I officially finished my first week of classes in almost two months. All I can say is props to anyone who goes back to school after taking time off! It’s required through my program to take an Italian language course but I’m taking three other courses that will fulfill my International Studies major. My Italian class doesn’t seem like it will be that bad but we went at a much faster pace than I expected so I was a little taken aback after the first class. My other courses are 2.5 hours and meet once a week so I only go to class Monday – Wednesday. I haven’t had to do anything with school since dead week back in December so my brain was fried after the first day. It doesn’t help that my professors are all Italian or French so their accents make it hard to understand them at times. It’s not as bad as it sounds. I just am not in the school mode because all I can think about is planning weekend trips and exploring Florence.
This weekend I went to Rome with my roommate Lauren to visit our mutual friend who is studying at John Cabot. We booked our bus ride through FlixBus, which ended up being a really great service. Lauren and I got to the bus station and started to worry that maybe somehow we missed our bus because there wasn’t a departure or arrival board to help you figure out what was going on. The buses literally just pulled up to the side of the road and people would get in or out. Our bus ended up being 5 minutes late, which made us worry that we missed it. Turns out all of the FlixBus’s are neon green and have ‘FlixBus’ in giant, orange letters on it. Our bus even had free Wi-Fi, which is a huge plus for people like me who don’t have a SIM card and rely solely on Wi-Fi to ever use their phone.
It took a little over 3.5 hours to get to Rome. We got dropped off at a bus station around 7:45 pm and our friend didn’t get out of class until 8:45 pm. We messed up big by not looking into ways to get from the bus station to our friends apartment because we had no idea how to work the bus, trains, or trams here and Uber said it would cost 65 euro for a ride. We decided to walk, which was a stupid idea since Google Maps estimated it would take an hour and 45 minutes. At one point on our trek across Rome, I tripped over my suitcase and my finger started gushing blood. When we were less than 20 minutes away from where we were meeting our friend, Lauren’s phone started acting up and wouldn’t direct us where to go. We gave in and got an Uber but we accidentally typed in the wrong address and our Uber driver couldn’t find us. He spoke very broken English so we couldn’t understand anything he was saying. He finally ended up canceling the Uber on us so we decided to keep on walking. After about 5 minutes we heard someone running down the street yelling ‘Lauren’. Turns out it was our Uber driver running down the streets of Rome trying to find us! He was very nice guy but also had no idea where he was going even though he had a GPS pulled up on his phone. After a half hour of driving we told him to stop because we were in the right place even though we knew we weren’t. We were just certain he was more lost than us. We were trying to meet our friend at a restaurant but accidentally went to this bar thinking she said she would meet us there. We hauled our suitcases into the crowded bar only to figure out that she wasn’t even there. The amount of laughs and weird looks we got for bringing our suitcases in with us was too many to count. Finally, she came and found us and took us to where we were supposed to be. Lauren and I got the walking tour of Rome that we never even asked for.
The next day was ten times better than our trip into Rome. We slept in way later than we needed to and got ready to go see the Vatican but of course we got lost. We decided to save the Vatican for the following day. We ended up going to see the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps. The Pantheon amazed me at how people were able to build it without the tools we have now. The Trevi Fountain was probably my favorite thing we saw the entire time we were in Rome. I didn’t realize how big it was! We threw one too many coins into the fountain in an attempt to take a picture. The Spanish Steps were kind of a let down because there is construction going on to restore them so it was covered with scaffolds. We finished our day with walking around one of the main shopping areas before going home for the night.
We woke up on Friday and got ready to go to the Vatican. This time we took an Uber so we wouldn’t get lost again. We decided to book a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica so we would understand all the things we were seeing. I highly recommend a guided tour if you ever make it to the Vatican. Our tour guide was very thorough and was able to answer any questions our group had. The tour took was 2.5 hours and well worth the 40 euro. I think the tour was well worth it even if you aren’t religious. St. Peter’s is so big that is has over 1,200 rooms and is very easy to get lost in. Our guide talked a lot about the art within the Basilica and artists who created the pieces. After our tour we got some dinner and went back to the apartment for the night.
Saturday was our last day in Rome so we went to see the Coliseum. We figured since our guided tour of the Vatican was so good that a guided tour of the Coliseum would be worth it as well. We were wrong. I’m convinced that our guide didn’t actually speak English but instead had a script memorized. I really wanted to go on the underground tour that walked you through all the tunnels of the Coliseum but it was booked for the entire day. We spent almost two hours there walking around then got lunch before heading back to the apartment to get our suitcases. Turns out there was a subway a block away from my friends apartment that leads directly to the bus station *insert ten eye rolling emoji’s*