Sunday, October 17, 2004

Long Weekend Recap

Hey guys, so I haven't updated this in awhile and some of you might want to hear about my long weekend in Italy. So here's how it started...

We left Tuesday afternoon for Stansted Airport just outside of London to catch our RyanAir flight to Milan, Italy. I think it was about a 2 hr flight, but when we arrived it was already dark and the airport was pretty much deserted. We luckily found a bus to take us from Bergamo (where we flew in to), to Milan (where our hostel for the night was). After about an hour and half bus ride to Milan, we got dropped off in the ghetto part of Milan. We had to walk another 1/2 hr to our hostel, and the city was dead. We walked through some very sketchy parts of Milan, and in my mind it was not whether we were going to get mugged, it was WHEN. I was certain we were gonna turn and corner and get held up for sure. But nothing like that happened, however we were forced to sleep on park benches because the hostel accidentally canceled our reservations and didn't have a room for us anymore. So we crashed for a few hours (by this time it was midnight, and our train to Rome left at 5:30), and caught our train. I think I slept for about a half hour that night, but once we got onto the train I crashed and slept uncomfortably for the next 5 hrs.

We arrived into Rome around noon-ish and found our hostel for the night, checked in and dropped off our stuff and began exploring the city of Rome. Rome is actually a very dirty city. It's not at all like London. There's trash everywhere, graffiti everywhere, and there's a lot of smog, even worse than LA. But we stopped for lunch and had our first Italian food (mm mmm good!) and continued on walking to the Coliseum. We took a tour of the Coliseum and honestly it wasn't worth it at all. It was cool to see it, but there's not a whole lot there. And they are in the process of rebuilding it, so it looked horrible. The coliseum was definatly not my favorite part of Rome. It was getting a little late by then, so we took the underground metro (again, really really filthy place) back to our hostel and crashed for a few hours. We woke up in time to get dinner at another really great Italian restaurant. After that we walked around more to see Rome at night and saw the Piazza Venezia where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24/7. Oh, and about the hostel in Rome. We had six people in the group (3 guys, 3 girls), and our room was TINY. There were simply 3 bunkbeds crammed as tightly as possible into a room. Plus the shower was in the corner of the room, with only opaque plastic between your naked body and everyone else in the room. The girls freaked out about it. I personally took a shower in the water closet down the hall (it was really really dirty and after i got out i wasn't sure if i was cleaner or dirtier). But it was still funny to watch the girls try and drap their sheets over the shower... anyways, that was a little adventure in and of itself.

The next day was the best part of Rome, we got up and headed over the train station to find food and get money. And well, while we were standing around trying to figure out what to do, my friend taylor go the bright idea that pantsing Elliot would be really funny in front of hundreds of Romans. So he runs up behind me and yanks my pants off, well, my belt was loose enough so that the pants slipped off easily, but tight enough to also pull down the boxers with the pants. So there I was exposing myself to hundreds of Romans not to mention my RA and several of the girls who i was traveling with. Yeah, so Rome's seen me in all my glory. ;) Oh.. and if anyone ever goes back to Rome, could you please bring me back my dignity... i seem to have left it there....

Well after I pulled my pants back up after an initial struggle with undoing my belt and button-fly (yeah, it was awkward), we took a bus to Vatican City. The Vatican was the best part. It it absolutely ENORMOUS. It was definately the best part of Rome, and if you go there, spend a lot of time! St. Peter's Basilica is breathtaking, initially just because of the sheer size of and volume of the building, but then you realize that every nook and cranny is ornately designed and decorated. The dome above the basilica is the biggest dome ever, and the volume of just the dome is actually equivalent to the total volume of the building below it. Below the basilica are all the tombs of the past Popes, included St. Peter himself. We took a tour of the museums and saw the Sistine Chapel.

After that we headed onto to lunch and ate at yet ANOTHER amazing Italian place. They even gave us free drinks afterwards cuz we ate so much. =) I love Italy! We explored more and saw the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. Trevi Fountain was amazing, there were so many people there. It was a mess to get down to the actual water and take a picture.

Well that night we took a night train to Venice. We left around midnight in Rome and arrived at 6AM in Venice. It was still pitch black outside and we had horrible horrible directions to the hotel from the train station, and of course I was incharge of getting us there, and with no map, I got us extremely lost. We wandered around for about 2 hrs trying to find this certain square where the hotel was located. Finally we found someone who could speak english fairly well and he led us there. Anyways, there's this whole long hectic story about that hotel and I don't want to recap it cause it would take to long...some other time... That day was horrible, we were all dead tired from not sleeping well on the train (and for probably only a few hours), so we were all in a daze wandering around Venice.

Now, between all 3 cities that we visited, Venice was definately my favorite. I am trying to find some people to go back with. While we were there we got to see St. Marco's Basilica where I was mauled by pidgeons (we have video and pictures!), we took an expensive Gondola ride, and generally wandered around getting lost among the maze of little alleyways in the city. Venice is awesome, it's just filled with shops from corner to corner and it's a lot of fun to get lost somewhere and try and find your way out. Anyways this is getting kinda long so i'm cutting it short. And I actually bought my sister her birthday present ( a handmade object in Venice) but left it on the train ... =(

The week was awesome. We had a good group and had a lot of fun with only a little drama. I really want to go back to Italy sometime (anyone wanna come along??) Well I need to do laundry and study, so I'm leaving now.....

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