Wednesday, August 26th, 2009: My flight, which was also home to around 9 other students from our program, arrived at FCO precisely on schedule at 8:07am CEST. After going through immigration and customs, we then split into two groups: one group of five took a private taxi to the Rome Center, while another group of five, myself included, decided to take the Leonardo Express to the Roma Termini railway station. Making sure to validate our tickets, we jammed 5 of us and our luggage into a six-person compartment and had our first glimpses of ruins and the climate rushing past us. Splitting into two additional groups, we then went via taxi to the Rome Center proper.
Italian Taxi rides are basically what one would expect of any taxi driver. After that, we got our keys, some basic instructions, and went to check out our apartment, which was about 2 minutes away from the Rome Center. Overlooking the Campo dei Fiori, we have a fairly central location for exploring.
We spent the next few hours resting and people watching over the Campo. Rain, one of the people who is staying in our apartment, decided to go and imitate an interpretative dance mime in the square. His efforts drew quite a crowd, which was a crowd which did not exist before the imitator showed up.
After a sorely needed nap, we then went off on a educational food shopping trip with our Italian teacher before deciding to head off with a large group who was going to explore, of course, the ancient and ruined buildings which told Rome’s history throughout the ages. Stopping at an outdoor restaurant, a group which was just myself and one other guy hung out on the street which ran elevated across from the Coliseum, and we stayed there for about an hour before finally heading back at around 1am. When we arrived back at the apartment to the loud nightlife of the Campo.
Thursday, August 27th, 2009: Waking up at 8am for the 10am orientation and then going to Italian class after that, class was three hours of what I already knew. It didn’t help matters that it was roughly 160 degrees in the classroom, and that the Italian teacher, who is an Italy native, apologized for the heat which she said was even warmer than she was used to.
Class was over, and it was time for another brief nap before fleeing to the UWRC library until 5pm. This air-conditioned oasis provided us with internet, cool air, and a place to plot our next moves!
We went grocery shopping in the afternoon. It’s pretty incredible about the quality of cheeses and products at a typical store. The prices were generally quite reasonable, and the quality unmatched in the US. Dinner was then made for us, which was a mushroom white sauce pasta which was quite amazing.
At around 10, we decided to go to Piazza Navona, which was extremely crowded with tourists. Brushing this minor inconvienence aside, we stood and soaked up the scene regardless before walking along the Tiber river and the nooks and crannies of the Trastevere rione (district).
After dropping off one of the group at her apartment, we wandered back and retired at 2am.