Last weekend I went on my second personal excursion to Rome, Italy! Three friends of mine and I hopped on a plane Friday afternoon and arrived there Friday evening. – just in time for an amazing pizza dinner! (Seriously, I don’t know if it was because I was absolutely starving by the time we arrived in Rome or because it was Italian pizza…but either way it was superior to any other pizza I have ever tasted!) After the dinner we were free to wander around Rome for the first time!! We hit the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain (where of course I made a good wish), the Pantheon, and more!
Saturday was our one full day in Rome, so we woke up early to go to Vatican City. As it is technically its own country, we spent the entire morning there! We took a tour of the palace and museum, and ended the visit with a view of the Sistine Chapel. (Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the Chapel…so you’ll have to take my word for it!) The Vatican was so impressive. I loved standing at the outside of the Sistine Chapel, looking out onto St. Peter’s Square the best.
After the Vatican we took a small hike in the outskirts of the “toursity” part of Rome to see a beautiful view of the city. This walk was so nice – the weather was perfect, the trees’ foliage was a beautiful mix of green, orange, and red, and the air was fresh – my favorite kind of day! And I suppose that the panoramic view of Rome was not bad either! After a yummy pasta meal (which still was sub-par compared to the pizza from the previous night) we headed to the Colosseum. And it was about at this point in the trip where we hit a snag – we arrived at the Colosseum gates to have them literally closed in our faces. Apparently, 4:30 in the afternoon is when the Colosseum closes, guys! I was heartbroken because we were supposed to be leaving for the airport to go back to Bilbao the very next morning! My only thought was: “There is no way in hell that I have come all the way to Rome to see everything except the Colosseum!!” So we resolved to get up at 6:30 the next day to ensure we were the very first people allowed in on Sunday morning and so that we would still catch our flight back home…and all ended well! We got to enter the Colosseum and the Forum and wander it as much as we could on Sunday morning.
What I loved most about Rome was how ancient the city is. I kept on reading these placards at historical sites that said years like “200 AD,” and I swear, I had to read them all twice every time! My mind had a hard time wrapping around how old Rome was – which I think is saying something! It was so cool to be able to walk where the Ancient Romans did, and see where they had the brilliant ideas that helped form the society that I am a part of today in 2013. I feel humbled by my trip to Rome, to put it simply! Traveling like this and learning about people from different times and places really forces you to take a step back and see more than just yourself and your life – it puts you in “your place,” which I think we all need once and awhile.