Monday we arrived in Rome (from Venice) around lunch time so we grabbed something to eat in the airport and then took a shuttle directly to our hostel. Then it was off to explore the city! Alyssa had visited Rome just a few weeks earlier, so she was our guide. We headed toward the Pantheon, and a gelato place called Della Palm that our American friend from Sussex who had previously spent time in Rome had suggested. There were hundreds of flavors of gelato and for only 2.50 euro, you could have three of them. Can you say new favorite place in Rome? No matter what part of the city we were exploring, we came back to this same place everyday. We did manage to get some sightseeing in as well, and visited the Pantheon, the only gothic church in Rome which was plain on the outside but super pretty on the inside (Minerva), and the Trevi fountain. I pretended I was Lizzie McGuire in the Lizzie McQuire movie when I threw my coin in the fountain. We also visited Piazza Navona and I rode the carosel there. My friend Frances, who visited me in Brighton earlier after studying in Italy, had suggested this restaurant behind the Pantheon called Miscellanea, where the food was cheap and the service was fun. The fantastic owner gave us free "sexy wine" after dinner which was suprisingly delicious. We then walked back to the hostel and decided to play MASH before going to bed early.
Tuesday we had free breakfast in our females-only hostel (lots of bread) and then walked up to the Vatican. The line was really short (benefit of visiting Rome in the winter) and we went through the museum and saw the Sistine Chapel-amazing! We also walked around St. Peter's Bascilica and underneath where old popes are buried. Then it was down the street for a big lunch of pasta and pizza. We crossed the river on the Ponte Sant Angelo and saw all the Bernini statues that line the bridge. Then it was up toward the top of the city to see the Piazza del Popolo and then down further south to see the Spanish steps. I had read in the guide book Frances lent me that there was a Keats and Shelley museum right next door to the steps, and the English major in me had to see it! Kelly and Alyssa waited on the steps while I toured the museum and saw the room where Keats died. On the way toward the gelato place we walked down the major shopping street of the city and I visted another Disney store. It has become tradition for me to go in the Disney store at every city I visit! I had three new flavors of gelato and then we strolled back to the hostel for another early night.
Wednesday, we had breakfast in the hostel and then it was more walking! We walked through the Jewish ghetto to Largo di Torre Argentina, ruins turned cat shelter (a mecca for cat calendar lovers everywhere, according to the guide book). The it was off to the Roman forum, and all around those ruins and the ruins on Palatine Hill. After tons of walking, I had some lasagne for lunch and then finally, the Colosseum! I might have made a few more Lizzie McGuire Movie references and annonced myself in a pro-wrestler voice as I entered the stadium. As the sun was setting, we walked down to Circus Maximus, once a giant race track, now a gravel track-not the most exciting ruin we had seen all day. On our way back we found ourselves walking through Capitoline Hill to the gelato place (again-yay!). Then it was back to our hostel. We decided we couldn't stay in every night, so we went out for a late dinner of more pizza and pasta.
Thursday was our last day in Rome. We had walked the entire city a few times over, so we decided to go slightly outside of the city to see some catacombs. Riding the bus for the first time was definitely an experience, but we made it to the Catacombs, got a tour in English (a relief from our usualy aimless walking with the assumption that we're viewing something famous, although what is a little more fuzzy). The weather was a mix of all our previous days. Monday it had been raining, Tuesday and Wednesday sunny but cold. Thursday was all of these, with rain in the morning leading to a sunny afternoon. We saw the Pyramid on the way back into town but didn't have time to visit the non-Catholic graveyard with some famous graves. We did however have time for one last trip to the gelato place across town, and then hung out at the hostel and then at a cafe until Alyssa and Kelly had to leave to catch their flight back to London. They leave for the States on Friday, while I am spending one more night at the hostel in Rome before leaving for Edinburgh Friday morning. Only a few more days before I head for home myself on Monday!