Day 4: When in Rome…
Well, I think it’s “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” I might have just made that up. Anyways, I’m not sure what the Romans do exactly, because most everyone I noticed there was American.
We arrived in Rome in time for lunch…my first Italian meal! I got a pasta dish & some tiramisu…both were excellent.
We met up with the whole group for a 3 hour walking tour of the city. On the tour we visited so many sights….the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Trajan’s Column, the Roman Forum, etc. That was the really cool thing about Rome…it didn’t matter where you were or why you were there, you were always surrounded by something interesting, something with a history.
After the tour finished, Becky, Alex & I continued to explore for a bit before we sat down for dinner. We ate at a new restaurant, called Life, near the Spanish steps. I had pizza and some red wine. It was delicious.
We walked back to our hotel, stopping at the Trevi again to see it lit up, and passing the Royal Palaces. The plan was to go out later that night with some friends, but I definitely layed down on my bed and passed right out.
Day 5: Roma, Italia
The first thing we did on Wednesday was head to the Coliseum (which I have no idea how to spell correctly, thanks WVU for confusing me). We had a guided tour of the inside. It was actually less impressive than I had expected. It was huge alright, but hard to image in its original form because all of the seats and everything were completely gone. The floor was being rebuilt while we were there, which looked really nice.
We then went to Vatican City where we toured the Vatican Museums, saw the Sistine Chapel ceiling and St. Peter’s Cathedral. The Museums were nice, and filled with tons of famous artworks. The ceiling was cool too, but it definitely hurt to look up at it for a long period of time. My favorite place in Vatican City was the Cathedral. It was enormous, and very beautiful.
We left Vatican City and went in search of lunch. After eating we continued exploring and shopping for a little bit longer. We had dinner that night at a restaurant right around the corner from our hotel, because we were all extremely tired and sore from all of the walking.
Day 6: Pizza in Pisa/Welcome to Florence
We arrived in Pisa the next day in time for lunch. Marcie and I got pizza and had a picnic on the grass in front of the cathedral. We thought we were pretty cute, eating pizza in Pisa…actually, we are cute. We walked around the little outdoor marketplace and took the usual tourist pictures with the leaning tower before heading back to the bus.
I was actually very impressed with Pisa. In all honestly, I was not interested in seeing tower that leaned, but it was absolutely beautiful. The cathedral and baptistery were very ornate and it was a really nice, peaceful setting.
We spent the next day and a half in Florence. The city was actually better than I expected as well. It was smaller than Rome or Athens, but I loved seeing all of the art and sitting by the river. It was a nice change of pace.
We arrived in the evening and settled into our hotel. Afterwards Erin, Becky, and I went out exploring the city until it got dark out. We stopped for dinner at an outdoor restaurant in a really nice piazza. I got excellent pasta – even though it took forever to get (really, all Europeans hate me). After dinner we stopped in an Irish pub called The Joshua Tree, right near our hotel. The owner was really great and even though it wasn’t Italian, it was a really cool scene.
Day 7: Florentine Loving
The next day we toured the Accademia Gallery where I snuck a pic of the David. It was very impressive, better than I had expected. The rest of the museum was sort of blah.
We moved right along to the Uffizi Gallery. This museum was great. They had whole rooms dedicated to famous artists like Raphael and Caravaggio. It took a couple of hours to get through it and we didn’t cover even half.
After the Uffizi a group of us went to lunch at another outdoor Italian place. We spent the rest of the day wandering around, shopping, and exploring.
We met up with our 2 program directors, Angelo & Maria for dinner. After we went back to the pub for a little to hang out before heading back to the hotel to pack and sleep.
Day 8: I Heart Venezia!
We boarded the bus for a four hour ride to Venice the next morning. After we got to the area, we had to take a shuttle boat out to the actual city. It was awesome to be on the water and the city from that view is gorgeous!
Once in Venice, we only had four free hours to explore on our own. We walked through St. Mark’s Square, shopped a lot, and ate at McDonald’s. Yes, McDonald’s – we didn’t want to waste the little time we had sitting waiting for food.
After lunch we wandered some more, bought some more, and fed the pigeons in the square. We all met up and took the boat back to the mainland before boarding the bus yet again. We drove to nearby Vicenza, only an hour away to stay at a hotel for the night.
Vicenza was dead. There were no people. There were no bars to go to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. There was nothing. We walked for nearly 45 minutes until we reached a restaurant for dinner. It was worth it though, definitely the best Italian meal I had on the entire trip. (I got white pizza!)
We headed home afterwards, packed our bags, and were prepped to leave Italy the next morning.
Day 9: So Long, Italy, I’ll Be Back
On Sunday I woke up at 6:30 bad idea. I met up with Jen and Courtney for breakfast and we just hung out until we boarded the bus to Milan.
Once in Milan we only had 2 ½ hours to explore and hang out. We visited the Duomo during mass, which was really beautiful. We wandered the streets and checked out the shops. We ate a quick lunch and continued on our way. I didn’t really like the city much: it was industrial and bland. We all congregated and sat in front of a beautiful castle until we left for the airport.
We got to the airport at 4 p.m. because our bus driver had to get back to Rome by a certain time. Our plane didn’t leave until 7:30. Ruth, Lauren, and I played rummy for those few hours.
The plane ride was cramped and I sat next to two whiny Greek men, one who flipped out for the entire 2 hour ride because some other guy spilled coffee on his suit.
We had 1 ½ hours in the Athens airport to relax and stretch out. That airport is insane. I’m pretty sure the security guards were just bored out of their minds because they not only seriously patted me down, but made me open my carry on and inspected my makeup case – I’m not sure if they thought I was going to attack someone with my mascara or what.
Well, we got on the plane and 1 ½ hours later touched down in Larnaca. We got our bags, got on yet another bus, and arrived at our house at 5 a.m. Some of us girls stayed up the extra hours to watch the sunrise…why not? So after 24 hours straight, I went to sleep.