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Published: December 19th 2007
ColiseumThere are lots of pictures, make sure to scan to the next page of pictures
I love this picture!!
I was fortunate enough to escape the cold and dark German winter for a nice break to sunny and warmer Italy. Carolyn, Brooke and I planned this trip to Rome and Naples a couple of months ago, but I didn't realize how wonderful of a break it would really be. The weather has definitely become quite cold here, and it gets dark very early now. So it was nice to see the sun again for a while.
I took off on Wed afternoon, it was actually a decent day here in Hamburg, not too many clouds. The flight was smooth and we actually were able to see the alps as we crossed over Switzerland and part of Italy. I was so excited to see all the snow as i'll be Skiing there in a few days!! I arrived with no problem in Rome, and took the train into the main Termini station in town. From there it was pretty easy to hop on the metro, which was definitely not as clean as the German ones, and head to the hotel that we had booked. The
other girls weren't due to arrive until late that night, so I took some time to myself to check out the area. The hotel was actually located right down the street from the Coliseum, so I couldn't resist heading that direction to take a look. It really is an amazing sight. So incredibly big, its hard to believe that it was built so long ago! I was able to capture some amazing pictures with the sky at a dusk, at 4:15 pm hahaha. It really was beautiful with the big Christmas tree that they have put up in front of it. After walking around the area a bit, I headed back towards the hotel and made a brief stop in an internet cafe to check up on my email. Ive been anxiously awaiting some important emails regarding MBA and internships.
I then headed back to my hotel and asked if they had any suggestions for a traditional restaurant around the area that I could try. The lady gave me a card for a place around the corner and after taking a min to put my feet up, I headed to check it out. It was unfortunately not open yet
In the Vatican Museum
when I dropped by, Italians seem to eat very late at night, so I walked around until I found a cute wine bar that I could enjoy until the restaurant opened. The wine was absolutely fantstic and I enjoyed some people watching in this trendy wine bar until I had finished two glasses off. I headed over to the restaurant and prepared to decipher the Italian menu. I must have looked VERY confused as a man that was sitting near me in the restaurant asked if I needed any help. I said that would be very nice so I scooted over to his table so he could translate the menu for me. We ended up getting into conversation and he invited me to eat with him since he was alone as well. We had a great conversation, turns out he is one of the head Physics professors at a big university in Israel and was in Rome to do some lectures. I really enjoyed having someone to talk to whilst eating and I think he enjoyed the company as well. After dinner I headed back to the hotel where I met up with the girls who had just arrived from
the airport! We all talked way too long catching up as it had been a good 3 months since we'd been together.
We were up early to see the sights the next morning. After a lovely breakfast at the hotel and getting everything packed up, we headed out with our guide book in hand. It was decided that we would stop at Vatican City first in order to avoid the crowds on Saturday. We were at the Museum by 10 am in the morning and therefore avoided any and all lines, it was great! It took a coupe of hours to get through the many rooms of paintings, old maps, busts, etc. Everything was absolutely amazing, each new room had something incredible to offer that was completely different from the last. Our last stop in the museum was the Sistine Chapel. What a beatuiful sight! We made sure after we realized we'd missed it, to go back and check out the Creation of Adam, the famous painting where God's finger is almost touching Adam's. Really amazing in person. After the Sistine Chapel we made our way over to St. Peter's Basillica. I dont know if I can explain how
large this church was...it was unbelievable. The Dom in Cologne has its own charm, but St. Peter's blew it away. We took about 45 min to walk around the whole church and see everything inside. Afterwards we headed outside to St. Peter's Square, where the Pope makes all of his blessings and speaches. We made a quick stop at the Vatican Post Office to mail a postcard to family and friends, took some pictures of the square and then headed off to find some lunch.
We had an interesting lunch experience, as the waiters didn't speak much English. But the food was really great none the less. I had some Asparagus Risotto that was definitely homemade and fresh. We enjoyed what we later figured out was a 5 Euro beer (a little steep after being in Germany so long) and then we set off to see some more sights. On the way back to our hotel we stopped at the Spanish Steps which were really nice, but the church at the top was being re-done. And then we headed over to the Trevi Fountain. The fountain was absolutely huge, and really beautiful. We took some pictures and all made
a wish in the fountain as per tradition. (I just wasn't on the Bachelor Rome, and NO that was not my wish). We had to figure out our way back to the hotel after that, stumbling on The Forum and a huge museum, but unfortunately had to run because we had to catch a train to Napoli (Naples).
We decided to take the slow Regional train because it was a lot cheaper than the super fast one, and were very happy with our decision, until we got to the train and realized it was PACKED. We ended up standing in the entry way of the train for an hour or so before people started to finally clear out and we could make our way to some seats. After a quick nap, we arrived in Napoli and headed to meet up with our Couch Surfing host, Luciano. We received a phone call from him asking if we wanted to go to a concert with him and his friends. We said, why not, so he picked us up at the station and we headed on over to see an Italian Ska band called, Roy Pachi. We had so much fun jumping
around and meeting a bunch of Italians that we could barely communicate with. :-) It really was a great experience. After the concert we headed home and all crashed as we were exhausted.
We were supposed to wake up early the next morning and head up to Pompeii, but we were obviously exhausted and accidentally slept in until 11 am. It was all ok though, after we took showers and then headed off to find the train with much trouble. We finally started to check out the ruins about 1 pm, and I was excited. After spending 3 years as a kid studying Latin, I had always wanted to go and see Pompeii. Every book we used in class was placed in Pompeii, so it was very interesting for me. We wandered around the HUGE ruins site and I was in awe at how much survived from this ancient city. Absolutely incredible. We spent a couple of hours wandering around, but it was very cold and windy, so after we were satisfied, we headed out in to the city to grab a coffee and snack. We found a cute little cafe and enjoyed a piece of cake and tea/coffee.
We decided about 5 pm to head back since Luciano and his roomates would probably be getting of work soon. The evening was filled with lots of Luciano's friends, pizza, homeade wine, and fun conversation. We ended up at a few bars until late in the evening and all very much enjoyed ourselves. Thanks to Luciano and his bunch for hosting us, it was really a great time!
We woke up quite early, and very tired on Saturday morning to catch the train back to Rome. We decided to upgrade to the middle priced train which only took 2 hrs to get back, so we enjoyed a good 2 hr nap in our comfy seats. When we arrived we headed on the subway to meet our next CouchSurfing host, Matt. Matt was very nice and met us at the Subway station. We recognized his accent immediately and asked him where he was from, when he said Germany we all got very excited. Matt actually grew up in Germany, has lived all over Europe, studies in Paris, and now is doing a 2 year exchange with the Erasmus program in Rome. He therefore speaks more languages than I could ever
wish for. We walked to his apartment and immediately started to cook a fabulous lunch. Two of his friends came over, from Paris and Sicilly. The girl from Sicilly brought some sauce that her mother had made herself. We had some amazing pasta and took some time to get to know each other.
After our fabulous lunch, we decided we better get moving as the sun sets at 4 pm, so we needed to get to the Coliseum before dark. I had seen the Coliseum from the outside, but it was absolutely amazing to see from the inside. It really is an amazing structure. You can also see down below where they used to keep gladiators and animals before releasing them into the ring. We took lots of pictures and walked around the area a little more until we were very cold and decided to head out for a coffee. We went to a cute area that im sure that we never would have found on our on and enjoyed a coffee, then met up with a friend of Matt's that was from Mexico and all enjoyed a bottle of wine. After some wonderful conversation and wine, we headed
Mailing a Postcard
In Vatican City at the Vatican Post Office
back to Matt's place to meet up with the girls for a Crepe party! Matt had brought a Crepe pan from Paris, so we spent many hours making Crepes, we all even cooked one!! It really was a fantastic time, but we crashed soon thereafter as we were exhausted from the prior days/nights.
We woke up the next day and headed over to a huge outdoor market. I was actually quite lucky that I didn't bring much cash with me, as I probably would have bought many things. Instead I just took in the atmosphere and enjoyed people watching. There really was everything from stuffed animals to leather jackets to fake purses. Quite amazing. I actually had to depart from the group at that point because my flight was on Sunday afternoon and had to make sure I was at the train station on time to get to the airport. I had a very smooth trip home after scrunching myself on a bus that I could barely breathe on, but managed to get out at the right stop which was rewarding. :-)
Overall it was an absolutely fantastic trip that I will never forget. I had always wanted
to see Rome and Pompeii, so Im glad that I had the chance. Now im back to Hamburg, my family arrives tomorrow and I am very much looking forward to our Chrsitmas vacation in the Austrian Alps!! Afterwards, Rachel arrives and we are off to Prague for New Years!! I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!! I will probably not write again until the first week or two of Jan. So until then, Schoene Weinachten!
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