So there has been a bit of a delay with finishing my posts about Italy haha but I can honestly say I have been fairly busy with academic work…for once haha it’s May now so I figured now would be a good time to start…of course I also was busy celebrating QUEEN’S DAY! But I will save that for another post– I also must mention that yesterday marked my one month till home #mixed feelings, I want to go home to see everyone but I think I’d prefer to go home for a week then come back and do it all again haha
Anyways to Rome! Wednesday night we travelled to Rome by train from Florence (45 euros and only takes about 1.5 hours) – we went to our hostel to check in, there was 5 of us and we had purchased a 6 bed dorm room (as rome hostels are so expensive and book up so far in advanced!) and we just figured the 6th person would probably just be another student…WRONG. Not only was he not a student but he was a 50+ ex-convict. Yes that’s right, an ex-convict. I actually thought I was going to die when he told us this. It went a little something like this… “oh yes, while I spent some time in jail I read silence of the lambs” I’m thinking like wait now, let’s back up, jail?! Get out of here! So obviously in this type of situation you can’t ask why he was in jail in the first place so it left me to wonder all night long as I lie in bed (in straight view of this ex-con) why he was there, was he going to kill me? Aka I couldn’t sleep and at 2:30 am went to the lounge, sat there till 5 am trying to make myself tired enough to go back to bed and fall asleep right away. He ended up coming to the lounge at which point I ran back into the room and tried to get back to sleep before he came back again haha #hostelproblems #studentliving
The next day we did a 5 hour walking tour of “the ancient city” in which we got to see the Coliseum, the Pantheon, Circus Maximus, Palatine Hill, the Roman forum, the Spanish steps and places where old Gladiator schools used to be located. We learned about Roman history, much which was beyond me as I have never learned anything about it before – it was still really interesting though! Also, apparently to be able to be a Gladiator now (aka stand outside the Coliseum dressed up and get photos with people) you need like special certification haha it is illegal otherwise! We also stopped for thee best gelato along the way (see photo – if you travel to Rome you must go there, this was the best gelato I have had, which says a lot considering I had it probably over 10 times over the course of the week haha) We also saw this one set of ruins that is now a home to stray cats with over 100 living in this one small area… Going back to our ex-con roomie, he pulls out a bag and is like do you like it?! I bought it for my cat…he also had a tattoo of his cat on his arm – Interesting fella – after the walking tour we went shopping – here is a warning: be careful at shops in Italy – they double charged me for my 2 tops, they knew about it too as I asked for the declined receipt that indicated my pin was invalid and they pretended they didn’t know what I was talking about…they have no phone number/website/email on the internet or on the receipt – I am assuming they do this all the time aka shop with caution :) Later that day we visited the Trevi Fountain where I obviously made a wish (I felt like I was in the Lizzie McGuire movie haha – although I unfortunately didn’t become famous…) and we also saw a proposal! It was so cute (in case my future husband will read this someday – a word of advice: I don’t want to be proposed to in front of a group of people). Later that night we went to a pub crawl where we taught all of the international students Flip Cup haha they were actually so bad it was kind of funny. Oh! And I had my first jagger shot =yuck.
Next day, we went to Vatican City which is actually its own country? Who knew! It’s the world’s smallest state, only 0.2 square miles with a population of 770, none of whom live there permanently. We paid for the 30 euro Vatican tour which to me was not worth it. I thought it would be of St. Peters basilica and more to do with the Pope but it was of the Vatican museum aka art, art and more art. It was beneficial in the sense that if I had walked through it on my own I would have gained nothing from looking at each piece but the bit of knowledge I did gain wasn’t worth 30 euros (the art was very beautiful though). We then went into the Sistine chapel which was nice but really not that wonderful compared to some of the other religious places I have been to and it was very, very crowded. You also are not allowed to take photos - the Japanese were granted the rights to own/sell all photographs of the chapel because they are responsible for maintaining Michael Angelos’ paintings. They actually left a spot that they didn’t clean to show what would happen if they weren’t to regular maintain it and it was just a black square! We then toured St. Peters basilica, went to a very small market which wasn’t very good compared to Pisa and Florence and then had a really nice Italian dinner which pretty much ended our Italian experience as after that we ventured back to the hostel and the next day we flew back to Tilburg.
Random Facts about Rome:
- about Italy in general: in basically every restaurant they would bring out all our food at different times…I guess they assumed we didn’t want to eat it together?
- There are service charges basically everywhere that you actually sit down
- Despite the fact that you can drink the tap water (except in Florence), you normally can’t order tap water… this is the same as in Tilburg
- the job of painting the Sistine Chapel was given to Michael Angelo as other artists recommended him thinking he would fail (as he normally works with just sculpting) and they thought this would make him less full of himself haha but that ended up not working as after 4 years of working on it he had produced one of the greatest pieces of art and the other artists were all very jealous
- lots of art in the Vatican museum looked 3D but it was actually flat! (See photo)
- a lot more homeless people than any of the other cities we visited in Italy
- more forward boys, you literally cannot walk by them without them trying to talk to you
Cheers from Tilburg!