Rome Update #4

Wednesday, Septemer 2nd, 2009

After the usual class with Professor Walsh, I then worked on my Italian homework, which was to translate a biography of an individual our group is interviewing, and then to find out how to get to the interview location. After successfully finding it without too much trouble (it is near the Pantheon and Chamber of Deputies), I ambled back in the searing sun to take a very much needed nap.

Then Rachel showed up at 4 or 5 or so, and we decided to wander around aimlessly since we had nothing better to do. After ending up at the Tiber river, we went north and explored the various bridges and enjoyed the sun setting over St. Peter’s and some obscure Piazza’s and assorted workings of Rome. Then we decided that while we would not be able to satisfy our burrito cravings in Rome, a cheeseburger from McDonald’s would also do the trick. There are signs all over Rome directing people to where the nearest McDonald’s is, so it seemed like a easy task to find one. Right?

Not really. It was pretty hard to actually find one, and took us about an hour of circling a few blocks to actually locate that particular MickeyD’s. After that episode, we then promptly got lost and walked about an hour in the wrong direction and ended up at the shopping district at around 9pm. Finally we got our bearings and had to take a large backtrack and circle to get back to the Campo.

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Pretty relaxed day. Another class with McCann before taking the rest of the day off until our group dinner at 7:20pm. After some fairly uninspiring food (yet free wine), a few of us decided to go off to the Spanish steps. 2000 billion steps later, we arrived at around 22:30 and started chilling. Rain was playing the guitar until a cop came along and somehow managed to say that music was not allowed at the “monument.” We were all rather confused about this, as other people were doing the same thing, but decided it wasn’t our place to argue this assertion. Then we split up again, and I was barely awake so I choose to go back to the apartment to sleep.

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Waking up at 6:00am, I showed up at the Rome Center at 7:20, ready for our bus tour! After heading out to the bus stop, it started a very interesting (and warm) Roman rain shower. Slightly soggy, we all climbed aboard the bus and travelled north. We stopped at a old “garden of monsters” which were a bunch of old sculptures and monuments of various objects, including giants in a fight, the “mouth of hell,” a leaning building, and a giant war elephant.

Getting aboard again we arrived at Orvieto, which is a mountain top town in Italy that is characterized by the fact that it’s on top of a large volcanic plateau.

Riding the funicular railway to the top and then a short bus, we were dropped off in front of a classic example of Italian Gothic architecture in the form of a church. Dom, Rain, Rachel and I then got tickets for the underground tour. The tour was basically a bunch of tunnels and basements that the residents in the city created for tax-free workspaces, storage, and shelter from the heat and (later) bombs.

Then we wandered around for a while, doing some shopping in the narrow streets. The town is noted for its ceramics, and this reputation certainly did not disappoint. Finally we ended up going down the side of the cliff to check out the necropolis and circle the city before coming up on the other side and walked up a very steep street that really hilighted the idea of “we will build whatever we want, whenever we want, and we don’t care how it looks” construction.

We got back on the bus at around 4:00pm, and after getting back at 6 or 7pm, took it pretty easy and retired to bed early.

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Dom, Rain, Rachel and I were going to the beach!

We woke up early, took a bus to the Romi Termini, and then a 1hr 20min train (6,20 euro each way) to Fondi, which is a town near the sea. The train station was huge, with trains going everywhere. Luckily Rain and Dom knew what they were doing and we managed to find the correct train and settled in an Air Conditioned Car. Another fun thing is that the stops are not announced, you have to look at the station signs when the train stops. Except some of the station signs are really hard to find, and you have to almost guess where you are. After meeting a large group of girls who were in our program who independently were going ot the beach, we travelled together for the next few hours. Arriving fine,  after missing the bus to the beach and waiting around the station, we took a crowded bus to Sperlonga (beach). Finding a "free" beach (most beaches are paid, where you pay to have a chair, umbrella and such), we set up camp and chilled on the Mediterranean Sea for 5 hours while swimming in the beautiful surf, eating Kabob, and soaking up the sun. After walking along the town and along the water, we came to a large sea cave before having to turn back.

At the bus stop, we suddenly found a marching band playing some pretty awesome tunes marching on the main street of town. Getting on the shuttle and then take the train back to Rome, we got back to Roma at around 10:00pm when Rain and Dom suggested we go to a pretty awesome place to eat that they knew about. It was pretty great food, and we took a bus back to the Campo after that.

I got sunburned on my front lower legs and feet pretty badly, but everywhere else was fine. I think the sunblock must have gotten washed off or I just didn’t apply enough.

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