Monday, August 11, 2008
So our first day in Rome was a bit of a whirlwind. We left on a train from Corciano at approximately 7 AM, which put us in Rome around 9-9:30 A.M. From there... we went straight to Rome's most distinct landmark-The Colosseum!
It was so amazing to be on the grounds that so many have been before me... a place so ancient that Emperors like Nero and Titus have walked the grounds. It actually, was a bit smaller than I imagined, but every bit as magnificient. Though it was brutally hot (in august the heat generally can get up to over 100 degrees)I spent every moment I could walking the grounds. Something I also didn't expect, that the old surface was no longer there, and you can see all the underground hallways and caverns. Pretty cool.
After "il Colossseo" as it's called in italian, we went straight over to the Roman Forum. This was also pretty cool, knowing Julius Ceasar and Marc Antony gave speeches on the same earth I was occupying...was pretty amazing. There wasn't much left to the buildings, but enough that I could imagine what it must have been like.
After this, we stopped to cool our feat in The Tyrrhenian Fountain at the Monument of Victor Emmanuel II. One thing I found that was pretty cool about Rome was that many of the fountains were meant to cool yourself off, or to even drink from. They don't seem as germ phobic as Americans...and THANK GOD! Because we were all pretty hot and needed to cool our feet. I caught Isaac and Sam in the fountain, as well as Eileen and Sean. The monument itself is known as "the wedding cake" because of it's white marble and intricate design. It was pretty striking!
After this, we (finally) were able to check into our hotel. This was my final stint with a private room... and I got pretty well set up! My place included a sweet balcony with a little table and chairs. Too bad it was too brutally hot to enjoy it!
In the evening, we did a little more sight seeing. Our program director had to take care of a stolen passport situation, so our instructor, Craig, took us around. We visited the Pantheon, another Roman legend. Originally built as a Paegan Temple, and was later taken over by the Christians. The oculus in the ceiling was the most remarkable part... as the light mimics the sun moving across the sky. Afterwards, we were all suffering from pretty sore feet, and cocktails were in order. Robert sure enjoyed himself!
After that we visited The Trevi Fountain, where legend says if you throw a coin in behind your back you will return to Rome (I did it!)
Our final stop was The Spanish Steps,a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top. At this point... it was time for our first Roman meal!
We discovered a great restuarant that specialized in pasta, particularly, spagetti. This was the best spaghetti that I've ever had! A combo red/white cream sauce with lobster, called "Chanel" it was divine! Along with some great sparkling house wine... we left satified! I'm pretty sure, April, Robert & Brandon were just as happy as me!