Wednesday, June 15, 2011

...stay in Rome for Easter Weekend

Every year people pour into Rome from all over the world for Easter Weekend. Rome's population actually doubles this time of year because of all the visitors. This year the weekend after Easter was Pope John Paul II's beatification. So that entire week was extremely busy in Rome. This also was the same week my mom chose to visit Italy. Perfect.

My mom and sister arrived in Rome on Thursday so after my classes I headed into the city to meet her at the Victor Emmanuel. I got there a little early so I figured I'd go walk down towards the Colosseum because it had been a while since I had last visited it. While I was walking, checking out the ruins that line the street leading to the Colosseum, I ran into one of my roommates. All of my other roommates had just left to go to Greece for the long Easter weekend. So I ran into Dani who was with her friend from home that was visiting, then together we headed back to meet up with my mom and sister. We all talked for a little bit and then my mom, Munchkin (my sister Alex), and I headed to meet Blair and Dom for dinner at Tony's.

We had a delicious meal and it was really nice being able to spend time with my mom and sister. We, of course, has to order my favorite dishes: the chicken parm and the penne alla vodka. The BEST chicken parmesan ever! (Although I will say that Killian made a pretty great chicken parmesan for me one night for dinner. I'm not sure if my chicken pesto pasta that I made him for dinner in return was just as good...but I enjoyed it!) After dinner I headed back with them to their hotel room that was completely on the other side of the city. It took forever to get to and looked like it was in the middle of no where, but it was nice and I was able to spend time with them. I spent the night there and on Friday we got to hang out and go around the city. She and Alex then left Sunday morning to go on a tour through the rest of Italy for a week.

That Friday night, Good Friday, I went with a bunch of friends to go hear the Pope speak at the Colosseum for the stations of the cross. We were all given candles to hold during the service. The entire thing was in Italian, so naturally we didn't understand any of it, but it was a really amazing experience to witness. I got to listen to the Pope speak in Rome!

On Easter Sunday, I got up early and met up with a few of my girl friends--Megan, Maria, and Taylor. The four of us headed to Trastevere for a 10:30 a.m. mass at Santa Maria -- one of the oldest churches in Rome. It was beautiful. I had never been inside it before, but had passed it many times before. Again, the entire service was in Italian, but we enjoyed it and were able to follow along to a lot of it. We sang songs in Italian and even got to witness a baptismal. The baby looked so cute in her white, fancy clothes! Everyone was so excited to celebrate. After church we met up with our friend Ariel and her family. We all went across the piazza to sit and have some champagne that her father generously bought for us. He got two bottles and spent a lot of money on us. It was so nice to sit with a family outside on such a beautiful spring day. We finished up our champagne and Megan, Maria, and I decided that Easter Sunday in Rome would not be complete unless we made a visit to St. Peter's Square. So we headed on to the Vatican.

Luckily by the time we got there the crowd that had been there for the Easter service was gone and we could walk around easily and take pictures. We went through the stations of the cross, and I really felt truly blessed to be spending my Easter in such a wonderful city.

The next few days went by quickly with lots of homework assignments, an exam, and projects due. On Wednesday, I was having one of the worst days in Rome. However, it finally got better once I met up with my friend Baker (Daniel Baker, but everyone calls him Baker) who was visiting me for a few days! He is one of my friends from the Journalism school at Maryland and had been studying abroad in London this semester, so he came to Rome for the last few days of his spring break. It was great having him as a guest! I toured him around the city all day Wednesday, with a stop to get gelato at Giolitti in between, and Thursday while I was in class and working on projects he was able to do a couple tours on his own. Friday we spent the day at the park with Blair and Diane playing cards (As*hole, of course. Our favorite game.) and drinking wine. Springtime in Rome is so beautiful. The weather was perfect. That night I had to take Baker to eat at Tony's. We had another great meal followed with chocolate shots from the chocolate shot bar down the street from Tony's. After that we met up with friends and had a great evening. We were going to call it night later on around midnight after we had been hanging out in Blair's apartment, but neither of us really wanted to call it a night. So I figured it was early enough, why not head to Giolitti before it closed and get gelato one last time before he flew out the next morning?? So we headed to Giolitti! If you ever go to Rome this is a MUST GO TO SPOT. It's right near the Pantheon and has the BEST gelato ever. I'm serious. many agree with me. I was lucky enough to have found out about this place early enough from Killian so that I could go there all semester.

Unfortunately for Baker...we didn't make it in time. We got there at 1:15 a.m. and they closed at 1. It was quite a buzz kill, but I figured since we were over there we might as well go to the Trevi Fountain--my favorite place in Rome. You can't be sad at the Trevi. It is so beautiful, and at night when it's not crowded, you can really enjoy it and all of its beauty.

One thing I had told Baker that I really wanted to do before I left Rome was figure out a way to go swimming in the Trevi. He really liked this idea, and decide that he was going to get in the Trevi Fountain. So, I sat on the stairs right in front of the Trevi and watched as he headed to the right side of the fountain and slowly took off his flip-flops, dipped his toe into the fountain, and then stepped into it. He looked around, starred at the fountain, and then slowly stepped out of it. About two seconds later there were carabinieri coming from all over heading towards him. I sat on the steps watching thinking great...whelp, now I have to go save Baker. I went over to the cop car where they took Baker and tried to translate as much as could. After a little bit of arguing and a 160 euro ticket later, Baker walked out of it. He loves that story and really enjoys being able to say that he has been in the Trevi Fountain. I'm kind of jealous.

Saturday night my mom returned to Rome so Blair and I decided to head to her apartment to meet her and my sister and have dinner with them. We had to take a couple buses which was pretty easy. Once we get off on our final stop I knew we were going to have to walk a bit to the hotel. Little did I know how much walking we were about to do...

We headed in the right direction at first through some neighborhood, then somewhere along the way we got lost. Of course, it starts to rain. Why does it always rain when you're already in a bad situation?? Luckily I had a raincoat on and was prepared; I had to lend Blair my umbrella and a hoody later on. So we are walking in the rain and finally see two guys and ask them how to get to the hotel and they point us in the right direction. We walked for about another 20min and at this point we don't know what to do. My mom wasn't answering her phone and by now we were completely lost. We come across a random gas station and ask this old Italian man if he knew how to get to the hotel. He was so incredibly friendly and told us how to get there and also showed us where we could pick up a bus to take us, even though he said it would be about a ten minute walk from where we were. We go back down the street to the bus stop and find out that the bus either wasn't running or that it was going to take a really long time to come. So we figured we would just walk it. We go back passed the gas station and as we're walking by we hear the little old Italian man shooting, "Signora! Signora! Scussi signora!" We turn around and he's hurrying over towards us. We stop and wait to see what he wants. He quickly goes behind a shed and comes back with a big umbrella and hands it over to me. He tells me to take it and keep it. I was so surprised and it really helped raise my spirits. Here I was walking in the rain for an hour trying to find the hotel my mom was staying in, I was in a terrible mood, and this sweet old man completely brightened up my day! He was so nice!

We eventually arrived at my mom's hotel and ended up having a great evening. We got dinner at this great little Italian restaurant outside of Rome and ate some amazing calzones. We talked a lot and I was so happy to spend time with my mom. Later that night we said our goodbyes and took a cab home. It was May 1st. Only two more weeks left in Rome...

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