As many of you know, I had the opportunity to visit a new friend of mine, Sherilyn, in Rome last month. Because I don't have class on Fridays- living the life, I know- I hopped on a train that Thursday night in Milan and arrived three hours later in Rome where Sherilyn was waiting for me at the end of the platform. This fancy train went up to 300 KM PER HOUR. Blew my mind.
As a side note, I have come to realize that I really love trains. Not only are you able to skip unnecessary waiting time in the airport security line, but trains also allow you much more personal space and the ability to be at the station within 5 minutes of the train leaving. There also aren't any baggage restrictions, so you can pack as much useless crap as you darn well please.
My bed and breakfast was located just down the street from where Sherilyn lived, which was extremely convenient. This was my very first time staying in a hotel/accommodation alone, and it was a great experience.
On Friday, we woke up early and made our way to the Colosseum. It was raining, so there wasn't too long of a line, considering the Colosseum is one of the most visited places in the world. That said, there were still many people waiting. Captain Sherilyn, as I now call her, being the ever-savvy, organized girl that she is, figured out that we could cut the line if we would buy tickets for a tour. NOTE FOR THOSE GOING TO ROME: Please save yourself the time and go on the tour. Not only will the 5 euros save lots of waiting time, but the tour is quite informational and enjoyable. Even if it's raining.
We then meandered our way across the street to the Roman Forum, which was the center for Roman government and politics throughout the Roman Empire. Despite its former glory, it is now a maze of ruins and fallen building foundations. It was quite a bit larger than we initially thought and not well-marked, so we spent two to three hours wandering around the place. We progressively began to get a bit grumpy- we hadn't had a coffee or food for quite a while. (For those of you who know of my coffee addiction, it has gotten much worse in the last few months. Not only do I get headaches if I don't have one before noon, but I also get grumpy if I need to physically exert myself and haven't had one for a while. My sister would argue that these side effects have occurred my entire life, but don't listen to her)
That evening, we had a reservation at La Galleria Borghese, one of the most renowned art galleries in Rome. It's located in a beautiful, huge old building in one of the parks in Rome, and the interior walls and ceilings themselves could have been an exhibition. In the past couple of years, I have made an honest attempt to appreciate and learn about art; I have been spotted staring at some pieces by Picasso at the PMA and trekking around the MET, but I am certainly not an art fanatic. That said, the sculptures and paintings at La Galleria Borghese completely blew me away. I should have expected this- I mean, it is Rome- but they completely exceeded my expectations. There were multiple Bernini sculptures and Caravaggio paintings, along with two pieces by Raphael. I know this is extremely cliche, but I simply cannot use words to describe how intricate and fantastic they were. You just need to book a flight and see them for yourself. La Galleria, for obvious reasons, wouldn't allow me to take pictures, so here is the website if you want to look around:
For dinner that evening, Sherilyn and I went out with some friends and had some fantastic spaghetti with bits of pancetta- simply delicious. Not that you need reminding, but Italian food is soooo good.
Captain Sherilyn let me sleep in a little on Saturday morning due to the throbbing that was cursing our poor feet from being on them all day. As I will explain more in my Prague post, I’ve learned that I don’t own a single pair of shoes, with the exception of tennis shoes, that are able to withstand long days of walking without punishing me with multiple blisters. For those of you who thought my feet were ugly before, I assure you that yes, they can look worse.
After breakfast at my B&B, we took the metro to La Fontana di Trevi, one of the most famous sights in Rome. Unlike the day before, it was very sunny and the light made for some beautiful pictures. As Captain Sherilyn informed me, the legend around coin-tossing into the fountain goes like this: If you throw one coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome. If you throw two in, you will fall in love with an Italian. Throw three and you will marry that Italian. Being the sassy sort that I am (and also for picture-taking purposes), I decided to throw two. Lo and behold, I found that man the very same day. (Please keep reading before you make rash assumptions. As much as I would love to be the topic around the water hole, I assure you I am not running off with an Italian man. They are often obnoxious and rather hairy)
After the fountain, we walked to both the Pantheon and the Spanish steps. And of course a gelato stop along the way. SO DELICIOUS. By far the best I have had so far.
For lunch, we found this old, family-owned restaurant a little outside of the city. I had fettuccine with mushrooms in a truffle white sauce. Those 2 ingredients alone tell you how good it was.
The owner of the restaurant, the energetic elderly man pictured below, came out 2 different times to talk to us: the first to see how we liked our food, and the second to ask our names and where we were from. And kiss us several times on the cheek and compliment us on our very broken Italian. After we finished our meal and were paying in the back of the nearly-empty restaurant, he saw that we were leaving and brought us two lemon cellos, on the house, and gave us several more kisses on the cheek while inquiring about our relationship statuses. (While writing this, I now see how intensely creepy it sounds. I promise it was much more endearing and sweet in person. At least I hope it was, or I desperately need a review on awkward social interactions). Here he is, in all his glory: the Italian man that I fell in and out of love with in just an hour. Tragic.
Later that evening, Captain and I did a little shopping and had some pizza near my B&B. You can tell when something is both good and traditional when Italian families are sitting all around you and your party is the only one speaking English. Once again, delicious.
On Sunday morning, Sherilyn and I took about an hour train to meeting and ate lunch with some of the people we met with. I caught the train back to Milan after a very relaxing, joyful afternoon spent with wonderful people.
Despite some spotty weather, I had such a fantastic time in Rome. It is such a beautiful city filled with history, art, and culture. It was also great to visit a friend who had been living there for a while and knew the ins and outs of the city. It made things much less stressful and thus much more fun. At a certain point I had to stop taking pictures of all of the simply stunning buildings I saw because there are just so many of them. I was there for three days and barely got the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, St. Peter's Basilica was closed because it was just after the Pope resigned, so I wasn't able to make it to the Vatican.
I am very excited that I will be able to return to Rome (and see the Vatican) before I leave to come back to the States- when MY FAMILY IS COMING TO VISIT!!! That’s right folks, Papa Coe is flying across the Atlantic to visit his daughter. IF HE CAN DO IT, THEN YOU DEFINITELY CAN.
I hope you are all enjoying the warm weather (finally) and surviving the last few days of school.