Friday August 28th, 2009
Friday started out calmly, with a few hours of Italian class and then some grocery shopping before an extensive nap to try and make up for the lack of sleep. When I woke up, a group of us were going to travel down to the Tiber river again for a night out. 4 of them got quite drunk, but myself and Rain took it pretty easy. In all, it was a pretty great evening.
Saturday August 29th, 2009
On Saturday I woke up at 6 to take a shower and check out the world before we met in front of the Rome Center at 7:30am for an architectural tour of part of the city. With excellent commentary, we were lead to the Palentine Hill, Roman Palaces, Party Headquarters, Churches, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and other historical sites. After getting back at around 1:30pm, we took it easy for a while the sun continued its relentless attack upon the city. At 7:30pm, there was a student dinner in the UWRC conference room for the LSJ Rome participants and some Italian girls who were interested in going to UW for grad school. Attempting to speak Italian, we didn’t do such a shabby job while eating Gnocchi with Pesto and other assorted Italian dishes.
After this, 4 of us decided to go check out the Palentine hill at night. Wandering through the streets while Rain strummed the guitair, we meandered to the hill and checked out the Roman Forum ruins at night before (of course) making our way to the Coliseum once again. Taking a closer look, we checked out the floor level outside with a flashlight and then took a break sitting on one of the support columns which was demolished for building materials a few centuries ago.
On the way home, we ran into the Largo Argentina cat sanctuary, which hosts around 250 stray cats which are fed and cared for by a group. These kitties live in a historical site marked by the ruins of 4 ancient temples. At this point we wondered if they were actually there to eat the large wombat-type rodent we saw at another ruins a few days previous. Leaving that aside, it was quite extraordinary to see cats sleeping on temples constructed over 2000 years ago.
Sunday, August 30th, 2009
Waking up at 7:00am, I quickly got ready because a bunch of us were going to visit the Vatican city and wanted to get an early start. The only problem is that nobody showed up or was awake except Rachel. We went regardless, and after managing to miss St. Peter’s and get lost for a short period of time, we got to the basilica checkpoint before the security guys decided that her shorts were too short and denied entry. So we went to a shop and got a cheap scarf (that’s what we think it was) which was able to get us inside.
The size of the basilica is awe-inspiring, and certainly the view did not disappoint. We ran into 3 other LSJ Rome students who told us just went to the top of the dome.
Paying 5 euros each, we started climbing 320 steps to the main staging platform before starting on the dome itself. The steps were mixed types, very narrow, steep, and often shifted directions and such for no real reason. It was entirely too warm, and quite an inferno without any ventilation.
Finally making it to the top, we were rewarded with a stunning view of the Roman skyline and an amazing breeze, making the climb well worth it. At this point, we decided to decend and find the Vatican Museums, which were having a once-a-month “free” day (normally admission is 14 euro). Understandbly crowded, we waited in a fairly quick line and then went to the Sistine Chapel while admiring all of the other works of art before the chapel. Finally after 90 minutes of crowded and warm walking in a large group, we entered the Sistine Chapel.
Which, after all the anticipation, was slightly underwhelming.
Exiting, we chilled outside the Vatican city walls before deciding it was 1:30pm, and thus time for some lunch. Finding a hole in the wall bar (generic term for an Italian restraunt) and had some pasta and Pizza Magerhirita. Walking back, our feet were in open rebellion before arriving around 2:15pm where I promptly took a 4 hour nap before going to the Rome Center for some photo editing and faster internet.
Staying in the Rome center until 11:15, I went back and did some studying for tomorrow’s class before taking a shower and writing this post.