WHEN IN ROME…we get robbed my gypsies in Florence…

3 Feb

So it was the 3rd week of class last week, and i’m starting to feel like im getting more into a routine, it’s a comforting feeling, but a little scary! I don’t want to be too much in a schedule because that means it will go by faster! My roommates are constantly keeping my laughing. My roommate Renee is awesome and Jess constantly keeps me laughing, while Gina is such a cutie!

We started a tradition with the 4 guys in the other apartment where we would trade off and on making a dinner. On Tuesday night, Kevin, Gina’s boyfriend made the most delicious salmon pasta. Renee, her friend from home (Nalina), and I decided to bring our ingredients along and make a wonderful bruschetta to show off our mad cooking skills. Because Renee is in HTM too @ San Diego, it’s obvious that our passions are both in the kitchen. We both have agreed that one of our favorite parts about this experience has been going to the market after class, shopping for our ingredients, and creating out own dishes each night. I tend to just kind of grab what I see, and start creating at home, similar to what I would do when i was 9 years old. It is so fun with all the fresh ingredients. The food here is so amazing that you can get the cheapest off brand of something and it can still be guaranteed to be amazing. Every night it’s a new adventure cooking something with my groceries. I feel that this experience has brought back my love for cooking and creating and made me realize it’s my true passion and what I want to do for a career.

In the middle of the week, Wednesday evening my roommates, a couple of our guy friends, and Alex came over to discuss some traveling options and to do some planning. It was all a little overwhelming thinking about how many places I actually wanted to go and how little time I really have. CAPA, for the first time, has Friday classes, which is a total downer. It has made traveling a lot more complicated because we cant leave until Friday afternoon once everyone is done with class. We got an itinerary that is pretty tentative. The two big traveling itineraries will be spring break and my 2 weeks after. It is going to be so fun. My roommates are all so much for to travel with, and there are so many people in this program that will also be fun to go with. I’m sure all the weekend trips won’t be exactly finalized a few days before, but there’s nothing wrong with spontaneity!

During that Wednesday we realized a trip to Rome was must, with all the limited weekend time that we have. We quickly booked a hostel and train time and headed out to the train station around 2:45 to catch our train at 3:30.  Our train ride was gorgeous with all the mountains, and we all kept saying that we felt like we were in “Harry Potter”. We got in kind of late because of a few setbacks, but once we got checked into our hostel, we were ready to see the city. Our hostel was actually kind of humorous. It was basically like a huge new trailer park and they called each little trailer a “bungalow”, so the 6 of us were in bungalow 7 and 8. It was a small little dorm like room with a bunk bed and one other bed and a bathroom. It was almost like a hostel resort, haha! The first night we got dinner at this place around 11 at night. It wasn’t the most delicious place I had eaten, but it was also almost midnight. We got back and went to bed early because we knew we had a big day ahead of us. We grabbed some breakfast/lunch at this really cheap grocery store across from our hostel that ended up being so good. It looked like a small Wal-Mart, which was something we hadn’t seen in a few weeks. I got a small pizza with just sauce and basil, which was about E1.20.

Our plans were to set out for the Coliseum, which we had to take the bus to the metro and the metro took us to the Coliseum. Rome was so big it would take us about 45 min at least to get from one side of the city to the other by public transportation. We got out of the metro station and there was the Coliseum. It was amazing! It was HUGE. We got tickets and Renee and I decided to do the audio-guided tour, which was cool because it gave us really interesting facts about different areas of the Coliseum and the different types of games they would play. One interesting fact was that they would put thousands of animals in the center and watch them all fight and basically destroy each other. They would also give prisoners the opportunity to fight unarmed against animals, and if they survived they would be set free, but obviously that would rarely happen. It was also cool to learn that it was built in 80 A.D. and they finished in 90 A.D. therefore it only took 10 years to build. It was amazing knowing that I was in something so ancient and historic.

After we took about 100 pictures of the coliseum and saw mostly all of what we wanted we went to the ruins, which was right across the street. We were really excited to find out that our ticket for the coliseum could get us into the ruins as well. Once we got in, it started raining again, which happened most of the day, but we were always lucky in that we could always find a place to get undercover. The ruins were so cool. Everything was from like Jesus time and some things were even from B.C. We walked all around for about an hour or so. One of my favorite parts of the day was when it got really sunny and a huge rainbow came out over all the ruins. We posed for a bunch of really great pictures and enjoyed our last few moments and then decided to head back into the city. We hopped back onto the metro and decided to get off around where the Spanish steps were. We took a look at the Spanish steps, which weren’t anything that great other than a bunch of steps. We then walked over to the Trevi Fountain, which was really cool. It was a huge fountain with a ton of really cool statues. It is a famous tradition to make a wish and toss a penny into the fountain in hopes that it will come true! Renee and I made our wishes and threw the pennies into the fountain. After this we started looking for a place to get dinner. On our way to dinner, we were probably harassed by about 100 different restaurants hosts. IT WAS RIDICULOUS! They literally try and entice you to come into their ristorante by saying things like “I make special deal for you”, and other cheesy things. On our way to dinner, Gina decided to peak into this church. We waited outside and were like, “where did she go, is she still in that church”. We eventually went inside and knew why she was in there fore so long. It was literally one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my entire life. What was so cool about it too, was there was an actual service going on. It was a tradition Roman Catholic Church in Italian. We just walked around in disbelief at how gorgeous it was. The paintings, and golden statues were unbelievable. There was this gold crucifixion of Christ that I was in love with. We just sat and listened to part of the service going on, and at one point Gina almost started crying because she thought it was so beautiful. When we left the church, we actually donated money; well I only put a penny in, but still!

Then we started heading to dinner. We found this cheap place where Renee and I split a carafe of wine and I had the best lasagna I had ever had in my life, and I don’t really even like lasagna. My bill was only about 9.70 euro, which was really good! Then we left and walked to see that Pantheon, which was really interesting because it was built in 80 B.C. (probably the oldest thing we saw that day). Then we walked along the river and saw an ice skating rink that looked out all over the city of Rome, which was gorgeous. The river was gorgeous because it looked out over towards the Vatican which was an amazing view at night with lights. We went back soon after that back to our hostel where we got a good nights sleep.

Funniest story of that night was when our friend Pati was brushing her teeth. Now Pati is Brazilian so some of the things she says aren’t the most proper ways of speaking English. She was yelling from the bathroom “OH my gosh, I lost me teeth, I lost my teeth!” I ran in the bathroom, and was in shock that part of her back molar had fallen out (ew, haha). Renee and I just sat there in tears as she kept yelling; I lost my teeth (but she meant tooth). Eventually we told her that when she was referring to her one that it would just be tooth, and not in fact that she lost all of her teeth…

The next morning we woke up and headed for the Vatican. We waited in line for about 40 minutes to get inside the Vatican because every last Sunday of the month is free, which is why it was so long and so crowded. We walked through the museum and through this long hallway full of ancient artwork that lead to the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel was probably my favorite part because it was so gorgeous and it had the famous painting by Michaelangelo on the ceiling of Adam and God. I would have to say the Vatican wasn’t as remarkable as some of the other things we did during the weekend. It was pretty and extreamly large, but it wasn’t exactly my favorite ting. We headed towards St. Peter’s Basilica which was gorgeous. We didn’t have time to go in, because there was a huge line due to a special prayer the pope was going to give. I heard later that it was amazing and that he recited it in 15 different languages. We headed back to train station. Because I had previously had a really hectic time in the Roman Termini, I was a little nervous. We all in fact did have to sprint to our train none-the-less. The train ride was about 4 hours because of so many stops that they had to make but it was only 16 euro which wasn’t too bad.

Now for the more intense part of the weekend, here is the story about the gypsies. When we had gotten off the subway, Jess and Renee realized that they had about 4 missed calls from the CAPA emergency line. Renee called our friend Alex first because she had called her a bunch of times too. The first thing she said was “Have you talked to Lorenzo (the director of the program of which we all adore)?” Renee replied no that she hadn’t. And Alex said, ok well call him now. So we were all pretty nervous. Renee began talking to Lorenzo with a very concerned look on her face. “Our apartment was broken into”. We all were obviously panicking as you can imagine. We were in Rome, and we just found out our apartment had been broken into and all our stuff was obviously out (all our computers). We left at 2:45 on Friday afternoon and our landlady came at 4 to check the oven, and when she got there, both our doors had been broken in. Now all of us knew that we had dead bolted the doors, which was really strange. The police said that it was most likely gypsies because they didn’t steal anything electronic. Because we were all freaking out, Lorenzo was extremely nice enough to give us a call back at 9:15 when we were checked into our hostel, and was going to go back to the apartment to check our rooms and see what had been stolen. I had left a credit card in a wallet under my desk, Rene had an envelope of money/credit cards, Gina had Jewelry and money and Jess had 600 euro in her room. The police said they usually only steal real cash or gold, and I had neither of those in my in my room. At 9:15 Lorenzo gave us a call once he was in the apartment and went through each of our rooms while we listed off things that we wanted him to check. All my stuff was there, all Renee’s stuff was there, and all of Jess’s stuff was there, however Gina’s gold necklace, earrings, and costume ring was not. Gina did a really good job of not getting too upset even though it was the jewelry that Kevin had given her for her anniversary. Once we had talked to Lorenzo, we all felt a little better about everything, and went on with our trip. We still aren’t sure how they broke in, but we think that it had something to do with the fact that one of the bottom locks at the bottom of the door had been loose, but we fixed that. We also think that the door to get into our apartment downstairs hadn’t been pulled shut all the way, and they may have seen us leave (kind of creepy). The thing that was so weird was when we got back home after our weekend trip was that the clothes from the second drawer were all sprawled out on the floor, so it was obvious they were looking for something in my second drawer (such as Jewelry). Yesterday afternoon we had to go to the police station to file a police report. Lorenzo came with us and was very nice about everything. He also said they have only had one apartment break in since CAPA started 10 years ago, and nothing was taken so I guess we were a first. This was kind of comforting to know because the chances of it happening again are really slim.

We’re headed out for a day trip to Siena this coming weekend with all the CAPA students, which should be a lot of fun, I’m excited!




One Response to “WHEN IN ROME…we get robbed my gypsies in Florence…”

  1. Michael February 4, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Sounds like you hit the general “must sees” in Rome. Consider going back sometime to experience the rest – Villa Borghese, Campo de Fiori, Trestevere area, etc. etc.

    I’m not shocked to hear your story about the “Gypsies.” Most don’t know much about these people. Take a look at this link if you are interested…


    Keep posting, I’m enjoying your blog.

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