that up as well. This combined with the extra blankets we got from reception led to a very cozy, comfortable night of sleep.
We awoke the next morning around 9:30ish. Today on the agenda was to tour and see all of the ancient Rome places that we didn't get to Friday. We shuttle over to the Coliseum and the Roman Forum. We knew that if we went to the Roman Forum first because we knew we could buy us tickets there that would get us into all the attractions. So we started the day off by walking up/ on Palatine Hill. This is where the birth of Rome is said to take place. If you've heard the Romulus and Remus myth, it is said to take place on this hill. We were standing on history-so unbelievably cool, I cannot even tell you. This hill is a part of and kind of attached to the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum is in essence old ruins of ancient Rome. Your allowed to walk around and climb on these things, so amazing. There are tons of old buildings where the only thing that really remains are some columns and walls. It's in here that you can also go in and tour Augustus' house. We spent a few hours in here-with amazing weather and I took advantage of the sun completely. From here we headed over to the Coliseum. We and another funny situation here. The girls and I paused on the side of the street to take some pictures and the next thing I know Mike is gone. I couldn't seem him anywhere until I looked about 150 feet up the sidewalk to see him making a bee line for the Coliseum. We were confused and thought maybe he thought we had left him and he was trying to catch up to us? Well we practically had to run up to catch him and when we did we asked where the fire was and said, "I don't know, I was just really excited." Well we hoped in the line and were able to jump part of it because we had already bought our ticket at the Roman Forum. We toured around here for a while. We had a system over break though. Once we got in we would let ourselves get split up so everyone could go at there own pace and not feel rushed. We just meet the group at the exit when we were ready to leave. Katie and I went at our pace which seemed to be the fastest. So we exited out of the Coliseum and waited, a few minutes later came Alyssa. We were waiting outside for close to an hour when we came to the decision that there was no way Mike was still looking around. So we finally spotted him. He was waiting for us inside the Coliseum and the rest of us were outside. It took some effort to get his attention but we finally did. No big deal, it was only 45 min worth of miscommunication. After the tours, we were extremely hungry and Rome is very expensive so, apologetically we chose to eat at McDonald's. We had passed one the previous day somewhere near the Pantheon so off in search of it we went. As we were looking for it we ran back into the Trevi Fountain. This is actually a bit funny. Well, you know how you're supposed to throw a coin in the fountain-well you do this so that one day you will come back to it. For us it was a mere 24 hours for most it years. We laughed, I guess throwing a coin in works eh? So we had dinner and bought some souvenirs and then headed back to the hostel. We arrived back and celebrated our last night in Rome with a happy hour and chatting it up, sitting in the outdoor patio. we had to go to bed a bit early since we had an early flight to Barcelona the next day. Espana here we come!

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