Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rome - Kai's Version of Events

Romanza! – The Eternal City!

Departure: Friday Oct 15 at about noon we set off on your latest adventure! We hopped on our local bus #27, got off at baker street, and then hopped on the EasyBus up to the airport. This EasyBus trip typically should take about 1.5 hrs, but with the afternoon traffic it took us about 2 hrs to get there. We arrived at the airport, boarded the plan and then we were off to Italy!

Arrival: 2 hrs later we were in Bergamo, Italy, which is medium sized city about 20 minutes outside of Milan. We paid for a bus ticket (big mistake as no one in Bergamo pays for the bus and no one enforces payment either) which took us to the central station and then we walked to our Bed and Breakfast. We got lost like 3 times on the way there and had to ask locals for directions. Unfortunately no one spoke English so we got really good at nodding politely and trying to follow their hand gestures to get an idea of where to go. Our B&B was really nice, but kind of weird. This guy named Nikola is a student and owns a 2 bedroom apt and he rents one of the rooms out for 60€ a night (which is actually a great deal). The place was super clean and nice, but it was weird cuz he lives there too! So, we were sharing his bathroom, his kitchen, and his everything! Also, we were sitting at his table, munching on nuts while he was cooking polenta and steak all for himself! It was so funny, but he was cool, place was nice, and we liked it overall.

So: after dropping our stuff off at the B&B we took off to the Upper City which is really the super old part of Bergamo. It is right in the center of the city on a huge and steep hill that you have to take a cable car up to get up there. The Upper City is built like a fortress with multiple walls surrounding it. When we were approaching the city, the sun was just setting, there was a light fog, and the view was like something from Lord of the Rings. Once inside the Upper City we went to Mimmo’s for some pizza (at Nikola’s recommendation for a place to get “cheap” pizza). The place was super nice, but, just as Nikola said, the Pizza was only 5€ ea. per whole pizza. So we got two pizzas, and a 2€ water. The final bill, however, said we owed 18€ - 5€ x 2 for pizzas, + 2€ water, +6€ Coperta. We called the waiter over and said, “oh sorry, but we didn’t order any “Coperta.”” He didn’t speak English, so he called the manager over who explained that “Coperta” means cover charge. Apparantly almost everywhere in Italy there is a Coperta of some sort. So we were pissed, but paid the man 18€ for our crappy pizza… jk it actually was delicioius pizza.

Next Day: We took the train to Milan (about a 30min train ride) and saw the “Duomo” there (ie the Cathedral). It is the 3rd largest in the world and it was amazing! Has something like over 1000 Statues adorning the exterior and interior and something like 1600 stainglass windows inside. Also, they have a nail hanging above the altar which apparently was the nail which pierced Jesus’ right hand. Don’t know if that’s true, but if so, that’s pretty neat.

Also: After the Cathedral we wandered over to Milan’s fashion district, mostly for me as Nikki didn’t care too much about this section of town… NOT! Nikki loved it. We saw Armanni, Gucci, Fergamo, and more. Also, there were like 4 Lamborghinni’s, 2 Porches, and 3 Ferraris parked out front too! Those stores suck, though, in my opinion. Come on, 1600€ for a skirt by Armanni! Wow.

Then: At about 2pm, we boarded another train – this one bound for Venice, the city of love! 2 hrs later we were there, and let me tell you, it is amazing! It really is exactly like you think it is going to be – a floating city! The only problem with our stay there, however, was that it rained the whole time. The rain kind of fit well, though, with the city’s water theme so it looked even prettier. Upon arrival we walked to our B&B cuz we didn’t want to pay the 6.50€ for the water busses. We’re dummies though, cuz again no one pays to ride these public transports – the locals don’t anyway.

Our Hotel: We finally made it to our B&B after getting lost in Venice’s winding maze of streets. Our B&B room was nice, but very small. Also, the floor was slanted slightly to the left so everymorning we would wake up and our bed had slid down against our door. Ha ha, seriously. Breakfast there was super tasty, consisting of pastries (and Nutella of course), cereal, hot cocoa, and bread with cheese. That night we ate pizza and gelato…. Mmmm… and wandered the city. Venice has quite the party scene, btw, which Nik and I were privy to. As for my working out here, I did bottom to bottom Tabata Squats (8 Consecutive rounds of 20 sec of deep air squats followed by 10 seconds of rest – but rest is in the “bottom” of the squat position – score is the lowest number of squats you get in any one of the 8 rounds – my score was 13).

Next Day-Sunday: We made our way to Venice’s Duomo. This one is not as large, but the interior is beautiful with intricate gold inlays and paintings. Then we wandered around, ate pizza and pasta and gelato, took a gondola ride, and then back to our B&B to watch Italian TV. As for the Gondola ride, we kind of cheated. Typical “romantic” gondola’s cost like 100€ per 40min ride – way out of our budget – so we just found this two-man gondola that will just take you from one side of the main canal to the other for 1€. This ride lasted about 1 min – just long enough for nik and I to take our picture. As for Italian TV, the only thing they had on that was in English was Jersey Shore. So we watched a marathon of that show, and now we love it.

Monday: we ate breakfast at out B&B and then hopped the train to Florence – birthplace of the renaissance. Honestly, Florence wasn’t my favorite. I thought it would be more antique looking and classic, but it is quite modern and city-like. Our B&B there kind of sucked. It was small, and a little dirty, with no breakfast, and mosquitoes. That day we ate at an “American” diner. It actually was super good. I got a burger and fries, while Nik got lasagna. I also got a milkshake but the Italians haven’t got the hang of that yet as it was all watered down and runny.

Workout that day: 10 sets of Max Rep Pullups on the local scaffolding of a building project.

Next Day – Tuesday: We went to the Duomo first. This Cathedral is amazing! The exterior is very extravagant with numerous statues, green, red, and white marble, and gold inlays. The interior however is very sparce. This stark contrast was very nice however. The interior of the dome was painted by Michelangelo and it is huge and amazing. Nikki climbed the 493 steps to the top of the dome too and got a spectacular view of Florence.

Following this, we went to the Accademia, where Michelangelo’s David is housed. We paid 14€ ea for our tix. David was cool, but I don’t know if he is worth 28€! Jk.. the sculpture was amazing. It is about 20 feet high. The rest of the museum though is not very noteworthy at all. Thus, when you pay 28€ to see David, you really are paying 28€ to see David. Actually, one other beautiful sculpture is there … the Rape of the Sabine. It is a cool one. *Side note: apparently you are not allowed to photograph David, and there was the intense curator there who was making sure that everyone was aware of this. When someone raised their camera to their eye you would hear from across the floor, “NO FOOOTOOOOEE.” And then you would see this crazy little curator running over to hold her hand in front of the lens if need be. HA! I actually hated her… we snuck a pic or two as well.

Later that night, we snuck on a Local Bus (nobody pays, so we didn’t either) which took us to Palazzo de Michelangelo. This Plaza is on a huge hill overlooking Florence. The sun was just setting so things looked amazing. I played my hacky-sack up there while Nikki took a billion pics.

Finally, we ate dinner at this little hole-in-the-wall place that our Hotel Concierge told us about called Il Contandino. It was freakin delicious! Nikki got the Ravioli and I got Rabbit! Let me tell you … Rabbit is Delicious!

Workout that day: I did 8 rounds of 50m walking lunge and 50 double-unders. Kinda funny, as I was doing this workout in the local

Wednesday – The weather was still crappy, but there were occasional bouts of sunshine. We took advantage of the sunshine by going to the local markets to pick up some goodies and souvenirs. Later that night we wandered around the Duomo Plaza and then tried to sneak into the Palazzo del Veccio (a museum), but we got caught and had to leave. Luckily, just outside the Palazzo there was a Creativity Festival going on so some dude was speaking in Italian about something creative … we don’t know what it was but WE WERE THERE!

After this, we ate a delicious crepe at a little sweet shop and then saw one of the best street performers we’ve ever seen. He was this little Italian guy dressed like Charlie Chaplin. He called out three people from the crowd, including this cute little Norwegian-looking 8yr old girl. Anyways, he did all kinds of clown-type antics and he was sooo funny. Some of his jokes were super dirty – almost a little too dirty – but beyond that he was hilarious. The crowd there was huge and his show was like 35min! We gave him a couple €’s.

Workout that Day: I did 100ft of walking on my hands, and then some abs.

Thursday: We took off via train for Rome! Before we left, however, Nikki decided to drink one of our frozen multi-fruita drinks, but, to our unpleasant surprise, someone had stolen them! Those jerks! Nikki was pissed! So then we got on the train and after a couple hours, we were in Rome! We took the shuttle to our hotel, which was just outside of the city, a little place called Campanelle. Oh, we had to wait for the shuttle at one of the Metro stops. We got there right on time and came up the stairs on to the street expecting to see a shuttle there waiting for us, but we saw nothing. So, we called the Hotel asking if we were in the right spot and where the shuttle was. They told us we were in the right place and the shuttle was on its way. Nikki then said, “what does the shuttle look like? Is it a car, or like a bus?” The hotel lady said, “Uh… it’s a huge bus.” Nikki said, “does it say Hotel Campanelle, or what?” (you see we were on a busy side of the street and didn’t want to miss the shuttle) And the lady again said, “Uh… yes it says our hotel on it.” So we hung up the phone and waited. Two minutes later this huge bus rolls up and there are huge yellow letterings on the side that say “HOTEL CAMPANELLE.” Nikki and I were thinking, “oh duh…no wonder that lady though we were idiots…it’s a huge bus with Hotel Campanelle on the side…guess we’re idiots.” Ha ha.

So – our Hotel was sweet! Nikki found it online and it was a 4 star place for super cheap! After checking in we took the shuttle to Rome and first saw the Trevi Fountain. This fountain is beautiful and has a huge statue of Poseidon being pulled on a chariot by two horses – one calm and docile, and the other wild and rearing, representing the two faces of the sea. The fountain was so crowded, but it was sooo beautiful. Then we went to the Pantheon! This church is beautiful! The dome is as big as domes come! It was very cool.

After that we walked along the river up to the Spagini Plaza. We thougt that was the Spanish steps, but it wasn’t, it was the Spagini Plaza. I went up this little staircase on the side and I was like, “this is the Spanish Steps??? They suck!” But, it wasn’t and they don’t suck.

Workout that Day: On the roof of our hotel I did 15rounds of 20 Double-Unders and 10 Pushups.

Friday: Breakfast at the Hotel was sweet! We had yummy cereal, hot cocoa, eggs, meat, cheese, potatoes, toast, pastries, and Nutella! Mmmmmm!!! I took some up to the room for later too even. The we went out to the parking lot to catch the shuttle. Luckily we got there just in time to get a seat, because there were lots of people vying for seats. By the way, people are retarded. There is like no designated spot to wait for the shuttle, so even if you are out there waiting for like 20 min, people still come out side right as the shuttle is showing up and try to “start their own line” for the shuttle so they are first in line – bunch of idiots. This happened on Saturday, but luckily this old man was nice and knew we were there first so he told the “fake line” to backup and let us up front. He was very nice.

So when we got to Rome went straight to the Vatican. As we were about to get in line for tickets, this seemingly nice young lady stopped us to try to get us to buy “40€ tour tickets” saying that if you buy tour tix you get to go straight in w/ your tour guide and thus skip the “two-hour” line. She said if we don’t get tour tix then we will end up paying at least 28€ ea. to see everything. She said you have to pay for 1) the museums, 2) the basilica, and 3) the Sistine Chapel. LIAR!!!! Luckily we waited in the line which turned out to only take 1hr – and entry to EVERYTHING was only 10€ ea.! What a homo… she totally lied to us.

So the Museums were amazing! I liked them but Nikki was kind of over it all – I think she just likes crepes and ice cream, not so much into the arts and sculptures. My favorite room was the Hall of Tapestries. There are like 15 huge 30ftx30ft tapestries hanging on the walls. These are so intricate and it is said that they take between 20-30yrs to make just one!

Then we saw the Sistine Chapel! Again, what a beautiful piece of art. It is huge and took Michelangelo like 5 yrs to complete! The Last Judgment, also completed by Michelangelo is on the far wall and, in fact, it IS THE FAR WALL! It is huge and took Michelangelo 4yrs to complete. Nikki wasn’t into these so much again. She said, “I thought it would be bigger.” Ha ha…there’s just no pleasing that girl is there… ha ha.

Then we went into the Basilica and it is huge! Seriously, it is huge! Out front is Saint Peter’s Square and it is beautiful. There are huge columns and pillars, and tons of statues.

Finally, we went to the Castel Saint Angelo and the Bridge there. It was sunset by this time and things were beautiful. That night we ate at the Amalfi and had some delicious Pizza. We tried to use our own water bottles to avoid paying the 2€ for water, but the waiter put the Kibosh on that told us to put it all away. Lame.

Saturday: Delicious breakfast again! Then off to Rome! We saw the coliseum first (for free!) and just followed tour guides around (for free!) to hear what they had to say about the monument. After that we went to the Palatine – a large hill full of ruins which used to be a very posh housing development in ancient Rome. It was very cool. As we were walking up to the Palatine, this big buff dude, with long golden hair, and a gladiator uniform looks at me and says in an Arnold Swarzenegger-type accent, “Wanna picture buddy?” Ha ha.. it was funny. I said no.

After the Palatine we saw the Monument de Vittorio Emanuell. This was my favorite thing in Rome. It is only like 100yrs old, but it is beautiful because it is HUGE and brilliant White with amazing bronze statues on the top. I was blown away.

Then that night we ate at a ristorante close to our hotel and had the best Gnocchi we have ever had! Oh man I was in heaven!

Workout that day: 2 rounds of 20 L Pullups, 30 Toes to Bar, 800m run! Sucked!

Sunday: we finished up by going to the REAL Spanish Steps. They were awesome. While we were at the top we sat there and watched this freakin Cocola (that’s what Nikki and I call Indian Salesmen cuz they always are trying to sell Coke to foreigners and they call it “cocola”) with a bundle of red roses try to force them on tourists. He finds a couple, gives the lady a flower “for free” and then smiles, shakes the guys hand and walks away. He then comes back like 1 min later and says, “hey… don’t you wanna give me some money for that free flower I gave you.” Bahh! Its hilarious cuz nobody pays him but just gives the flower back. Ok, actually a few richy tourists paid him, but not us… I will not support those shady salesman tactics!

Then we went up to the Borghese Park and took a nap. We saw these girls riding around on Segway’s in the park and the one girl totally biffed it! It was soo funny. Then they couldn’t get back on their Segway’s because they were in a dirt area and it kept slipping. It was hilarious.

Then we went back down to the Palazzo de Spagini and saw this awesome street performer doing a Michael Jackson show. He was good… really good. After he finished, he sat on his stereo and his pimp gave him a shoulder rub. Seriously, he had a pimp…picture this little Michael Jackson dude escorted around by this big, long haired, fat, Italian dude with Mafia rings on his fingers. Then, before we left, we were again assaulted by the Cocola’s with roses.

Finally, we saw some breakdancing street performers (they were Ok, not the best show we’ve seen) and had Pizza dinner at a local bar. It was really fun. Then we went back to the hotel, and caught the shuttle to the airport, and got ready to fly home.

Workout that day: I went to the park and flipped over this huge log a bunch of times and did a bunch of dips.


Trek Home...

I think I am up to date Kai and I were scheduled to fly back to the US on December 20 since we figured he would finish finals on the 17th, and we could relax for a few days before going back. We also booked our tickets for the 20th because I figured if for some reason we got delayed, we wouldn't miss Christmas.

Long story short, it snowed on the 18th and the airport shut down...then it stayed closed on the 19th. Since it hadn't snowed for 2 days, I was feeling optimistic about getting out, but as it got closer, I started getting worried. Since no flights were coming in or going out, people were stranded at the airport. The news reports kept saying if your flight is not confirmed, do NOT come to the airport. The night before, we checked our flight status and it still showed scheduled, so the next morning, me and Kai packed up the rest of our stuff, checked out of our flat, and made the trek to the airport, which is not the easiest when you are lugging 4 1/2 months worth of stuff! When we got there, we were shocked...there were people EVERYWHERE! Airport workers were handing out bottled water and snacks, and there were kids playing on blankets, people sleeping under those foil emergency blankets...basically, it looked like a refugee camp.

We talked to someone who said our flight was cancelled, and that we would need to reschedule. After waiting in a long line and being told the airport workers couldn't do anything for us, we lugged all of our stuff back to Pepperdine (since we had nowhere to go). I called and the lady told me the soonest we could get back to SLC would be Christmas Day at 11:59pm. When I heard that I was a little shocked...I figured maybe 1 or 2 days max, but 4 days?! After trying to play the status card (yes, I was THAT person) and realizing it wouldn't do me any good, I gave up.

Luckily, we weren't the only ones stranded, so it wasn't horrible. We all just crashed on the couches in the student lounges and hung out. I kept checking the website for any flight availability and of course, right when everyone was leaving for dinner, I saw 3 seats open up on an earlier flight. Part of me didn't believe it, but I decided to check anyway, so everyone went ahead to dinner and I called the airline. Thankfully, I got through to an agent quickly and she was able to book the tickets! I was sooo happy! The lady told me that I was lucky I got through when I did because when she saw it, there were only 2 seats left, which we got.

Anyways, when our day came and we left super early to make sure nothing would make us miss our flight. We got to the airport, went through security, and had time to spare, so we went to the club lounge, which was awesome (Thank you EY for paying for my membership). We walked in and they had a huge breakfast buffet, so we decided I would go first while Kai watched our stuff, and then he would go. I got my food, came back, and then Kai left. I tried to wait til he got back to eat, but after a while, I got too hungry and ate. Of course, he didn't come back for a while, and I couldn't see him anywhere...then, I heard his voice, say, "No!!!" I turned around, and Kai is sitting at the little gaming station playing some videogame...with a bunch of little kids! Yup, I married a child :)

I hadn't been keeping track of time, so we left the lounge later than we should've and we headed to our gate. By the time we got to the gate, we were one of the last people on the plane. When we got to our seats, there were 2 ladies in them, so I asked them if they were in the right seats, and they were. I walked back to the front, asked the stewardess, and they took my ticket. Apparently, there were a handful of people who had their seats double booked. After a while, the lady came back to hand out boarding passes, and when she gave me mine and Kai's, she said, "We upgraded you." I was excited, especially when I realized that they had upgraded both Kai and I to Business Elite! We sat down in our seats and couldn't believe our luck. Then Kai said he thought when the lady handed me the boarding passes, they were upgrading me only, and he would be in the back! and Kai flew home in style!

It was my first time flying business internationally and it was soooo nice! Me and Kai totally felt out of place among the richy richies around us. They handed out menu's that had appetizers, main dishes, snacks, etc. So when they came around to take our orders, Kai started asking for one appetizer and the flight attendant told him, "oh, I just need your main course order...we'll bring you all the appetizers". Yup, it was nice. We LOVED it and it made the long ride soooo much better!

After a looonggg day, we finally made it home and it was soooo nice to see my family! Seriously, it was pretty much a Christmas miracle that I made it home for Christmas!!!


Florence favorites:

(The problem with blogging about things months after they have happened is that you don't really remember much! Anyways, in the interest of getting these up so I don't feel like I am behind in blogging, check out the highlights.)

First things first, we went to the Duomo, which was sweet! We went inside and looked around and then I wanted to go to the top. It was pretty expensive to go to the top, not to mention there was a huge line and you had to walk up all the stairs to the top. I really wanted to go, so Kai decided he would just look around and I could go to the top. He totally missed out! I went to the top, and the view was amazing! I loved it up there, although I looked like a total loser taking pictures of myself. People kept looking at me like, did she really come up here by herself?!

See, the view is awesome! And you can see EVERYTHING!

We also went to see the David, which was expensive, and kind of overrated in my opinion. The actual statue is really cool and when you think about the work that went into making something that big look that good, its impressive. So there are tons of people in the museum to see the David and a bunch of them take pictures. The museum has a few workers in the area who go around and tell people not to take pictures. Of course, I just wanted one, so I took one and then the lady said, 'No Foto!'. I put my camera away and then she ran to the next person and put her hand in front of their camera and yelled, 'No Foto!' Is it bad that I felt like I was entitled to one picture since I paid so much? I didn't have a flash, so it didn't ruin the statue....hmmm...

We went to Piazelle Michelangelo around sunset and it was beautiful!

I thought this apron was funny...

Our hotel recommended this place and it was well worth it. It was a small place that only opens for dinner. Kai had rabbit and I had some chicken dish, but they were both really tastey! The only annoying thing is that some guy from the street came in and started playing his guitar and singing by us. We didn't ask him to come, but he was in there thing you know, he is asking for tips. I'm sorry, but if I have no choice whether you are singing by me, I don't feel obligated to tip you. Maybe that makes me cheap, but oh well!

After dinner, we were walking around and I had a craving for a crepe...there are tons of sweet shops, but none of them made crepes, tons of them did waffles, but no crepes. Anyways, I was getting tired of walking around and was about to give up looking when we found this gelato shop that made crepes! An asian guy, who spoke italian made my crepe (side note: it seriously trips me out so much when I see asian people who speak other languages (other than english) it is their first language!). It was soooo good! Possibly one of the best crepes I had the whole time I was there!

As we left the crepe shop, this guy was putting on a mime show (or he just didn't talk the entire time...not sure if that makes him a mime...). He grabbed this little girl from the crowd and she was totally perfect for the show, not to mention that he was hilarious! Me and Kai were cracking up the whole time. One of his skits is to have people kiss him on the cheek. All the girls do and then when he goes to the guy, the guy says no, but then after lots of prodding, the guy finally agrees. BUT then, the mime man turns his head at the last second and they kiss on the mouth! It is always sooo funny to see the reaction cause people are laughing and the actual guy who gets tricked is sooo disgusted! **Side note: Apparently this trick is pretty common since one of our friends had been the guy who gets kissed on the lips!

After the street performer, we walked some more and found a merry go round! It was in the middle of this big plaza and no one was watching it, but it was still going around. I wanted to get on, but I was too scared, so we took pictures in front of it instead :)

Next day: We hit up the waffle place and Kai got a waffle with gelato, whip cream, and nutella...he was loving his life!

Then we snuck in to this museum (can't remember the name of it) and it was awesome. Basically, we walked in the exit and then realized we were in, so we just went with it and saw half the museum until someone realized we didn't have tickets.

Kai in the entrance to the museum

Then we walked to the Ponte Veccio bridge, sat on the wall and ate some pizza, and watched these kids learn how to row. Their teacher had them paddle in a stationary boat, and then finally let them go out on their own. At first I was jealous and really wanted to try, but then after they were going up and down the river over and over, I was over it :)

That's pretty much it for the Florence adventure...and I am done blogging about Italy!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Roma - Part II


The Coliseum

Funny story about the picture on the right...there are a bunch of people dressed up like Romans who take pictures with tourists. While I was trying to figure out how to get into the Roman Forum, one of the guys, who looked like Fabio and talked like Arnold said to Kai, "Wanna peechure body?" Maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty funny.

The Roman Forum

Kai's favorite place in Rome: Vittorio Emmanuele Building. This place is pretty can't sit down on the stairs at all or else the guards will get you...and they are total sticklers.

On the back side of the Vittorio Emannuele is Campodoglio...can't remember any special facts about it, but it was pretty!

The next day, we checked out of our hotel...and Kai was sad :(

We hit up the Spanish Steps, which oddly enough, we thought we had seen on our first day, BUT thankfully, someone corrected us, so we made it there on our last day!

There was a bum who was lying down on the grass when we went to the park...oh wait...thats Kai!

Overlooking the city!

There was a Michael Jackson impersonator down below by the monument who was really good and actually looked a lot like Michael! He got a huge crowd and did a bunch of dances, not to mention that he had his own manager who was massaging his shoulders and coordinating who took pictures with him when he wasn't performing!

Scams: So one of the scams that we saw all over the place was the rose scam. There are lots of Indian people in Rome and many of them are street vendors...for those who aren't selling purses, sunglasses, or knick knacks, there are the rose men. They carry around red roses and give them to tourists. The trick is they start out by trying to give it out, and when people say no, they say, it is a free gift! Then, when you accept, they will follow you around and pester you to give them something for it...needless to say, many tourists get sucked in. Thankfully, we ran into some other people who warned us ahead of time, so we knew to steer clear.

Anyways, affter we watched Michael Jackson perform, we decided to people watch for a bit...and of course, the rose men were working hard. We watched as one guy gave roses to a few girls in a big group. He was very friendly and offered to take a picture for one group, but while he was taking their picture, the other couple left. So once he took the picture, he was on the hunt for the other couple. We watched as he got mad and started asking the other rose men where they went...finally, he spotted them and went straight in to get his money. The woman was a little irritated so after he started hassling her for money, she told him, "You GAVE it to me as a GIFT!". Anyways, he was not having it and was clearly mad, so he grabbed the rose back and she walked off. Immediately after she turned, he dipped the rose in the fountain to get it fresh looking again, put a huge smile on his face, and offered the same rose to the next girl walking past. It was pretty funny to see how fast he changed from happy/nice to mad to happy/nice.

Kai found this hackey sack in our flat in London and brought it everywhere! It drove me crazy!

Last day nutella/banana crepe! It was delicious!

The Pantheon (in the daylight)Our last pizza in Roma

Another stop at the Trevi Fountain

And thats about it for Rome!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Roma - Part I

Disclaimer: So I started this a while back and just never posted...there are a lot more like this, so I'm gonna go through and start posting again (even though we have been back for 3 months now!)

Back to our tour of Italia! Rome was our last stop, and by this time, Kai was pretty exhausted (So was I, but at least I stayed awake longer than he did). Within minutes of getting on the train from Florence, he was out!

After arriving, we decided to head to our hotel to drop off our stuff. I had found a deal at a 4 star hotel (Hotel Campanelle -- definitely recommend it) and since I was sick of being in cheapo hotels, I jumped at the chance. The website had advertised a shuttle service from two different metro stops, so we got off and were waiting for the shuttle (see how happy I look waiting for the shuttle? Or is it because it was warm enough for me to NOT wear my jacket?!)

Funny story about this place...Since there is a definite difference in quality between US and European hotels, I didn't know whether the shuttle was going to be a van, a car, or a bus. For whatever reason, I had my doubts, and since there were no signs noting where to wait for the hotel shuttle, I called the hotel to ask. The guy who answered just told me to wait in the front and the shuttle would be there shortly. After I hung up, I realized that there wasn't really a 'front' of the metro stop, and so I sent Kai across the street to wait, just in case. After about 10 minutes, I was worried we missed it, so I called back again and was asking the guy what kind of shuttle it was, and he was telling me, it was a shuttle. In my mind, I was thinking of some small car coming up with a paper sign on the window, as I was trying to clarify whether the shuttle was a van, or a car, he finally said, it seats 27 passengers, and then I saw it. It was a bus with HUGE lettering all down the side that said, "Hotel Campanelle". Lets just say I kind of felt like an idiot, or the guy at the hotel was thinking it!

Getting to the hotel was a pleasant surprise! It was finally what I expect from hotels! Nice bedding, balcony, clean bathroom, blah, blah, blah. Lets just say I was sooo happy to end our trip in this place.

After dropping off our stuff, we headed back out since there was a lot to see and not much time. Our first stop was the Pantheon, but on our way, we saw this little tricycle car thing! It was soooo little! Yup, there is one wheel in the front and two in the back...

The Pantheon was awesome! It was so cool to see in real life, especially since I learned about it in my freshman humanities 101 class at BYU (but don't ask me to explain what its all about...I don't remember).

After the Pantheon, we headed toward the Trevi Fountain and we ran into this huge monument (I can't remember what it is called now...its been a while). The plaza was really pretty though, it seriously felt kind of magical (especially with the guy/girl in the background)

The Trevi Fountain is seriously AMAZING! We were walking through these little streets, and then all of a sudden, you see it and it is sooo cool (not to mention packed with tourists). The pictures really don't do it justice...

We left the Trevi Fountain and walked around taking pictures with my good old Canon Powershot. This city is seriously so pretty!

The next morning, we woke up early and went onto the roof of our hotel to watch the sunrise, which to be honest, was cool, but took WAY too long, and got a little too cold. BUT, Kai made sure to document it with a picture.

After eating a delicious breakfast at the hotel (not your typical 'continental' breakfast...i'm talking meat, eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt, etc.), we headed toward the Vatican City. On our way, we ran into a lady who asked us if we wanted to bypass a 2 hour line and get into the Vatican Museum with a tour guide. I didn't know how much it would cost to get in normally, so I asked and she quoted me some prices for the Vatican Museum and the She said it was only like 7 Euro more than if you wanted to get in on your own, but for some reason, I just figured we should just stand in the line. We didn't know how much the tickets would cost, so I almost took her word. Thank goodness we didn't. The tickets were WAY cheaper that what she had said they would be, not to mention that the cost to see the Sistine Chapel is included, which she had said was not. We spent the ENTIRE afternoon there. There were so many guided tours going on that we just listened in to different tours as we went along and pretty much got the guided tour for free (yup, we are ghetto). It was pretty cool, although I will admit...I was museumed out WAY before Kai was ready to go.

Top - Left: In the Vatican Gardens / Right: Sculpture Room
Bottom - Left: The Map Hall / Right: The EXIT!!!

Once we made it out, we decided to go back into the city to see the rest of the sites...

Kai outside the city walls

So we finally made it out of the museum and made our way to St Peters Basilica where they were setting up for some big conference where the pope was going to speak. We saw lots of churches while we went around, but this one was by far the nicest. I felt really smart when I went inside and saw this sculpture, Michelangelo's 'Pieta', another thing I remembered from my Humanities 101 class my freshman year!

Michelangelo's 'Pieta'

Me in front of the Basilica

The view from the Basilica

In the main plaza, there is a huge open area and if you stand on this spot, the columns all line up so it looks like there is only one row, but really, there are multiple rows! So, if you look at the picture below, it looks like there is only 1...don't be fooled. Totally made me think of Magic Eye books from elementary!

St Peters in the background...pretty awesome!

The bridge behind me is famous..and really pretty...too bad I can't remember the name :(

There was a lot more stuff we wanted to do, but of course, time ran out...guess we'll just have to take another trip!

Part II to be posted in the near future....hopefully!