Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Benvenuto in Italia!" My first days in Italy

I’m sorry to everyone that I am just now posting something! It has been a wild week, and we were just told the Internet code for our apartment today! (YES! Finally… J) But do not fret- I am safe and happily sitting in my beautiful Florentine apartment! Anyways, I will fill you on my adventures abroad thus far…

I couldn’t believe that in about 24 hours (Sunday and Monday) I was in 5 cites, 3 countries, and 2 continents. I can’t even think about the different time zones! After leaving home at 8am, I flew from Atlanta to Chicago then to New York, London, and Rome. Halfway through my flight to London (which was not part of the original itinerary…) it hit me that I was flying to London, and my head was spinning from that point on!

My flight from London to Rome was a blur. I thought my long flight was the greatest thing! The flight attendant would keep coming by with a nick, then a dinner, and then a warm breakfast, and I saw a movie... it was great! All my flights were great. On all but one I sat by the window with no one beside me! I only slept about an hour, but it was fine because I had a good book, animal crackers, and the airplane food was distributed regularly!We touched down in Rome in the early afternoon, and I was so excited to be there and to be on the ground!

In Rome, my cab driver from the airport was so crazy; the quintessential Italian driver, he was never in one lane and usually on the shoulder. Rather than slowing down for other cars, he would just honk at them. It was an interesting style of driving! I was trying not to smile too much because I thought it was hysterical.

By this time, I was exhausted, but when I got to Brooks’ apartment in the city center, he was ready to show me around Rome and I was happy to see it! I was in awe of everything. I love all of the buildings and the cobblestone streets without proper sidewalks and everything! I just couldn’t believe that I was in Italy, finally! J

Anyways, Brooks lead me to the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps, and gave me interesting historical facts along the way! He is a legitimate tour guide.

When it began to get dark, we stopped at a grocery store and then headed to the apartment to make dinner! Brooks made some type of pasta and meat sauce, and I made a rather pathetic salad! J It was a delicious dinner though! Complete with Italian bread and win!

Tuesday was a rainy day, but that did not stop my fun in Rome! J Brooks had class most of the day, so I had a slow morning. We met up for lunch- the best panino I have eaten so far and a cappuccino. After lunch and a walk through the Renaissance district, I went to explore Vatican City. The walk there was entertaining on it’s own, and St. Peter’s square was awesome. By this time my shoes we filled with cold water, but I was too preoccupied to care much. After admiring the square, I checked out the tombs below the Basilica. Next, I spent a lot of time in the Basilica. It was gorgeous- words cannot describe.

I then bought a ticket to go up to the roof. If you go to St. Peter's- DO THIS! I was so excited to see the city from that high, even though it was rainy, I could still see pretty far. It was so cool to see the statues that surround the square a bit closer.

That was cool, but Oh- it gets better. J I realized that I could go into the main dome of the basilica! So I walked around the ledge and looked closely at the mosaic covering the walls. I was amazed that everything I had seen from the floor was not paint but actually mosaic! The ledge also offered an amazing view of the church from above.

And THEN- I saw a passage leading to a staircase. And that long staircase led to a series of long and unbelievably small, steep staircase that led up to the very top of the Cupola! So I saw Rome and Vatican City from the above! Amazing!

My adventures at the Vatican lasted me most of the afternoon, and I made it back to the apartment around 5. At that point I switched to some dry shoes and hit the shops with Brooks! Apparently January is a HUGE sale month in Italy- EVERYTHING is on sale from the winter collections. This was perfect because I had needed some boots, especially with Rome’s rainy weather. I found some boots for €25 and then a skirt for €10. I was very pleased! J Brooks got an outfit way on sale at a place called “Brooks Ltd,” so he seemed pretty content as well. After that, we went to a GREAT pizza place and split a margherita pizza and some wine. It was a great dinner. A bit later, everyone from the apartment went out to an Irish pub where it was karaoke night! I had such a great time singing and dancing! Karaoke night is right up my alley!

Wednesday was the day I had to move in to my Florence apartment, but I spent the first part of the day in Rome. Brooks and I saw Castel Sant’Angelo- it was awesome. It is just across from the Vatican and it was the best view of the city I had seen because the day was clear. The mountains I loved wandering around in the castle. The whole time I was just trying to imagine what it would've been like to live there- was so extravagant! It is unbelievable how every surface is decorated with frescoes, mosaic, or marble.

After seeing the Castel Stant'Angelo, we grabbed Kababs, picked up my luggage, and headed for the train station. Rome was amazing, and I had a great time. It was a quick couple days, but we crammed a lot in! I am so thankful to Brooks for being so hospitable and making sure I had a good time.

Now, I am looking forward to telling everyone about my time in Florence! :) But... I realize this is already a long post, and it took a while to type, so I will leave you with this for now! I hope everyone is doing fabulously at home and at school!

Love to you all, and let's talk soon! :)