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Published: April 8th 2008
The Caelian Hill, S. Giovanni in Laterano
This is the earliest Roman church building. One of the seven pilgrimage churches in Rome.
Day 7 ---March 7---Friday---Rome
Buena Sera! We are in Rome, the city I have wanted to see since I was a teenager. It was an interesting day to say the least. We were up pretty early again, 7:30 and checked out of our hotel in Paris and headed to Charles de Gaulle airport. The weather was cold and drizzly, and miserable. I had hopes that Rome would be nicer, sunnier and warmer.
We got to the airport rather early and had plenty of time to hang around. Myself, and some members of our group, sat near our gate gabbing away about the trip, our lives "back home" and what we thought of Europe so far. I also bought a really cute wallet from the gift shop there.
The airline we flew was Alitalia, or "Air Italia" as I was calling it. Strange boarding process. Instead of walking down the jetway and boarding the plane normally, we walked down some steps, boarded a bus, and then the bus drove us to the plane, and then we walked up more steps and then onto the plane. The plane was nice overall, a lot more spacious than our overseas flight,
Buildings in Rome
see, just a simple building, but somehow remarkable
and had emerald green seats. I thought the sandwich that they had served us was not THAT bad, but everyone else thought it was disgusting and "un-edible." In fact, another member of our group said the sandwich "tasted like someone had wiped their ass with it." So it wasn't the best food, obviously, what can you expect with airline food? But, we were heading to Rome and by God, the meals were going to be much tastier.
The flight was short, only about a 2 hour journey and turbulent free. Pretty nice, compared to a 12 hour train journey. (Which is what other tour groups had to do, had we decided to go with a different tour package)
We landed in Rome, to...gloomy weather as well. Sadly, the airport process took nearly the entire day and we didn't get to see much of the city at all. Once at the airport in Rome, it took forever to retrieve our luggage from baggage claim, and we kept seeing the most oddest bag go around on the conveyor belt .I swear it looked like a large plastic bag of meat with lots of tape around it going round and round
the resturant we ate at
on the luggage carousel. I joked around with a few people saying it looked like a dead body...well it did.
It was a 45 minute bus ride from the airport to the hotel. Joel gave us a lot of info on Italy and also a cheat sheet on the Italian language, with a few key phrases that would help get us through the next few days.
I do have to say, I was surprised at how much larger of a room we got in Rome. While we still had the stupid two double beds (double? Ha, try twin sized beds) the room was still pretty nice, especially the bathroom, spacious bath tub, with a huge window overlooking the Colosseum! Just kidding, it's overlooking an alley way....and a dumpster.
We were not in our room for very long before it was time for the included group dinner. The entire way there, Joel kept reminding us of the dinner that was to come tomorrow. It was NOT originally included in the group tour package, but he added it on, and he made it sound wonderful. I was looking forward to that most of all.
The bus ride to
the restaurant was interesting. Joel had taught us a song in Italian, then played it for us over the bus loud speakers. It was a song called "Vespa 50 Special" by Luna Pop, which is a catchy, cute, pop-sie Italian song. None of us had heard of it, but apparently it was big all over Europe. The best part, however, was Joel proceeded to manuever into the bus aisle and sing along with the song and dance to it. That got a lot of laughs out of the group, and we were all clapping along with the song. I decided to video tape his "performance" but by the time I had busted out with my camera, it was too late, the song was over. That was alright, because the bus slowed to a halt and we were at the restaurant to enjoy one of the best meals we've ever had.
Now this, is what you come to Italy for! We all sat on two long tables, and the conversation and wine was flowing, fantastic pasta and pork and potato slices, tiramisu, and the world's best coffee. Now, let me tell you, that pasta was amazing. Or "anti-pasta" as Joel
kept calling it. That was truly the best pasta I have ever had. One of the best things about that dinner was we had a piano player and a singer singing typical "Italian" songs, such as Volare and a few others I don't remember the titles for.
On the way back from the restaurant, Joel played a really beautiful opera song by Andrea Bocelli, "Time to say Good-bye," an absolutely stunning song. Everyone on the bus quietly listened, the only sounds were their own thoughts, taking in what Rome had to offer.
As I starred out the window and watched old buildings pass by, I thought to myself, "I'm in Rome!" Suddenly memories of one year ago flashed in my mind of being in my Renaissance Humanities class discussing the Roman Empire and I so desperately wanted to come to Rome. The endless hours of reading internet blogs on Rome and I used to think, "why not me?" The cheesy movies I've associated with Rome, and Italy, such as "Only you," and I came to the realization that my dream had come true:
Magnificent Rome, I have arrived.
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