It’s still hard for me to believe that I went to Rome this past weekend. It’s crazy how fast these trips come and go. One second, I am sitting by the Trevi Fountain, and the next, I am sitting on my bed in Sevilla (which I can’t really complain about, since I am still in Europe). The adventure can’t help but take on a surreal feeling when I saw so many major historical sites within 48 hours.
Within those hours, I managed to check off a number of must-see’s from my bucket list:
- The Colosseum
- Palatine Hill
- Roman Forum
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
- Piazza Navona
- The Pantheon
- St.Peter’s Basilica
- The Sistine Chapel
- The Vatican
- The POPE
Yes, we saw the Pope, which is something most people don’t believe me when I tell them. We were extremely lucky, for the Pope happened to be holding mass on Saturday outside the Basilica, so after touring, we waited around and grabbed a seat to listen to the Pope (who obviously we couldn’t understand because he spoke in either Italian or Latin). It’s a rare opportunity to see the Pope no matter which Pope it is, but I am especially happy that I was able to see this Pope, who seems particularly “cool,” being from Latin America and openly commenting (fairly positively) about homosexuality. The funniest part about Vatican City is that vendors sell tons of souvenirs with the Pope’s face on it (I bought a Pope postcard). I don’t know why, but its funny how he is basically a celebrity – we sat near some very excited nuns and Italian grandmas who awaited his appearance anxiously.
I have learned about the importance of Rome in all ancient history classes, but I really never connected all of the famous sites to the events. Also, considering that the movie I best connect with all the landmarks was The Lizzie McGuire Movie (soundtrack stuck in my head all weekend), I was happily surprised with how the history all seemed to fall into place. It really is true that going to a place, experiencing it, and learning about it in the moment can really clarify history. Also, interestingly, when you walk everywhere (only paid for metro once), Rome really seems a little smaller – it doesn’t feel as unmanageably large as you might imagine. My favorite visits were definitely to the Sistine Chapel and the Pantheon, but all of it was incredible.
When in Rome, eat like the Romans. This was surprisingly harder to do than you might imagine. Mostly because everywhere we went was swamped by tourists, so the restaurants mostly fed tourists, and we were tourists, so we didn’t know where to eat. I didn’t eat any amazing pizza (where was it???), but I had some tasty bruschetta and pasta. Also, we did our Roman duty and ate gelato multiple times a day. The espresso was delicious and so were the pastries, bread, and cheese.
I loved Rome, but if going once taught me anything, it’s that I need to go back again (I threw a coin in the Trevi fountain, so this is practically a sure thing). I got the chance to see everything that I really wanted to, but I would love to go back and see everything else, which would probably take multiple weeks or years – it really is the eternal city.
Even though my trip was short and I wanted to stay longer, I left feeling happy to return to Sevilla. Being in Rome showed me what living in a massive international city would feel like – like being surrounded by toursits all the time, being able to speak English everywhere you go, and never really having to adapt to the culture. Whereas in Sevilla, I must converse in Spanish if I want a cafe or dinner or to talk to my host family; I walk around and don’t see masses of tourists; and I can’t go shopping from 3 to 7 because everyone is siesta-ing. I really prefer it that way (especially with the siestas).
This weekend I am going to Cordoba and Granada with my study abroad program. I am looking forward to a more relaxing trip where everything is already planned and I just have to follow along. I’ll include some photos below to document the trip!
Thanks for reading!