Europe Web Journal #9: Wrapping Up the Tour
May 25, 2007
ROME, Italy - During the last two days of our trip, we explored more of the city of Rome... when I say more, I mean the ENTIRE town. Each player, at some point, got lost wandering through the streets. We realized that some of the signs really do not point you in the right direction! It was a good thing that the waiters at corner cafes could speak English. Getting lost was the best way to experience Rome. We were able to see almost all of the magnificent buildings, ruins, statues, and piazzas. Each new area would take our breath away.
On Wednesday, we stepped off the train and immediately spotted the Coliseum. This building was enormous!! We all tried to imagine what it would have looked like in ancient times and we were left in awe. As we moved along the path, we looked across to the Roman Forum. The area was incredible to scan. We were even able to watch some archeologists at work, digging out more of the brick walls that tell the stories of Rome's ancient past.
Eventually, we made it to the Pantheon Basilica. The ceiling is open and the walls were decorated with beautiful statutes and paintings. It has a mysterious characteristic that people cannot normally see. When it rains, the floors have a hidden network beneath the floor to get rid of the water. It is amazing to think about how creative people were so long ago.
After a long day of walking, we met at a cute, little restaurant and our tour guide warned us that we would be served more food than we have ever experienced at a dinner table; and he was definitely right. Cultural dish after dish was brought out to our table. Seventeen total dishes took over our table and the team eagerly dug in. Some of the plates included olives, eggplant, different cheeses, types of cooked ham, fried zucchini (our favorite), and a unique bread. After the dinner, our bellies were filled to the top. To walk off some of that food, we made our way to the Spanish Steps. We took many pictures and decided it was time for bed; four of the girls took a carriage ride through the streets and the rest of us took cabs back to the hotel. (I don't think that taxi drivers understand the concept of the lines on the road!)
Thursday, we woke up at 6:45 in order to avoid long lines to get into the Vatican City. The Vatican Museum had amazing artifacts from all over the world and some were made as early as 3000 B.C.! It was interesting for MC and me to make the connection of how the museum was set up. It began with how people worshiped pagan gods and as time passes, Christianity triumphed over paganism. We finished our tour in the Sistine Chapel. We all just stood in awe; the paintings were more incredible than the pictures we have seen. Chills ran through my body as I stared up in admiration.
The team met up for dinner by the hotel and then at around 8 p.m., we left to see the Treve Fountain. Since a couple of girls (including me) missed St. Peter's, we chose to head there first and then the fountain later. We arrived as the sun was setting. Chairs were still out from Wednesday when the pope spoke to the people. The rosy rays of the sunset lit up the building where all of the popes of the past lay and illuminated the cross above. Words cannot express how beautiful this area was. MC, Erin, Kristin, Manoela, and I then walked to the magnificent Treve Fountain. This is when we became lost for two hours... in the end it was all worth it.
This trip was an amazing experience for each of the girls on the team to learn and grow. We learned different words, what is polite in that culture, how to read maps when we are lost, and how to learn from the different countries and people we came in contact with. Here are some other humorous learning experiences to end with...
1. Kasey learns that the countries do not all speak "European." Each country has its own language.