I was really sad to leave the amazing city of Paris, but we were on our way to Rome- so I couldn’t stay upset for too long. We had planned to meet up with two of Cindy’s friends who she met studying abroad since they would be in Rome the same time as us. We met them at our hostel and checked in. I have to say this was the dinkiest one we chose throughout our trip, but the owner was really nice and there was a full kitchen available for our use. We decided to stay in a six-bed- me and Cin, her two friends, and another couple backpacking as well.
I think hostels are perfectly fine when going with friends, but I don’t know how I like the idea of sharing a room with 4 other people when traveling with my boyfriend. This couple was celebrating their graduation from med-school, and I guess with all the loans they accrued over the years, they had to cut costs somewhere. They weren’t very friendly to say the least, but respectful in our close quarters at the hostel.
The day we arrived was rather a blur, as were all the days of traveling (possibly due to sleep deprivation and running throughout airports at 5am.) Thankfully all the pictures are dated and time-stamped! According to my photos, we visited Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel that first day. Unfortunately the weather didn’t hold up, and it rained on and off throughout the day, with heavy downpours a few times. We made the best of it since we weren’t prepared for the rain (I was wearing flip-flops, and let’s just say I don’t have a good track record of wearing flip-flops in the rain; I held on to one of the boys for dear life!) We explored Vatican City, the smallest country within a country, with its own currency and post office! The four of us enjoyed St. Peter’s Square, admiring the outside work of the Basilica. The quality of work was absolutely amazing- so much detail on each piece, definitely ancient Rome at it’s peak.
After the boys were done joking around, we entered the Sistine Chapel. You must be modestly dressed in order to enter, paying respect to the most recent Pope and all those in the past. Once inside the basilica, it was a rather quiet place. It contains the world’s largest collection of historical artworks, which makes sense since it is one of the oldest countries in the world. I have to admit that the Vatican exceeded my expectations, it is such a beautiful place filled with more history than you can imagine.
Later that night, we decided to put away the history books and have some fun. We asked the owner of our hostel for a recommendation for dinner, in which she suggested Merulana. And what a yummy place this was! I ordered a fabulous pasta dish; the noodles were cooked to al dente perfection. I can honestly say this was the best meal I had in all of Rome. Simple and amazing. And the prices were great (about €8.5 in total for an overflowing dish of homemade pasta). I spent the next 20 minutes or so in heaven eating it all up. If only I could have brought my leftovers back home to the states! We then decided to each order a Long Island Iced Tea, and boy we were wow-ed when our drink came out! The waitress brought over an entire pitcher, along with 4 extra long straws. We did not know what to make of this, so we got our drink on and watched the EURO2008 Soccer games. The boys were so ecstatic when the team they were rooting for won. We somehow ended up in a cab for about a half hour after the boys instructed the cab driver to take us to a club. All in all, a very entertaining night to say the least.
The next morning we said goodbye to the boys- they were venturing off to another city that afternoon. Cindy and I wandered around Piazza Navona for awhile, which was full of tourists examining the three stunning fountains, fine buildings, and beautiful church, with many eating in open-air cafes. There were many artists willing to paint people, and we watched one puppeteer who was absolutely hilarious, and sang Michael Jackson. Next stop, the Spanish Steps!
Of course we got some gelato before taking a seat on the Spanish Steps! It was so nice and relaxing to sit for a while and eat our gelato, while people watching. I am pretty sure eating is now prohibited on the steps. Not surprisingly, these are the longest and widest steps in all of Europe!
Arch of Constantine