The Eternal City

Ciao from Italia! I’ve been without wifi for the last few days, but I have so much to tell!

We left Poland on Saturday and headed for Roma! The five of us were a sight to see walking through the airport…we decided to wear as many layers as possible to lessen the load in our backpacks, and we looked hysterical. I had on 6 layers, and Rachel got up to double digits. It was hilarious, and a good way to end an incredible trip to Poland.

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Thankfully, when we arrived in Rome it was easy to get where we needed to go. If you’re wondering how we get around from place to place…it’s always a toss-up. Airport transfers, public bus systems, trains, taxis, trams – take your pick. I’ve done it all. In Rome, we took a bus to the train station closest to our hostel and walked from there. It took a lot of wandering the streets to finally find our building, which turned out that our hostel was actually a really nice apartment. We had our own 5 person room (with our own bathroom, hallelujah) and shared a kitchen with 2 other rooms. That was a serious morale boost! We celebrated our first night in Italy by doing nothing other than eating. Gelato exists, and it is incredible. I don’t know how it’s so much better than ice cream but, it is. Trust me. Mint, dark chocolate, pineapple, chocolate chip, tiramisu, the Italians have got it all!

We saw so much of Rome on Sunday! We went to the Roman Forum (which is HUGE), the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and pretty much every other major landmark. It was a long day, but we saw so much. We took a guided tour of the Colosseum but it ended up being a little overwhelming because it was an English-speaking group. It was really strange to hear their accents and understand their humor, and it’s strange for someone to actually understand what we’re saying! The Trevi Fountain was definitely my favorite part of the day. I didn’t expect it to be, but when we walked up it was just so big!

Today, after much effort, got to see St. Peter’s Basilica! After standing in line and going through security, we were denied entrance because we weren’t “appropriately dressed” to enter a holy place. So that was awkward. We left, bought scarves at the closest souvenir shop, and went back to St. Peter’s dressed like straight gypsies. I was pretty embarrassed to be walking through a church in a cheap, neon orange scarf wrapped around my waist but hey, you do what you gotta do. It was absolutely beautiful inside, and definitely worth all the stares I got. We took a long walk along the river after that and watched the sunset at an overlook. It was a pretty good day, I’d say!

This morning we woke up early and went straight to Vatican City. Our eyes were on the prize: the Sistine Chapel. After getting a half-price student discount (America seriously needs to hop on the student discount train), we raced through the exhibits. The Vatican is the one place I would’ve like to stay way longer, but of course, we only had a few hours. The Sistine Chapel was not at all what I expected. The ceiling was much taller, and every inch was covered in Michelangelo. It was amazing, and yes, I did snipe an illegal picture.

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After a long, hot, and uncomfortable train ride, we’re finally in Florence! I’m so excited to see this city! We have another great hostel, but pretty terrible wifi again. 3 things that make a good hostel: good wifi, free breakfast, and clean towels.

For now…ciao!

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