In the last two weeks I have had two trips to Roma but I knew that this last one would be the big one so I have saved all of the photos and updates until now.
15 February (Day 1): My friend and TEFL mate, Thomas, and I had to go to Rome for an interview for a teaching position with the well-known language school Berlitz International. We hopped on a train at 6:40am Monday morning to be there with plenty of time to get to our interviews at 12pm and 2pm. We got lost, but needless to say we got to the school, interviewed and got the jobs. We left the school around 2pm and had around 4 hours to eat something and see what we could in Rome. We decided that all in all we wanted to see the Colosseum, that could be the first thing we saw in Rome.
We grabbed the metro over there and when we walked out the station I am sure we looked like two of the biggest tourists in the world, we just stopped and stared at the Colosseum in awe. Then we ventured over, and right off the bat we were bombarded by "gladiators" wanting to take pictures. We weren't used to this kind of thing in Florence so we accepted some photos taken on my camera and started to leave. Then he began demanded money, we looked from him to each other in confusion. Surely this man couldn't be asking us to pay him for the photos that we took on our camera!! He was and it all happened to fast that my protest weren't heard and Thomas handed over a small bill (well not that small, 5 Euro) and were on our way. We were still awe struck for a good half hour later, but then decided that we would chalk it up to lessons learned.
Then we walked along the main street by the Colosseum and along the Roman Forum and ended up at Vittorio Emmanuelle Monument. We snapped a lot of photos, grabbed a nice dinner in the Jewish Ghetto (it was amazing!) and boarded the train back to Florence. One day in Rome, fairly successful!
Later in the week we found out that we were hired for the job! Success! Now we find out that we had to go back to Rome in the first week of March for the training. Time to start planning :)
2 March (Day 1ish): In the end Thomas, myself and Jesse our other fellow TEFL mate and Florence dweller were the winners of the Berlitz jobs! Training starts on Wednesday March 3rd so Jesse and I hopped on a train on Tuesday evening so we could get a good nights rest and do some exploring.
We got to our hostel around 8pm and checked in, dropped our stuff off and headed to dinner! We found this little Hostaria (thank you Let's Go!) where the wine was 6 Euro per liter and the pizza was 5 Euro! After a long and thoughtful dinner we decided to find one major landmark to see before we headed back to the hostel. We wondered quite indirectly to Fontana di Trevi. It was beautiful! We stared for a while, then we each threw out two coins in for love and drank some water. It was a great time and we wondered back to the hostel pointing to random monuments and walking along random streets. It was a very comical night, the two American tourists trying not to be tourists had to give in and whip out the map countless times.
Turns out there are orange trees growing along the busiest streets in Rome, and after many determined attempts Jesse was able to pluck a few for us to enjoy. I'll just give a word to the wise, don't try them. They are the equivalent of grapefruits combined with lemons that have been wrapped as oranges and planted for aesthetic appeal on the streets of Roma. Enough said.
3 March-5 March (Days 2-4): Thomas joined us on Wednesday morning and Wednesday through Friday we had our training for the job. We were pretty frustrated since we had just spent four weeks learning how to be teachers but we made it through and there were some high points along the way. We saw the Trevi Fountain again by night, had a delicious kebab near our hostel. Then Thursday night we went back to the Hostaria and shared some more cheap wine and pizza and then ventured out in the night. Thursday night we saw the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Popolo, took vast amounts of photos and went home in order to prepare for our last day of training.
6 March (Day 5): Saturday was going to be the big tourist day, Jesse and I had talked about seeing the Vatican first thing in the morning and working our way back to Termini through the major monuments. I woke up in the hostel got ready and headed to breakfast. I was greeted with a nice text from Jesse saying that he was sick and couldn't make it on the adventure. I was devastated. Lorenzo was hopefully going to be in Rome by 11:30am if he got on the train in time (not likely knowing him) and I didn't want to go to the Vatican by myself.
Sitting at breakfast I text Lorenzo inquiring that he was please already on the train. He didn't answer and I figured he was asleep so I contemplated what I could see until he got there. Fifteen minutes later he called and said in a sleepy voice, "oh, I just woke up", how devastating! Then he said "just kidding, I'm in Rome! I took the fast train!" My boyfriend saved the day and he came to the hostel checked in and we were off to the Vatican :). On the way we visited some other open churches and the Pantheon.
We spent four hours perusing the church of the Vatican, and climbing lovely St. Peter's Basilica. It was amazing climbing up those tiny, twisting stairwells smiling back at a bunch of people you didn't know and whose language you didn't share but with whom you shared the same excitement of being such a tourist. After ample admiration and photo taking we went for lunch. After lunch we went the Piazza di Spagna (my favorite place in Rome that is not one monument) and people watched. We spent time just wandering and sitting on the steps watching people. Then we decided to hear back to the hostel to regroup before dinner.
For dinner Lorenzo took me back to Piazza di Spanga to a restaurant recommended by his dad, Ristorante alla Rampa, there we decided to celebrate my birthday early with a full course Italian style dinner. We had white wine, pasta, meat and coffee. We skipped the dessert since we ate so much! After we walked by the Fontana di Trevi for one last look and some last photo ops.
7 March (Day 6): The next morning our first mission was the Sistine Chapel, we were headed to the metro around 8:30am when I decided it would be a good idea to re-check the hours since it was Sunday. I was disappointed to read, the Chapel is closed except for the last Sunday of the month when it is free to tour, it was the first Sunday of the month. So, Lorenzo and I changed routes and headed to the Colosseum to do the combined tour of the Colosseo, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hills. Standing in line we heard from one of the guides that women got entrance for free today! Lucky us!! :) We wondered through the Colosseum and the hills with hundreds of other tourists and enjoyed the beautiful sun and the artifacts that are displayed inside the Colosseum walls. Then we walked through the Roman Forum and wondered what each arch and column but represent before the camera died and we decided we were too hungry to go on.
Finally, we met my friend from Seattle (UW and Nordstrom co-worker) for a quick lunch and reunion and had our last meal in Rome.
After four hours on the train we were so glad to be home, we went out to dinner for a special birthday dinner at a nearby neighborhood restaurant called Da Sergio. It was such a great little place, where Sergio the chef was chatting with and thanking each of the diner's as they left. We enjoyed authentic pasta, pecorina and jam and delicious house wine followed by chocolate cakes and Moka Caffe, which is the metal stovetop brewed coffee made for each diner by the waitress.
It was a great week in Rome and a great birthday weekend!