The Best Weekend Ever Part 3: ROME
As an adventurous end to an already incredible weekend, much of the program took a day trip to Rome on Sunday to see as many sights as possible in the space of a little over ten hours. This would not be my first time in Rome, but it would be the first time since fourth grade that I would there, and many of the places we went were different than I remembered them. It was an early morning - my group's train left at 8:39. We got to Rome at about 10:10 and immediately made our way to the subway, where 7 Euros got each of us unlimited subway rides for 24 hours. By the end of the day, we considered the subway a lifesaver. We first went to the Vatican, where the Pope gave his Sunday noon blessing to the square from his residence, and then braved the brutal security line to get in to St. Peter's Basilica for mass. The mass was relatively small, going on in one of the wings of the church while people walked around in the main area. It was still a very nice service.
We then grabbed a quick lunch and took the subway to the Trevi Fountain, which unfortunately was under construction and overall very much less appealing than when it is actually doing its function.
From there, we walked to the Pantheon, a sight that I never saw the last time I was in Rome. Though it was originally built as a palace to all of the Roman gods, it is now used as a Catholic church (as if Rome needed any more Catholic churches).
From the Pantheon, we walked to the Spanish Steps, which were absolutely flooded with tourists and people trying to sell things to the tourists. The amount of Indian men trying to sell selfie sticks was incredible. And of all things, selfie sticks?? But still, the Spanish Steps were beautiful and it was great to be able to see them again. I also got a picture of Veronica by a store nearby that was too good to not include.
From there, we boarded the subway again (subway picture featuring from left to right Laura Biagiotti, an ecstatic Natalie Hunt, Anna Young, and Veronica Richer) and rode it to the Colosseum, which is another sight that I did not see the last time I was in Rome. It was a beautiful day to be at the Colosseum, and we ended up being very happy that we saved it for last on our agenda. There was a great little restaurant by it where we could see the sun catch the building on fire as it set. It was truly a sight.
From there, an easy subway ride brought us straight back to the train station, and we enjoyed an almost empty train ride back as the exhaustion from the day gradually hit each of us. When we got back to Florence around 10:30, we all went straight to bed. Each of us agreed that the day could not have been better, and that is was a perfect close to the best weekend ever.