I am in sunny, sweltering Rome.
I didn't anticipate not having any Internet when I came here, but it really hasn't been that much of an issue. I'm staying in a rather large apartment with Eia and her grandmother, and I'm typing this blog on mine and Eia's shared Queen size bed in between episodes of Weeds, while Eia is brushing her teeth.
Two days ago I left London with my bag packed too tightly and a long journey to Heathrow ahead of me. I'd stayed the night at my friend Claire's house, and she took me as far as the Piccadilly line before saying goodbye and running off to go on the London Eye (something I probably wont ever end up doing because it's so expensive). I proceeded to the airport, where I was two hours early. I spent those two hours perusing WHSmith, the bookstore, where I finally ended up buying a Danny Wallace book because I realized if I finished my current book while in Rome.. well, I'd be out of luck. I don't speak Italian. xD
The flights were uneventful. I had to connect in Amsterdam, where they threw away my shaving cream, toothpaste, hair product and facewash right in front of me, even though no one at the Heathrow or Dublin airports seemed to think the containers were too big. So that was annoying. I've been borrowing Eia's stuff all week.
I got to Rome around 8:10, where I had to take a train to the Termini station. That took about a half hour. Wearing jeans and a warm jacket, I stepped off the train into 80 degree heat. Eia and her grandma were waiting there for me, and I was so relieved to see them. As much as I love and appreciate everybody I've spent time with in London this past month, it was really nice to run into the arms of my best friend.
I peeled my jacket off, shoved it into my bag (I had to sit on it to make it close) and followed them to the bus that would take us to the apartment I mentioned earlier.
This house belongs to a friend of the family, and it's hilarious. There is a nice terrace to sit on, lots of big spacious rooms, wall-sized mirrors -- and taxidermy animals on every wall. And no, not just regular old deer and things. In the living room, in all its glory, is a giant, grey, scary rhinoceros head. I promise I will make a video of this. A rhinoceros! On the WALL. And it was ALIVE at one point.
Monday we woke up, lazed around a bit, and then set off onto the streets of Rome. Eia and I were determined to hit as many of the tourist places as possible in one day. We barely got out the door before we stopped at a gelato place (I said to Eia, "why does anyone even bother with ice cream when there is gelato in the world?" We mused on this while we ate our respective caramel and vanilla-with-chocolate-flakes).
She took me to a lot of places, like the Fontana di Trevi, the Spanish Steps, the Piazza Navona and the Pantheon ... aside from the Pantheon, I had to keep asking Eia what all the places were called just to write this, haha. I don't remember much historically about each of the places we saw, but there a lot of beautiful fountains and a lot of fun little Piazzas.
Walking passed the Pantheon was kind of a mind trip. There is absolutely NOTHING that old in America. And while there were a lot of old things that I experienced in London, nothing seemed quite as crumbly and ancient as the outside of the Pantheon. Eia and I walked inside and sat in the pews for awhile, inadvertently getting caught up in a deep conversation about life.
As we left I did the sign of the cross with the holy water near the door, and showed Eia the correct way to do it. I may not go to church or be a practicing Catholic anymore, but you don't attend mass for 15 or so years of your life and skip out on a chance to get some holy water in the Pantheon. In Rome. We're going to Vatican later this week as well, which is exciting.
We had lunch at a cute little cafe where we sat at tables outside in a narrow alleyway. Eia had to translate everything on the menu (I'm so glad she speaks a tiny bit of Italian) aside from the obvious things like Spaghetti and Penne and Funghi. Haha.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around, looking at adorable children playing near the fountains, dreaming of going to the beach (we're not going until Thursday), and wandering around in gift shops. My favorite part of this one gift shop was that while the floor was made of marble, every once in a while a particular bit of floor was removed and replaced with glass so you could see the remains of "ancient Rome" below. There were really old sewage systems and all sorts of ruins... it felt strange just walking over them while looking at keychains and bags of uncooked pasta.
At the Fontana di Trevi, I emptied my wallet of every 1 and 2p coin I had leftover from London, and Eia and I took turns throwing about 50p worth of change backwards over our shoulder into the glistening blue water. It got to the point where I was having trouble thinking of new wishes for each coin. Whoever the fountain wish gods are are going to think I am incredibly greedy when they see the long list of things I asked for whist getting rid of all my change. I'm not, really! I just had a lot of pennies!
I threw a wish in there for world peace, and for puppy-sized elephants, just to prove I am selfless and stuff.
Eia introduced me to the wonder that is Suppli on our walk home, and then, completely exhausted, we decided to call it a night. We spent the rest of our evening right here, relaxing on our bed, watching the first three episodes of Weeds. This morning we trek the half hour it takes to get to McDonalds so we can check our email, find out the bus route we have to take to get to the beach, buy our train tickets to take us down to Paris later this week, and post this blog online. :D
I've realized now that this was a really mundane account of the life of a tourist in Rome, but that's how I have spent my last two days. xD Not every part of my life is full of crazy anecdotes, I suppose. Sometimes I just look at old buildings and eat pasta.
about to fall asleep
14 hours ago