Day 2 in Rome:
After another early morning (side note: our roommates in the hostel enjoy getting up at 6:30a, and turning off the fan at night in our 90 degree room), we grabbed some fruit and water naturale, and made our way to the metro to go the colosseum!
The metro in Rome smells like pure pee, and Line B is covered in graffiti! Keepin it classy, Rome.
After a stuffy but uneventful metro ride, we stepped out from underground... And were face to face with the colosseum!!! That thing is impressive. There was no definite line anywhere so we just wandered around for a while taking pictures.
A few minutes later we were approached by some guy trying to get us to go to a 25€ Rome bar crawl that night (no grazie) and after getting it through his head that we didn't want to go, even if we got a free shirt, he told us the current situation on the colosseum...
Apparently the workers were on strike, and the ruins would not open until 12:30 that day.
We were so pissed! We walked over to the entrance (all closed up except a sign saying there was a "trade meeting"). So we sat down right there at the front of the line and waited for the next two hours, passing the time by reading Dan Brown and playing Temple Run on my iPhone.
When the colosseum gates finally opened, it felt like Christmas! We raced through the maze to the ticket counter, paid, and then (grinning like fools) we ran into the center of the colosseum! And it was completely empty of other tourists. And it was absolutely amazing.
After having our minds blown at the colosseum, we headed to the ruins of the roman forum for some more old stuff! There was no line here, and it honestly felt a little like a theme park for old rocks... We just wandered through the huuuuuuge fenced in park of ruins, and it was fun trying to envision what it used to look like. The remains of the temple of Zeus were gigantic, and I can only imagine how impressed the ancients were.
After this, Erica and I were exhausted to the core. We were dehydrated (water isn't free anywhere), sweaty, and ready to head home. We hopped back on the metro and went 'home'. After this long day, we are proud to say that we accomplished EVERYTHING we wanted to do in Rome except the Vatican!
Last Day in Rome:
This morning, Erica and I got up and decided to get fancy and wear our (very wrinkled) dresses to visit the Holy See. We went back to the metro, and followed the nuns to the Vatican. We paid way too much money to go into the museums, and honestly also really wanted to see was the Sistine chapel. After two hours of being hoarded through the rooms in the museum with hundreds of others, we arrived in the Sistine chapel. There was a calm, and sorts creepy, music playing and no one was allowed to speak. I was happily snapping photos of The Creation of Adam, when a security guard came up and made me delete my photos... I was SO pissed. But as soon as he left I took photos on my phone instead! Booyah!
After exiting the chapel, we popped into St Peters Basilica and OH MY GOSH! Honestly I would have been completely content just visiting this and not going into the museum. First off, the building was HUGE, and so ornately decorated that I had no idea where to even start looking. We did a slow lap around the inside, and then went back around again. On our second lap, we paused and went into the small curtained room off to the side meant for prayer. As we crossed through the heavy velvet curtains, we were greeted by a wave of soft incense and stunned by the magnificence of the small gilded room. Erica and I found an empty spot in the pews and took a few minutes of silence to reflect and pray.
So all in all, to summarize my time in Rome: it was fun, dirty, packed with breathtaking history, overflowing with heavenly pasta, and a great great start to my European adventure!!!