February 28, 2013 by cmcguigan91
This past weekend I traveled to Rome with my study abroad program, API. It was an amazing weekend spent with amazing people. I’ll try to describe it, but I doubt I can do it all justice.
First things first- our flight from Granada to Madrid got cancelled because of the strikes so we had to wake up early to take a bus. When we arrived at the airport it was insanity. Iberia airlines is cutting jobs, and the workers were protesting. The crowd was under control, but it was one of the loudest, most overwhelming experiences of my life. We made it past the crowd, and after setting off all the alarms in security, I made it through and the flight to Rome was uneventful. 14 hours of traveling later, we were finally there!
When we got to Rome it was time for pizza! It was strange being in a new city all over again. I felt like I had just gotten used to Granada, and here I was in another new place where I didn’t know where anything was and didn’t even speak the language! It was fine though, we made it through with many maps, broken Spanglish, and the occasional ciao and grazie.
After dinner we decided to go for a midnight walk around Rome. It was unbelievably beautiful. We saw multiple plazas and monuments and the Spanish Steps!
We stopped for some gelato (por supuesto!) and walked to the Trevi Fountain. This is definitely one of my favorite spots in Rome! As we rounded a corner, we heard the fountain before we saw it. All my senses were hit- the night, the lights, the water, the excitement- it was absolutely stunning.
Saturday morning we took a panoramic tour of Rome. It was cold and raining, so I’m glad we got to be on the bus. We stopped and got out at the Pope’s Cathedral, which was beautiful, and then continued until we were dropped off at the Colosseum at the end of the tour.
The rain could not take away from the Colosseum’s magnificence. It has so much history, and as we stood inside I thought about what it must have been like thousands of years ago, when people filled it to watch gladiator contests and other events.
It took us forever to walk back to out hotel, and the rain and wind were terrible! But I had the best pesto that made up for everything. The food here is every bit as good as they say! That night I walked around the city with some friends. You can never make too many wishes in the Trevi Fountain!
The next day was absolutely amazing. We woke up early to go the the Vatican Museum, which just happens to be free the last Sunday of the month. The Sistine Chapel was incredible! The walls and ceiling are covered in some of the most famous art in the world- I just stood there and imagined them painting it, inch by inch, hundreds of years ago.
After the museum we hurried to get a spot to watch the Pope’s last public prayer. There were thousands and thousands of people in St. Peter’s square, waving flags and banners thanking the Pope. He spoke in Italian first, and then addressed the crowd in many languages, including Spanish, English, French, and German. Although I couldn’t understand most of what he said, I can’t believe I was there! He is the first Pope to retire in over 600 years!
After the Pope’s blessing, we went to explore! We had pizza for lunch, and then tried to find the Pantheon. On the way there we found the most amazing gelato place! I chose two flavors- Nutella and Tiramisu. Delicious! We also wandered into Piazza Navona, where there were lots of artists selling their work.
After a few wrong turns we almost walked right into the Pantheon! We were walking along a street and all of a sudden there it was! It’s amazing how there are ancient ruins just mixed in with the modern buildings, you never know what you’ll see when you turn the corner.
To finish off our day of exploring, we made another stop at the Trevi Fountain. It was much more crowded during the day, but just as beautiful!
For dinner, we went to a small family owned Italian restaurant. I ordered lasagna and it was the best lasagna I’ve ever had! (Sorry Mom!) We had delicious white wine as well and the owners gave us a free dish of pasta as an appetizer! After dinner, my friend Cara and I decided we wanted to split some Tiramisu. Since there wasn’t much left, the adorable Italian lady gave it to us for free! It was delicious and we shared with the table. We thanked her profusely and she came out with a piece of cake she said we had to try! It was fantastic, of course. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and drank wine and played cards. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
On Monday we had some free time before we needed to go home so we decided to check out St. Peter’s Basilica. It was huge and majestic and beautiful! It’s tradition for people for rub the foot of St. Peter’s statue, so I did. You can tell that many people had done the same- the toes on his right foot had been almost completely rubbed smooth! We also went down to the Vatican Grottoes and saw where many popes and a few royal people are buried.
After the Basilica, we went souvenir shopping and had two last gelatos before we had to leave! It really was an incredible weekend. I am so lucky that I got to experience in one weekend more than a lot of people do in a lifetime!
I’m so glad to be back home in Granada! Next up: Morocco!