Every once and a while it’s nice to stay in Rome, sleep in my own bed, and do some exploring.
This morning, I woke up 10 minutes before I was supposed to meet my friends at the 24-Hour bakery (croissants are only $0.30 there and it’s great), after mindlessly pressing my snooze button several times. Anyhow, I got dressed, got in contact with them, and they told me how to get where we were going. They were one metro stop west of me, so by some miracle, by the time I got on the Metro (20 minutes after waking up), I saw them pass in a car and I was able to travel with them. Woohoo.
We then continued on to a cemetery, where the Master of the Dominican Order was giving mass outside. It was a beautiful day- no jacket needed yet in Rome (knock on wood)! I believe he came to talk to PC a few weeks ago, but as PC Friars, it’s definitely cool to hear mass said by the Head of the Order. It’s kinda a big deal.
Afterwards, we met him and shook his hand, and told them that we went to Providence College. After, three nuns approached us and said, “Did you say you went to Providence College?” They spoke perfect English, which I didn’t expect, since the mass was in Italian. But alas, they were from the US and knew some of “our people,” and we talked to them for a while about our stay in Rome. They then invited us to get cappuccinos across the street, so we continued talking to them and a priest who was originally from Houston (who was bragging about his Texas Citizenship if and when they secede from the union).
From there, half of the group went to look at the church, while I went with my friends who are visiting back to town. They were visiting the Vatican and Vatican Museums today and Coliseum tomorrow, which disappointed me because it’s supposed to rain tomorrow and I still hadn’t been inside the Coliseum. On a whim while on the metro back, I decided that I was going to go the one metro stop over to get a sandwich. This then turned into the idea that I would get a sandwich, then stop by our PC guy friends’ apartment and see if anyone wanted to explore with me (2 of them didn’t come this morning). I decided to skip out on the sandwich, and with no phone service, I surprised the boys by showing up at their door. I asked my friend Zach, who also hadn’t visited the Coliseum, if he would like to join me because it was such a nice day. By some miracle (second of the day here), he had just gotten ready and was about to go do some free things by exploring some things on his own, because he didn’t have enough money on him to go to the Coliseum. So I caught him just at the right time, told him I’d spot him, and right then and there he was willing to come with me. Good timing, Lauren.
We went on our way and got the ticket that let us into the Coliseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum. After waiting in a decent line, we finally got inside. It was actually smaller than I expected, but it was very cool. Him and I attempted to figure out where the original flooring was, and how they used to flood it for naval battles, how it was a church, how it was a stadium, where the seats would be, etc. We saw some ancient stairways that would have lead up, had people not stolen parts of the building. For those who don’t know, the Coliseum isn’t deteriorating because it’s ancient, it looks like it’s falling apart because people used to recycle materials in ancient Rome to build new buildings. Several columns in many buildings were originally part of another, and I heard that the marble circles in the floor of the Vatican are sliced columns from, well, older columns. This is extremely common among Roman buildings. The only reason why the Pantheon is still standing is because it was converted into a church, and the Roman fellows weren’t allowed to play with it then. That’s why the front of it looks different than the discolored, somewhat unaesthetic back.
I had a dream last week that I was on my way home from the airport and started crying because I missed Rome, but I also forgot to visit the Coliseum, so at least that situation can’t (fully) happen now.
From there, we went onto the Palatine Hill. Not only did it have great views in places, but it was set up like a park almost with walkways and benches just casually around some ruins. Some of the coolest ones we saw were the Romulean Huts. This is what Rick Steves, renowned travel book writer and father of my boss for my internship, had to say about it:
From there, we went to the Forum, which was attached behind the Arch of Titus. I’ve already been there with class, but it was nice to re-see everything not being pressed for time or trying to take notes, while listening to someone lecture, while trying to sightsee. Once, again, we saw where Caesar was cremated (flowers were once again left on the place), and obviously so many other ruins. Like Pompeii, there were spots on the ground that we could make out indents from chariots in the ground.
So my day was pretty spontaneous, but it all worked out very nicely. I then went home, made a sandwich, and I’m headed out to dinner with some visiting friends in an hour.
Last night, I took one of them out, and I forget that they know nothing about the location of things in Rome. They had been here for about 3 hours at this time. So we hopped on a bus, and he asked what some building was and I was like, “Oh, that’s Castel San Angelo… oh yeah, and if you look to your right, you’ll see the Vatican.” He turned his head and declared that he’s never leaving Rome. The road that lead to the Vatican is on our bus route, and it never ceases to amaze me how casually we pass by it. I’m not too casual about it, trying to snap a picture every time before the bus turns, but for Romans, it’s so normal.
Cheers to wine and the bruschetta I’m about to stuff my face with! Ciao!
Pictures from today are to follow, once I get my act together and upload them to my computer.