Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Days 21-23: Rome-ance is in the air!

So I've been DYING to share with the blogosphere my trip to Rome this past weekend....well now past past weekend....but my family was here so I get a pass right?! Rome is actually so amazing. I had little to no expectations for it but I think I can safely say it is one of my favorite favorite cities...of all time. I can't help but draw the comparison between Rome and New York. They're both bustling, beautiful and filled with culture and art. But to me, New York is beautiful in a new and bright and shiny way and Rome is beautiful in an old-as-dirt-but-still-kickin' kind of way. SO here we go. Rome in a nut shell.

Day 21:
We woke up friday (the 15th...since this is so late im all flavors of thrown off but I'm going to do my best to give you all the nitty gritty details) at around 6. I think we got maybe an hour of sleep because we went out the night before. You're only young once! But we got to sleep the whole bus ride there, and arrived I want to say around 9ish maybe? And began touring right away.

We started off all together, and the broke up into smaller groups each lead by our own tour guide. We began outside via di propoganda, and got a short break down of how thing were going to go for the day:
We started the tour with a bang by heading to the spanish steps right away. Visually, I wasn't all too too impressed, but knowing their historical background I was so happy to be there. Please excuse the two lovely tourists who attempted to take this "I'm eating gelato on the spanish steps" photo for the entire duration of our stop.

We then headed over to the Trevi fountain, which unlike the steps totally took my breath away. It was almost larger than life, the Mercedes Benz of fountains really. Unfortunately all of the people in the area shared my awe, because we weren't able to get particularly close because of the crowds. But beautiful, still.
I actually really love the following picture because it totally captures a common theme I've noticed in Italy. Face lifts on the old to accomodate the new. This beautiful shopping gallery (which you can clearly see includes Prada) is directly across the street from the Trevi fountain, which has been standing there for ages. It also makes me think about how consumer culture has become religion. In ancient times, people worshiped gods, and ereceted buildings and monuments in their honor. Today, the "gods" are commercial goods, and our means of obtaining them,
After gawking at the fountain for some time, we headed over to THIS guy. I know, you're cringing as you're reading this. We figured if we couldn't get close enough to take a picture next to the fountain, this ill-equipt gladiator gentleman would make a good photo.

Well the pictures came out okay, but the problem arose when he asked Colleen and I for three euro a pop for the photos. I should have seen this tourist trap coming a mile away, but unfortunately I didn't really hit me soon enough. Lesson learned : These guys are SCAM artists.........but what can you do. Que sera sera.

Lucky for us, the next stop was the Pantheon, which was just as impressive to me as the fountain. In the following picture, you can see our second tour guide (purple shirt), because the first one ditched us when we were late coming back from lunch. Whoops.

Yes in striking black and white as well 

Here's a fun fact: the following picture shows the opening in the dome of the pantheon. They had line dividers in a circle on the floor under the opening, which served two purposes : to direct the flow of foot traffic, and to prevent people from laying down in the middle and taking pictures of the ceiling.  Strange how people act in foreign countries huh?

When leaving the Pantheon we ran into this cutie patootie dog, whose owner also asked me for 5 euro when I took the picture....fortunately HE was kidding :)

Afterward we headed to Piazza Navona, which was bustling with people and totally highlighted by the beautiful sunshine of the day.
And of course we stopped for a quick photo-op
We then went by a massive market, that had fresh flowers, pastas, and all types of fruits and vegetables

And decided to stop for some wine and "apertivo" at a little outdoor restaurant near the market. 

We got a mozzarella and tomato bruchetta, and an antipasti dish, all of which was great. Afterward we got gelato at a pretty inconspicuous place that was nice, but looked like every other gelateria in italy. I settled on dark chocolate and nutella. Literally the dark chocolate was just like frosting, and the nutella was well......just like nutella. It was actually phenomenal to say the least. 

We took a quick nap, and then headed out to dinner at a place called "Maccheroni", after a suggestion from one of our friends. Nailed it...
Colleen's Gnocchi:

Im totlaly blanking on what this dish was, but the waiter brought it out for all of us to try together.
Finally, my AMAZING....AMAZING....Bucatini All' amatriciana, which for those of you who are pasta noobs :), is pasta with tomato and goat cheese sauce and bacon. I seriously loved it, and I know that I'm going to get this again when I'm back in rome.
Afterward, we went to a club called Gilda, which was a nice change from the "fraternity" like clubs we have in florence. It was a pretty low key night, but we were just happy to be out.
Literally laughed our butts off when we saw this guy come on stage. I know the picture is relatively blurry, but its a presumably white man with a brown painted face and afro wig on, with wax lips holding up a lamp. Bizarre is an absolute understatement.

We went home fairly early, because we knew we had a long day ahead of us.

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