In continuation of a prior entry, I will now explain the connection between two previously documented events. The first was the Sylvester Stalone sighting, and the second the movie press conference at the Colosseum. So when me and Mayank are driving around last night before Nate got in town, we drive through the Piazza Republica (which is this really cool round-about with a HUGE fountain in the center and a bunch of really pretty buildings surrounding it) and as we are rounding the south western corner, we are stopped by a huge outpouring of people, flashing lights, limos and guys in black suits with big black sunglasses. What is it, you may ask? The Roman premier of the new Rambo movie. Of course, it all makes sense now. Sylvester was in town for the premier and the press conference was in preparation for it. Mayank snapped a few photos and we laughed at the whole idea and then went back to the hostel and got there right as Nate was walking inside.
It was so good to see him, he's basically the oldest friend I had on this trip and so it was basically like I had seen someone from home. We exchanged stories about our travels since we last saw eachother and then decided to go out (starting a little late, I know). Mayank joined us and we headed out for our favorite over-crowded Irish pub. Of course, we took a Peroni for the road, but upon arriving (and ditching said Peroni) we were informed that we would not be allowed in. BOOO!! So we admit defeat and head back towards the main street to go find a cafe to sit in. We find a good looking place, only to find out (after the fact) that the pint and a half of beer that we were drinking cost 7 euro (YIKES!!). We moved to a new bar - obvi. This one was much more packed and quite a bit more fun. There was a group of about 10 old Englishmen who were already pretty wasted and were in town for the Rugby match today. They were great fun and served as pretty good company.
I kept waiting for the place to close, for them to ask for last call and it just never happened. Mayank started to fall asleep on a chair about the same time someone walked in in a suit and asked for an espresso. That's when I knew we were in trouble. As I walked to the front entrance, I realized it was light outside. We had officially stayed there all night. I didn't realize it at the time, but at a lot of these cafes, they don't close until the last customer leaves, so, if you don't leave... you get to stay all night!! The morning shifters arrived and we caught a cab back to the hostel just in time to eat some breakfast and then take a 2 hour power nap before waking up at 10:30 to do some more touring.
Today was my day to show Nathan everything. The four of us hopped back on our scooters and rode to the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain (my first time to see either in the daylight) and grabbed some Gelato while we stood around and snapped some photos. From here, we decided to go up to the Villa Borghese which is a big garden up on one of the hills to the North of town. I'm not sure why, but again, I was appointed as the know-it-all in the navigation department, so I directed us around (including through a parking garage with a sign that specifically said "No Scooters") and up right in the middle of the gardens. We drove around the garden, up by the top of the Spanish Steps and then back down to city center to return our scooters... Or rather, rent for another day. Me and Nate decided that it would be in our best interest to rent for the afternoon rather than walk everywhere. Mayank and Rangan turned theirs back in (they're off to Naples tonight) and then we all headed to a buffet style cafe in the train station for lunch. We sat and talked for a good hour and a half before saying arrivederci to our Aussie friends and then we headed out for some more sights on Barbarina.
At this point, I had no one to lean on for driving, so I was in charge. Nate rode on back and I spent the rest of the day taking him to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Circus Maximus and the Vatican. We also stopped for chocolatto at one point and somehow managed to make it back to the hostel just after dark. Now, being that this is my last night in Rome, we have decided to do it up right. Me and Nate are going to a nice Italian restaurant near here for a full meal before going out for the night. And when I say going out for the night, I mean... the entire night. I figure that the best way for me to avoid jet lag would be to adjust to normal time now. It actually works out nicely because my first train leaves at 8AM which would be 1AM Austin time, AKA a perfect time to go to bed. So, I am going to stay up all night and just catch my train and then sleep on train/plane all the way home. We'll see how it works, but I think it's fool proof.
I know it's really sad to think, but this will officially be my last post from Europe. I'm going to have a couple more when I get home about this last night/travelling day and then some closing comments, but as far as actual activities... this is it :(
It has been amazing.
"By all means, Rome. I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live."