Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hello from Rome.

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.


Katy J said...

Sounds like a fantastic trip to me. :]

Liam Radge said...

God I miss Rome ^_^
I'm glad to see you're having an amazing time so far! The Vatican will be awesome, but just be careful- last time I went one of my friends decided it would be a good idea to throw up on the front steps of the Basilica di San Pietro; the Swiss Guard were on us all day afterwards xD

iamajedii said...

Old buildings and pasta sounds like a fine trip to me. [Then again, just hearing of food can make me happy. Haha.]

insanity-is-i said...

Old buildings and pasta are still interesting kristina! haha.

Martha said...

I love Rome, and I'm glad you're doing all the touristy stuff and also making time to just hang out in piazzas and have good food.
When I went to the Forum in Rome, I really felt that sense of history that you describe. I walked through the ruins and thought, I am walking where Julius Caesar walked. I am walking where people have been walking for centuries and centuries, and where people will walk centuries from now. It was a really powerful experience.
Enjoy the rest of your time there.
I sent you a tweet about the best gelato place in Rome -- San Crispino, near the Trevi Fountain -- before I read this, so I'm happy to see you're already enjoying the gelato. I miss it.

Faith said...

I'm glad you had fun. It sounds like you needed it.

Elly said...

Rome is absolutely beautiful, I'm so jealous!

I spent my first few days there walking EVERYWHERE, and while it's a lovely way to experience a city, it gets tiring in that heat. I really recommend the tourist buses, for about 10 euros or something you can hop on and off all day, and they go round all the major tourist attractions, plus if you're feeling particularly lazy you can sit on it full circle and listen to the commentary :) well worth it!

easygreen said...

Now THIS is exactly how I would picture Rome. Sounds like a really great time. Great blog! I could just see myself in that shop looking at keychains and avoiding the glass in the floor (I'd be scared to step on it). This blog entry, to me, is why you should win the trip to Antartica. I can't wait to read your blogs from there!

Elizabeth... said...

I hope that wishes you tell us still come true if you write them and not say them out loud, I'm all for wishing for puppy sized elephants.

Sounds like Rome is awesome, you describe it beautifully.


Ruby said...

All I can say is that, however you write your blog, whether it be about feelings, experiences or just sitting and eating pasta and looking at ancient old roman buildings, I enjoy every blog entry.

Rome sounds amazing, I´ve always wanted to take a trip there :)


Cody Hotel said...

My only advice: watch the food channel a lot, you will learn to order food in Italian very quickly.

Have a great time!

SigneHansen said...

Omg! I miss Rome so much too. It was one og the greatest places I've ever been! Hope you're having fun, you deserve It! Also: go to the vatican on a wednesday, the pope holds a speach Every wednesday. Oh and also this is my first time commenting on one of your posts, but I've been a faithful reader for some time now, and I think your blog (and you) is awesome! Hope you have fun! Signe from Denmark ;)

Catharine said...

I agree with you about gelato. Yum.

George Ives said...

I've recently got back from a whirlwind, and in my eyes, far too short trip around europe. My last stop was in Rome and the weirdest thing for me was how the Italians seemed to take it all for granted. A great example is the Pantheon, it's this amazing piece of architecture, and it really is amazing, but it's only about 6 feet from the rest of the city, just tucked away like it's not a big deal :P

GardenofEdee said...

I'm glad you're enjoying Rome, I think it's my second favorite city in the world (that I've been to so far) after Venice. The Pantheon is amazing as is the Vatican. Make sure you check out the Roman Forum! Eat plenty of gelato for the rest of us.

Have fun. You deserve it! =)

&& Thanks for wishing for puppy-sized elephants!!

Wyatthaplo said...

Sounds delightful :)

Tesni said...

Rome is so amazing. I went this summer too, and I adored it. I'm definitely going back, and since I threw a coin in the Trevi fountain Rome will make me come back (did you know that- if you put a coin in you are destined to return to rome... since you put loads in, its a sure fire guarantee!)

You must go to the Coliseum and the Palatine Hill to see the Forum and old temples and palaces. :)

Also outside rome by the coast is this massive roman city that is very very intact, its breathtaking. its called Ostia. You must go, as its HUGE and just amazing. Google it, and you'll just have to go once you see what its like.

Hope you enjoy the vatican. It's fabulous. I recommend going to the sistine chapel EARLY- its in the museum.

Ooo yes and you simply must go to the catacombs- you can get a bus from the city centre. They are just wow!

I'm so jealous I want to be in Rome! and you'll have a wonderful time in Paris too :)


Indigo said...

Sounds like so much fun! That must be really creepy to look at a rhino on the wall, though. I should hope it's not in the room you're sleeping in ;)


It's seems amazing :) I'm so glad you're finally having a great time! :D <33

Ravenclaw2313 said...

Sounds like you are having a good time. Don't worry we enjoy a normal tourist blog just as much as any other. Especially one where you sound so happy and content. Continue to enjoy yourself and let us know what you're up to.

PS What's Suppli?

imagryffindork said...

tossing coins into the fountain, like the lizze mcguire movie?!?! *is a dork*
have fun in Rome!

Olivia said...

That sounds wonderful. I hope you took pictures!

I want to go so badly. Must save money.

to_thine_own_self said...

Ahah...puppy-sized elephants.
If that wish of yours comes true, be sure to tell us.
I want one!


Emily said...

Aw, I'm glad you're having such a good time in Rome! I'm also really jealous, because I've never been to Rome and I REALLY want to go! I'm really happy you finally met up with Eia again, it sounds like you really needed some time with her. That's what best friends are for!

Will said...

Your last paragraph adds so much depth to the entire post.

Sydney Swift said...

if it's any consolation. the london eye is a snooze-fest. 40 minutes of the SAME VIEW?! rip. off.

glad you're having a super time xD

Martin K. Smith said...

I loved Rome! When we went, we stayed in a little hostel about 5 minutes from Termini Station.

I don't know if you got this, but seeing things like... a road around the Colosseum, cars zooming round it... just seemed wrong. You never see cars when you see pictures of it.

The whole city just seemed so laid back though. Hopefully I'll get to go again next year at some point.

Also, I flew to Paris last year, with a can of Lynx in my hand luggage. Flew out of Glasgow, no-one even questioned it. Coming back though? They took it out and threw it in the bin. I didn't really have a problem with them doing it, still seemed odd though.

I came to the conclusion that the people at Glasgow didn't like Paris and therefore didn't mind if I was a terrorist. Whereas, the french care about people and didn't want me bringing down their flight. It's the only thing that makes sense!

Katie said...

LOLz, love your closing sentence. :)

seurat2 said...

Puppy sized elephants? This is why you are awesome.

Never been to Rome, but I'd love to at some point. Lots of great art there if you have time to look.

Littlesheep said...

im glad your having fun

Elle said...

Old buildings and pasta are pretty much what I live for, haha. Really, though, hearing about your trip was fantastic; thanks for keeping us updated. :)

La Causerie said...

This really makes me want to go to Rome. I'm in Europe for the first time(I'm from Kansas City so it's quite a contrast) I'm staying with a family as a nanny for a year. It's kind of an overload to be in a city with so much history everywhere you go.
My advice for Paris is just get a good metro map and use it to get everywhere, the buses are way too complicated. And, definitely walk along the Seine near the Eiffel Tower at night.

runswithwands said...

I've always wanted to go to the Pantheon. I think whenever I go abroad I will definitely be going to Rome.

Rachael said...

I'm sure someone has mentioned this too you at some point but I will type it just in case :) I live in London and yes things are mega expensive to do here, but if you are wanting to do things in london there is a website where you can print a voucher to do a lot of the london attractions at 2 for 1 with a valid train ticket for the day you are going. If you aren't getting the train that day it still works out cheaper to just buy a one way ticket from charing cross to waterloo east or something small like that for around £2.00, when me and my sister went to the tower of london for example we did that and they accepted it so one of the tickets to get in ended up costing £2! All works out a lot cheaper split between two :) Anywho, the website is daysoutguide(dot)co(dot)uk :)

Also, I'm not sure how much longer you are actually in London for what with your travelling around Europe, but there are also lots of vouchers online for 2 for 1 meals in restaurants like Gourmet Burger kitchen. If you google gbk two for one and the word moneysavingexpert then it will link you to a website which has lots of 2 for 1 meal vouchers on it :)

I'm kicking myself for not thinking of telling you this at the beginning of your trip; I hope that one of your UK resident friends already knew about it :)

I hope you have an awesome time in Rome; I am jealous!

Rachael x

lalalaamichelle said...

Don't laugh at me, but the first thing the Trevi Fountain makes me think of is the Lizzie McGuire movie.
It's really too bad you didn't meet an italian popstar and get to sing in a giant auditorium.

Mr. President said...

Sometimes I just look at old buildings and eat pasta.... in ROME! Nothing blah about that. Also, the fountain gods probably enjoy the change and wish granting especially because you tossed in a wish for world peace... and puppy sized elephants :)

What has been your favorite part of Rome?

TessaBessa said...

One and a half years ago I went to Italy with a group from my middle school. And...I think Rome was one of my favourite places we went to.
I LOVED the fountain, other than those annoying street venders, it felt so peaceful. Well really...everything was amazing!
Enjoy yourself there! Eia too!

Simowns said...

Rome sounds fun!

it doesn't matter if you sound touristy, after all.. your a tourist!

besides not everyone wishes for puppy sized elephants :] just the people made of awesome

Kristen said...

Kristina, even when you are not writing about crazy anecdotes, you're still writing an interesting story. Thanks for transporting me to Rome for the day! Can't wait to see what happens on the rest of your journey :)

RhianonLives said...

Woooooooow awesome xD Being there in itself is interesting, you don't need to amuse us with anecdotes... By the way, how is the antarctica thing going?
<3 have fun!

Kaitlyn w/ a K said...

That's what I love about Rome. You're walking along, looking at normal, modern buildings, then WHABAM. There's something huge and ancient nestled between two office buildings.

playmesomething said...

mmmm gelato. never been to rome and i want to go SO BADLY. it sounds like so much fun.

lauraxceleste said...

I'm super jealous that you're in Rome! Even more so after I read all these comments saying "Yeah, when I was in Rome...." etc.
It sounds amazing. And even though you are doing normal touristy things, those of us who have been following your blog for a while can sense a more positive change in tone.
I hope the rest of your trip is so fun that you forget all the less-fun parts. And I hope all your wishes come true...especially the puppy-sized elephants. :]

Chrystie said...

I'm glad you're finally with someone well-known to you! I hope you keep having fun in Rome :) yay!

SlytherinSweetie said...

Wow. That sounds so awesome! ^.^
Reading everything you write in your blogs makes me think of Ginny from 13 Little Blue Envelopes. =]


Azar Davis said...

Old buildings, pasta, and puppy-sized elephants.This post has all my favorite things. ^.^
I've always wanted to go to Rome. Take pictures! :D

HarryPotterNERDFIGHTER said...

Ugh I Love Italy so much. I have family in the south and I havnt been in ages. I miss them loads. And The Pasta, Pizza and Ice-Cream. Ahhhhhh.

Sounds like you're having Fun! I hope you went to the fountain at night, its best at night.

The Vatigan is class. Im not religious at all (Despite being Irish-Italien ahah) but the architecture is beautifull.

I better run, Im geeting ready to go out for my post-jnr.cert results party. I got an A in English, Im so Happy!!!