Bongiorno (spelling?) my little babinos! So I’m in love with Rome. I mean, if I’m being honest, I fell in love with all of the places I have visited this semester. It’s sad though, because Rome was my last big weekend adventure before I go back to the states :((((^2. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased to be going home to see those I miss, but that’s about it. I love Grenoble and I love Europe and the lifestyle they live over here. I’m coming back, in the very near future though, so I won’t try to shed too many tears when the time arrives.
Enough about the downer stuff though, let me tell you about ROMA ROMA ROMA!!
Thursday, November 29th: I was up bright and early in order to get to the Grenoble station at 7h45, because Hannah, Emily, Nina and I had to take the 8h05 bus from Grenoble to Lyon in order to make our flight. The bus ride was quick and painless, and we had no issues (thank heavens!!) so we were on the plane by 11h30 heading to Rome. We landed around 1h, and we took yet another bus from the Rome airport to the center of the city, where Becca was waiting for us at the stop (Nina and I went to Amsterdam with Becca and Lea, the girls whose apartment we were to stay at in Rome).
After taking yet another bus, we finally made it to Lea and Becca’s apartment, dropped off our things, and went to EAT IN ROME. We were beyond excited. First of all, I am very Italian, so Italian cuisine sparks a certain nostalgia deep within me. Secondly, we were in mo-freaking Rome — how could the food not be delicious beyond compare? So of course we had pizza. Mine had buttery potatoes and sausage on it… MMMMM. It was amazing and cheap and I practically licked my plate clean. Yes, I love Italian food. GAH!
Naturally, we needed gelato to finish off the meal. I had DARK CHOCOLATE and hazelnut gelato and I was close to drooling. First pizza, now Italian gelato. That’s the real deal, folks.
Post-gorging, we went back to the apartment to meet up with Lea, since she was now out of class. Becca soon left to go get ready for her art exhibition that her art program was putting on, since its the end of the semester for them (whaaaat). The rest of us just hung out at the apartment for a little to hang and gain energy/sip on some Italian wine, then we made the trip to the center of the city to go and see Becca’s work. It was such a cool expo!! So many beautiful photographs, paintings, sculptures and drawings! I get so envious going to these kinds of events because I have no visual artistic talent, but at the same time I love admiring art, especially in Rome, especially by students. Wine all around.
… Also, there was free, unlimited wine. If you’re wondering, yes we did all get drunk. I think we all had at least 5 glasses, and I know for sure that I was feeling it. The art just kept getting progressively cooler as the night wore on. 😉
We left the expo around 20h30/21 and trekked back to the apartment to munch and unwind after a day of traveling. It turns out, Becca is a phenomenal chef, and treated us to Bruschetta and GNOCCHI’S with pesto and olive oil. In case you weren’t aware, Gnocchi is my favorite pasta on the planet, and it is one of my favorite meals to devour. Now add in the fact that I was drunk, and you’ve got one very happy Azure. 😀 we didn’t do too much else that night; in fact, we were in bed by about 23h – haha, what animals we are. End of our first day in Rome; a very good day at that.
Friday, November 30th: We woke up a bit later than anticipated (~10h30), but that meant we were extremely well rested and ready to fully seize the day – carpe diem, baby. We were ready to leave the house pretty soon after waking up, and we made a quick pit stop at a Il Siciliano, this breakfast place right near the apartment. I didn’t get anything the first day because right when I woke up I went in on a ball of mozzarella and a tomato… When in Rome!
After breakfast, we (minus Becca) took the bus into town and went to the Capital Building and then The Colosseum!!!! Okay, I have an obsession with Roman anything, and the Colosseum is like the apex of crazy Roman beauty, so I was 110% in my element. Don’t miss out on these pictures I’m about to post after this, they’re incredible. Literally everywhere you turn is like looking into the past. It was so surreal.
After the Colosseum, we went to the Trevi Fountain.. The famous fountain where you’re supposed to throw three coins in and make a wish. Of course we did exactly that, then went to indulge on pizza and gelato once again. This time I opted for the classic margarita pizza and then mixed berry and dark chocolate gelato. ‘Twas an incredible, Italian lunch. Oh, fun fact about the fountain: a few weeks ago or so they collected the coins thrown in the fountain for the year, and collected over 500,000 euros!! That’s a crazy amount of money, especially in coins.
Having filled our bellies and made secret wishes, we headed to the Pantheon to see some more breathtaking Roman architecture. It was beautiful, and I am still constantly in awe that the Romans could built all of this, especially without machines or any modern day technology. They make us look like a bunch of pussies.
Rome was getting ready for Christmas like the rest of the world, so we were lucky enough to see how beautifully lit up some of the streets were on our way to see the Spanish Steps. Hannah really wanted to see this piece of history, but I didn’t really know anything about them.
At this point, the sun was starting to set, so we all put some pep in our step and hustled up a bunch of steps to get an astonishing view of all of Rome right as the sun was going down. We ended up hanging around there for a bit and soaking in the pure magic of Rome; it really is such a flawless city.
When we finally had our eye-fill, we headed back in the direction of Lea and Becca’s apartment, stopping briefly at the grocery store to purchase the essential items for the night. After arriving at the apartment, we were all pretty exhausted from a full day of walking and site seeing, so we all just kind of lamped and showered before dinner. Becca and Lea once again got gold stars for cooking a delicious Italian meal: salad with Parmesan, peppers, olives and tomatoes (& balsamic vinegar for dressing of course), garlic bread and rigatoni smothered in melted cheese. It most definitely hit the spot, and we washed it all down with Italian wine, which made it that much better. Nomnomnom.
Once dinner was finished, it was time to shift into night mode. Hannah and I per usual split a bottle of Jack, mixing it with Coke at the apartment for Pregaming. Umm… All of us got messed up, and collectively we are able to piece together most of the night. Mostly because we met up with Emily’s friend, Kelsey, and her sister Amelia we know what we all did, because they were mostly sober. Apparently I was kicking bottles, and kicked a stool down in a pizza place… I also skipped down the road with pizza in my hand, holding it by the crust, so of course the cheese and toppings flew everywhere. Hannah decided she was in love with a bartender, Nina chased a dog down the road, and Emily went HAM in a canoli (of course there was a 24 hour bakery in Rome). Basically, we were 50 shades of messed up, but in the best way. We all had fun, and that’s what is important, yay Roma! The best part is that we were back at the apartment by 1h30… So we didn’t even have that late of a night. Rage on.
Saturday, DECEMBER 1st: …. Um, it’s already DECEMBER?!? Wasn’t it just October like, yesterday? Nooooo. Anyway, we woke up about the same time as Friday (10h30), so we were all well rested and surprisingly I wasn’t even hungover. Holler, though I can’t say the same for Hannah.
We started the day off right with some freshly squeezed Orange Juice and Cappuccino at the same breakfast place, then Hannah, Emily and I went to St. Peters Basilica and hung around in the square for a little to soak in the sites while waiting for Kelsey.
We also walked through an Italian farmers market, and I was happy as a clown eating free samples of cheese and bread soaked in homemade olive oil… Yum. Emily and I also bought Maroon Glaces, which are caramelized chestnuts; I’m not sure I was that big of a fan, though.
At 14h30 we met up with Kelsey, then the four of us went to The Vatican— eeeee!
We spent a few hours roaming through the expansive museum and ogling all the impressive artwork, as well as admiring the Sistine Chapel. So amazing I can’t even put words to it. There were also a few Salvador Dali pieces, so I was tickled pink at that.
Eventually, we had enough of the museum and realized we were starving, so we went to a restaurant outside the Basilica to munch. I went with chicken Parmesan, and was not disappointed.
By the time we finished eating, Lea, Becca, Nina and some other girl found us… Face deep in gelato. Haha. Once everyone was done gorging, we went to a Christmas market/carnival somewhere in the center of the city to enjoy the sites, sounds, smells, etc. It wasn’t anything in comparison to Strasbourg, but there was this dude who could break-dance like a boss.
This day was extra special because it happened to be be Lea’s 21st birthday! After the carnival, we went to her favorite restaurant for a delicious dinner. We had free Bruschetta in addition to our dinner, which was cool. A bottle of red and white were also split between the nine of us, and Hannah and I shared an order of Gnocchi since we were still pretty full from our late lunch. It was a good time with good food and good people.
After dinner, the group of us meandered back to the apartment to get ready to pre-game and such. We ended up not leaving the apartment because the weather was not agreeing with us. Actually, this was the first spurt of bad weather so I wasn’t that upset. The original forecast for the weekend in Rome was all rain and yuckiness, but we ended up having beautiful days all Friday and Saturday; so a little rain on Saturday night was nothing to complain about. It was a really fun night though, but that information is going to be withheld… When in Rome. We went to bed around 2, if my memory serves me correctly.
Sunday, December 2nd: Our stay in Rome was over much too quickly. We all woke up at 10h, packed our bags, and were out the door by 10h30 in order to have a final breakfast at IL SICIALANO before a day of travel. Post-breakfast, we waited for what seemed like forever at the bus step in order to take the bus back into the city center. We were nervous for a little because the bus came really late, and we didn’t think we were going to catch the 11h55 bus to the airport, but lady luck was smiling on us! Of course though, when we checked in we were informed that our plane was going to be 1.5 hours late… Seriously, screw you easyJet!!
On the bright side, I had a tasty lunch of pizza with artichokes, sliced ham, mozzarella, olives and mushrooms and then these fried rice ball things — I desperately need to start running more often, I’ve been slacking. Oh, I also had a cannoli for dessert, yuuuup. I heart Italian cuisine.