Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I woke up about an hour before landfall at Fumicino and could see the Mediterranean Sea beneath us. Once we landed we got our luggage, and luckily none of it got lost. We found the taxi drivers who were waiting for us outside and headed for our bed and breakfasts.

It still didn't feel like I was in Italy. Nothing seemed different about the landscape, but people here drive crazy. Enzo, our driver, was driving so fast, and motorcycles kept driving in our lane coming us us to avoid the traffic and their lane and I swore we were gonna hit one. After about 45 minutes I got dropped off at my piazza, Piazza Sforza. I knew the number of my bed and breakfast but I had a hard time locating it. I found the number that should be my bed and breakfast but it was just a single door that looked like a hole in the wall. Nothing was labeled or looked anything like a B&B. Luckily a lady walked past and got out her key for the door. I said "Parle Inglese", and she responded yes, and so I asked if there was a bed and breakfast around. She was very nice and said yes come inside. So she let me in, but then went up to her apartment and I was still left wondering where I had to go. All that was inside was a staircase with doors to apartment on every landing. I had my heavy luggage with me, so I decided to go to every door and see if any said Navona Nice Room Bed & Breakfast. Of course none did. So I wandered up and down this staircase a couple times to no avail, and just decided to start ringing every doorbell. Not one person answered any of the doorbells I rang. I was starting to get nervous. About 15 minutes later somebody poked their head out the door and looked at me and I said "Bed and Breakfast?" And they said "Yes, yes, come in!" Finally I found it. I was let in, but it was before check-in so I had to drop my stuff off and head out.

We all met back at Piazza Navona, where I'd be living as of Monday, and went to get some food. We ate on the piazza which was a big mistake. We got pizza and it was absolutely awful. Turns out all the restaurants here are touristy and not very good. I got my first Italian beer, peroni, which was a delicious light beer.

After lunch we went exploring around Rome to start finding the piazzas we had to document for our studio project. We found about half of them, and then we came across he Roman Forum. It was so exciting to see something that I learned about in classes. We couldn't get in so we decided and go around and try the other side, and in doing so we stumbled in Michelangelo's Campidoglio.

It was more amazing than I could have imagined, and the fact that we just stumbled into it made it so much better. We looked all around that for a little while, and then headed back down towards the Forum.

We still couldn't find the way in, but by this point we'd seen the Colosseum in the distance so we started walking toward that. Just like the Campidoglio, and everything in Rome for that matter, and it was much bigger and more amazing than any picture I'd ever seen.

We took a number of pictures there, but we were too exhausted by this point to go in so we headed back to our B&Bs to get some rest. On the way back though we ran into Jamie by complete coincidence, my favorite professor from architecture and one of the professors for this program. He told us all the best places to go in Rome for gelato, coffee, etc. Then I went back to see my room and, aside from being really small, it was very nice. I got wifi and talked to everybody from home and went to bed for a quick nap at about 10.

I got up at 12:30 and headed to Botticella's, the Pittsburgh bar right off of Piazza Navona, to meet up with Pat and watch the Penguins game. I met the bartender, Giovanni, and ordered a Peroni while I was waiting for Pat. At 1 a.m. Giovanni turned the game on, but informed us he'd have to close at 2 a.m. or else he'd get a 3500 euro fine. So we had a couple beers, met a family from Pittsburgh who was actually on our flight over to Rome, met Tristen who was a Penn State graduate from the architecture program, watched the first period and then go kicked out. I went home and tried for about an hour to get the online stream before giving up and listening to a radio feed as I went to bed. Pens won 2-1.

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