Monday, August 12, 2013

Italy Part 1: My vacation is over and Rome.

My vacation is over. Now, I will begin the tedious review of my trip to Italy. I am trying to condense everything as much as possible. So please be patient. I am fairly certain there will be too much information in here, regardless.

I will preface things by mentioning that crazy-plane-woman (the one that sat next to me on the plane), did every cliche obnoxious-passenger-sitting-next-to-you thing as possible. She even managed to spill her wine on me. This did not detour me from my initial enthusiasm of my travels. However, she did deserve mention.

Well done woman....well done indeed.


While in Rome, we stayed at the Hotel Scalinata Di Spagna.  This happens to be right next to the Spanish Steps. My room was clean and cozy and I was impressed by the intriguing light fixtures which can only be described as crazy-glass-octopus-flowers. I looked out the window and decided that it was time to start my first Roman adventure.

Andy wanted to see the Spanish Steps so we decided to start there. Then, we would find our way to some gelato.....

After, being accosted by five or six gypsies trying to sell us luck bracelets, we decided to avoid the steps.

We did end up finding good gelato at the famous Il gelato di San Crispino. I wish I had taken pictures of the gelato. Unfortunately, by this point I completely abandoned using my camera. From this point on, I left all picture taking up to Andy and his trusty cell phone. All I have is my memories of the BEST GELATO EVER! That is good enough for me.

We did get this beautiful image at the corner before the gelato place, if you are feeling left out.

I must admit my time in Rome starts to blur together. After the gelato, is a wine induced haze. Let's say, we didn't take long to start drinking copious amounts of wine...

For my sanity, I will start outlining Rome by the places we went instead of trying to do things in chronological order.

Colosseo (The Colosseum) and Monti:

I must admit there was a lot of Rome that I had little interest in seeing. One of these places was the Colosseum. Something about...going to a monument dedicated to torture concerned me. However, my interest in history won and I went.

My first tip? If you plan on seeing the Colosseum, please order tickets to pass the queue beforehand. We passed a line and ended up waiting zero minutes to walk through the upper region of the Colosseum. It was impressive and crowded.

After walking around the Colosseum, we wandered around the nearby historical sites. The decision was to forgo such sited as, the Forums and the Arch of Constantine and make our way to the Monti area.

Monti is a short walk from the Colosseum and this is where the local college kids hang out. There are tons of little thrift stores and vintage shops. I also found boutiques, art dealers, bars, music stores and other fun places to visit.

Was there something that stood out in this area? Why yes, I am glad you asked.

The street art.

Everywhere I turned, there was something new and interesting to look at.

We did some shopping there. By this point, I was so sick of all the bag peddlers on the streets. They would try to place bags in your hands. You would say no, only to be harassed by another man with the same selection of designer knock offs. Initially, I had plans to buy a bag in Italy....BUT I quickly lost interest.

The thrift stores had tons of fairly priced vintage designer brands. So what did I find myself? Plastic earrings. Yup, handmade plastic earrings from a local artist. I have only two items I brought back from Rome, those earrings and a stone from the Roman street.

The Midnight Dance Party:

This is, as good time as any, to bring up the random dance party. After a night of drunken debauchery, I stumbled my way home. Eventually, the group and I came across a clearing which turned out to be the Piazza del Popolo. This is what we saw. Please excuse the poor quality, again this was taken from Andy's cell phone.

Parco delgi Aquodotti (The Aqueduct Park):

The only thing that Andy DEMANDED we do while in Rome was; visit the Aqueduct park. We braved the Italian Metro train system and took it to the edge of Rome. We grabbed some refreshments and some beer. Then found our way to the park

This was my favorite part of Rome. It was quiet. We laid in the grass. We climbed rocks. We picked some plums with locals. It was exactly the Italy I was wanting to experience.

Pantheon and Fontana di Trevi (The Trevi Fountain):

So, I saw both of these sites multiple times during my trip to Rome. The Pantheon was a refreshing change of pace. I was surprised that the Pantheon free to enter AND it was relatively peaceful inside. I must make a confession here; when I first saw the Pantheon I was almost moved to tears. I am not sure why this moved me. But, it did. I was also surprised by the fact the Pantheon was even prettier at night.

I have mixed feelings about the Trevi fountain. Honestly, I think the Trevi fountain holds some of the best statue work in Italy. On the other hand, I felt the romance of the place was voided by the hoards of tourists and Italian men asking lonely woman out on dates. Also, I was the only one of the group that thought the Trevi fountain was more beautiful during the day than at night. 

One last thought about Rome: We avoided visiting the Vatican and any tombs all together. I really have no regrets about this decision...BUT maybe in the future I will visit just for kicks.

Now stay tuned for Italy Part 2: Tuscany...

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