Last Wednesday I got lunch with Killian, one of my friends from Gonzaga, who is also studying abroad in Rome. We went to a sandwich place and I ordered my panino thinking that I was getting salami and mozzarella on it. Yeah...ended up getting salmon. I don't really eat salmon...especially when it's barely cooked. It was pretty terrible. So luckily Killian was nice enough to give me a bunch of his salami so I could make my own sandwich. Note to self: make sure to translate the menu correctly before ordering.
After lunch we headed to the Pantheon. I hadn't been inside yet so I figured this was a must see for the day. Also, it's one of Killian's favorite places in Rome. The Pantheon on the outside looks really old and worn and almost out of place. Inside it is amazing. The paintings around the inside are still so full of color. The ceiling is famous of course for it's unique oculus. This opening in the ceiling is the only other source of light in the building besides the entrance door.
After spending some time admiring the Pantheon, I told Killian that I had not been inside any churches in Rome yet (except for in the Vatican). So he took to me to a few that he really liked. One in particular was the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He was the founder of the Jesuit order, so naturally, Gonzaga High School has a close tie to him. (Hold Child does as well because Ignatius was Cornelia Connelly's spiritual mentor.) Inside this church there was also a chapel dedicated to St. Gonzaga, who Gonzaga College High School is named after. It was a really pretty church and it was even nicer having Killian there to teach me everything he learned about the building from one of his on-site classes. I felt like I had my own little personal tour guide for the afternoon. He even had to point out that one of the domes on the ceiling wasn't a real done. It was only a painting of what the dome would've been if they had ever been able to finish it. However, it tricked me and it looks just like a real dome, especially in person.
We visited a few more churches and walked around for a while. Of course, what is a trip around Rome without gelato? So we stopped at this place this is famous in Rome for it's gelato. It was really packed. You go inside and pay 5 euro for three huge scoops of ice cream. I got banana, crema, and tiramisù flavors. Of course Killian knew some more interesting facts, and so I learned that day that you can tell a good gelato place based on the color and flavor of their banana gelato. it's no wonder this place is famous because the banana flavor was by far my favorite of the three and it was so delicious. Also, finally, I got to teach Killian something I had learned in Italian class that morning! The dessert name tiramisù can be split up into tira-mi-su which literally translates into "lift me up" kind of like "pick me up." Tiramisù contains espresso in it so it quite literally is supposed to be a sweet dessert with a kick of caffeine to give you a little "pick me up!" I thought that was a cute little trivia fact.
Walking around Rome on a beautiful sunny day is such a wonderful past time. Even after being here for over a month I find it hard to believe that I'm actually here. This semester is already going by so quickly and I know that I'm going to have a really hard time leaving. I still get chills walking past the Colosseum. I still can't get over how amazing food is here sometimes. I still say "wow that is really good" after every time I try a different wine. I still can't believe that I'm living in Rome.
After our nice little trip through part of the city, we walked back towards Trastevere, crossing over the Tiber River. When the sky is clear and the sun is shining, the Tiber River is a beautiful site. In this picture we are standing next to the bridge over to the Tiber and in the back, behind the tree, you should be able to see the Vatican (vaguely).
Wednesday afternoon was very "charming" as Killian would say. I swear it has to be his favorite word. He says it about everything in Rome, it's kind of funny.
On Friday Melissa and I decided to go exploring! We wanted to go see the Mouth of Truth and also find this door where you can look through the keyhole and see a row of hedges that open up and outline a perfect view of the Vatican. So we hopped on a bus from school and headed toward La Bocca della Verità. We got there and at first didn't even realize that the bus had dropped us off literally right in front of the thing. We looked at a map for a little while and then finally realized that this whole tour group was waiting to go into this basilica where the Mouth of Truth is. Such Americans...
Legend has it that if you stick your hand inside the Mouth, and some one asks you a question, you have to answer honestly or else your hand will be eaten. This mouth is a famous scene from Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. If you're interested in seeing the clip from movie, try YouTube-ing it. It's a really cute scene. And speaking of cute...
...here is me!
Afterward we went to find the keyhole. This took quite a while because we had no idea where we were going and did not really know what we were exactly looking for. So after asking a few people where Aventine Hill was, which is where the door is supposed to be, we headed in the right general direction. We made it to Aventine Hill and the view of the city from there is gorgeous.
After a good amount of time searching for the door, we finally found the keyhole! Here is the keyhole...
And here is what you can see inside of it...
Pretty cool, no?
That week was a pretty successful adventure week! I'm having a wonderful time admiring what the Romans created.