Friday, May 18, 2012

If you have not been to Rome, stop what you’re doing right now. Seriously drop everything. You need to book a flight to Italy immediately. All other cities now pale in comparison to this one. I’m utterly in love with Rome.  There’s no way I could adequately describe the greatness of this city. It is so big and words are so small. I’ll do my best to give you an idea of why I fell in love with this city but if you have any self-respect whatsoever, you will follow my advice and leave for the airport immediately so you can see for yourself.

For starters, the weather was ideal. Best we’ve had so far in Europe and really, every day has been close to perfect. We took a free shuttle from the ship to town and then a short walk put us at the train station. We bought a day pass for the trail for €9 each. This is a major bargain because it was also good for the Metro and the bus system. The hour long train ride from Civitavecchia through the Italian countryside (cliché but true) went by quickly and we hopped off the train at the main terminal in Rome. 

Ron is great at figuring out how to use public transportation in big cities and he seems to enjoy it quite a bit so I usually let him take the lead and get us where we need to go. So I let my mind wander as I absorb the new sites, sounds, and smells. We made our way downstairs to the Metro and took it two stops to Colloseo. The second we walked out of the station we were greeted with a view of the Coliseum. We walked around it marveling at its history and its sheer magnitude. With every turn of a corner something else popped out or another facet of it was available to view. I just couldn’t stare at it enough. The lines to get in are insanely long and we were on a tight schedule today so we didn’t get to go in but that is now right at the top of the list of things I want to do in life. I never was into the whole “bucket list” concept but I’m starting to change my mind. 

We wanted to see the Trevi Fountain and started walking in the direction we thought it was in but we sensed we were going the wrong way due to the lack of crowds going in our direction. Ron stopped a couple to ask directions and they showed us where it was on the map and wished us luck. We didn’t realize we needed it until we walked for a while longer and then asked again. Thankfully a few American’s crossed our path and were happy to help out. They suggested we take a €10 cab ride to it because it was quite a bit of a walk. We decided to navigate the bus route instead and found it quickly and easily and for free! 

After seeing the very crowded famous fountain, we stopped for pizza in a little shop down one of the side streets. Ron ordered pizza with ham that they folded up and wrapped with paper. I ordered something they called a salad but while I would call it heavenly, I would not call it a salad. It was a ton of dark green lettuce drizzled with a bit of super light olive oil and pressed between two slices of thin crusty bread along with some salted beef. I’m not going to say it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten because it definitely is not, but it was way up there. I mean way, way, way up there. Ron was equally pleased with his choice. 

Yes, of course that is a Diet Coke I’m holding there under my arm. Or rather, it’s a Coca-Cola Light. I have Coca Light (as many people refer to it) in four different countries and I am here to tell you that they all taste just a little bit different from one another and none of them taste anything like Diet Coke. I’m sure there are people that prefer Coca Light to Diet Coke, but I like my canned chemicals the good old fashioned American way. Not that it matters to anyone but me, but I had to get my 2¢ in there.

Anyhow, we walked down the street enjoying the unending number of incredible sites to see. Here are a few of our favorite stumble-upons. 

With much regret we boarded the train back to Civitavecchia to meet the ship. We both agree that we need several full days in Rome to even scratch the surface of doing all that we want to do. We’re considering stopping off for a few days before we meet up with the Eurodam in August. Since we ended up over $100 under budget (hooray!) we might be able to sock enough money away to do just that. If not, we at least get to see the city once more next week when we will visit the Vatican. Meanwhile, I’m still sitting here marveling over how unreal today was. All I have left to say is “wow.” 

(Oh one more thing: I have to send a shout out to Megan Galligan. I thought about my kid sis all day while I came to understand why she loved Rome so much. Thanks for your suggestions and enthusiasm Megan. "Perdomo" was used often and came in very handy! I can't wait to try your favorite restaurant! Love and miss ya sis. xo) 

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