Rome

Day 16:

Another early morning that involved hopping on the bus and traveling all day. Good thing is I’ve now finished two books and I’m half way through the third…

Mike did put on a very appropriate move though…I’ll give you a hint: “Are you not entertained?! Are you not en-ter-tained?!”…

If you guessed The Gladiator, you are correct but you win nothing but a long bus ride.

So we set out heading for Roma with a stop in Assisi to see the St. Francis of Assisi Church. We were actually able to go down into the crypt and see the tomb of St. Francis where his bones still lie. I really can’t wrap my head around how old and beautiful everything is.

We walked across the whole city of Assisi in an hour to an hour in a half. It was on the side of the mountain and the view was unreal. It was exactly what you picture Italy would look like. Those tall skinny trees, fields of grapes, sunflowers, or hay, that terra cotta color roofs with circular shaped shingles.

Got back on the bus for another 3 1/2 hours to Roma! It would’ve only been 2 hours but Erik left his bag on the bus in Switzerland and we changed buses. Luckily the bus driver was driving to Rome with anther group and left it at a rest station to pick up. He’s one lucky guy because that camelback backpack had his very expensive Nikon camera, extra lens, Cody’s sweatshirt, and a few other valuable items in it. So kind of a hassle for us to get it back because it’s an hour and a half out of the way but he’s a lucky dude that’s for sure.

Sooo we were really excited for an extra optional that Mike was offering. For 45€ per person we would get a 5 course meal, an opera/comedy show, and unlimited wineeeeee. BUT we couldn’t do it on Wednesday because we have the cooking class and the place is closed on Thursdays. So Mike called and ask if we could do it right when we got to Roma after the bus ride…and they said no because it was too last moment. We were all very sad because that would’ve been perfect. Opera dinner and then come back and watch the US soccer game! But since the opera dinner wasn’t happening, we figured something else out.

So we checked into the hotel and went out to St. Peter’s square. David’s a 26 year old history teacher so he was our own personal your guide. It was evening time so when we went to the square there was barely anyone there.

But we were really on the hunt for some type of sports bar that we could eat and watch the game at. We walked for a good hour and saw a place but half of us wanted to stay and half wanted to find someplace else. Cody, Sarah, Matt and I went to find another place so we started back tracking and found a pizzeria with a flat screen outside. Obviously we all ordered our own pizza and obviously they were all gone. We stayed there for the first half and then walked back to the hotel for the second. I could barely keep my eyes open when we got back so I went up to bed and Cody stayed in the lobby to watch the end.

Day 17:

Mike offered, to whoever was interested, a little stroll in the morning before we went on our walking tour of the Coliseum. So we ended up leaving at 8:30 for a much longer stroll then was expected but it was awesome because we got to know the layout of the city and see a lot of the main monuments.

We went to the Vatican, St. Peter’s square again, saw the Hall of Justice, Piazza Navona (the fountain of 4 rivers), and the Pantheon. We attempted to see the Trevi Fountain but the whole thing was under construction with scaffolding covering the whole building. Everyone was extremely upset but you’re suppose to throw one coin into the fountain to return to Rome, two to return to Rome and fall in love, and there to return to Rome to fall in love and get married. Soooo we threw one in together to return to Rome when there isn’t so much stupid scaffolding up on every building or fountain we went to.

We ended at at the Spanish Steps, where again, there was scaffolding over the fountain at the bottom so it wasn’t as pretty as it should have been but we climbed the steps anyway. And I didn’t know this but the only reason they’re called the Spanish steps is because the Spanish embassy is at the bottom of the steps. Fun fact.

Another fact: if you don’t have a tour guiding license in Italy and you get caught by the police guiding a group around and explaining anything, you can get up to a 500€ fine. So mike didn’t talk to us much on this stroll but we saw a ton and like I said, David was a wealth of knowledge too so if we had any questions we went right to him and he usually had the answer.

We finally got back to the hotel, it’s only 11 and it felt like we had already walked a full day. Luckily we were able to hop on the bus to ride it to the Coliseum for our tour at 11:30. And on the bus over, the whole bus had a sing along….to the Lizzy Maguire song that she sings in her movie from forever ago! Thissss is what dreamssssss are made oooooof…You’re welcome Jamie 😊 haha

So we get there, get our tour guide and go inside the coliseum. Wow. I am still so baffled that people could construct these types of buildings back when they had absolutely no technology at all. So much history took place in and around that structure, it’s crazy to think about.

Then we went across the street to the Roman Ruins or Roman Forum. We saw the tomb of Julius Caesar, beautiful arches, and collapsed building that once stood tall at the end of the Sacred Road in the center and heart of Rome where all of the major decisions were made to shape the city. Mind blowing.

The guide was done an hour before she was suppose to be so we had some time to kill. Of course there was a gelato stop and we were suppose to wait by this huge set of stairs. Making it my second 5 min workout of this whole trip ha, I climbed the stairs up which actually had an amazing view.

We quickly went back to the hotel to drop those people off who weren’t doing the cooking class and then headed to a Holiday Inn where the chef booked one of the conference rooms for the class. So we get there, put our chef apron and hat on, and divide into tables of 4. Our table was Cody, Erik, Carly, and I, the Dream Team.

On the tables were big pans of flour, oil, water, and a cup of spinach sauce, pumpkin sauce and tomato sauce and of course some wine while we creat our master pieces. We poured the sauces into the flour and started mixing the flour in. Got our dough perfectly mixed and then started rolling using the pasta roller. Thin looooong strips that took up the whole table for our fettuccine and some petty cool star shaped ravioli. We also made some patterns; the Italian flag and some green pasta with red poka dots for the ravioli and a mix of all the colors for the fettuccine. The inside of the raviolis were up to us to create as well as the sauce. So while our dough was setting, we made some cream sauce. Then took our pasta and literally cooked it for 3 mins and it was done. We platted and waited for the chef to judge it. He tasted it and loved our sauce but said our pasta was a little over cooked. 3 mins and it was still over cooked but those Italians do like their pasta very andante. But I think I ate more of our pasta then the dinner they gave us after ha.

The dinner they had wasn’t the best. They gave us some pasta (ours tasted better), potatos, carrots, pork (maybe?), bread, a cardboard looking pizza, salad, and some type of coffee cake for dessert. Not our best meal.

But when we got back to the hotel, there was a consensus that a karaoke bar needed to be found. Sheraton and Taylor found one the night before and said it was a lot of fun so we decided to go there. The mojitos came in pitchers. Cody got a whole pitcher to himself haha. Almost everyone took a turn singing which was hilarious to say the least. This 8 year old boy also sang two songs and he was so good and so funny!! He was very dramatic and really got into the song he was singing. He had us all rolling on the ground laughing.

Whenever we’re on the bus, Mike insists on singing whatever song pops into his head. But when it comes to singing on a stage, he was absolutely not doing it even though he knows every word to every boy band song out there haha. But eventually he got up and sang with Carly and Steph and a fewww drinks. Some people wanted to go to the club after but Cody, Carly, Adrienne, Kirk and I were checked out. We got a cab home.

Day 18:

Needless to say it was a looooooong night for everyone. So when Mike said we needed to be out the door at 7:45…it was a struggle for everyone, even Mike. Steph and I had to go up and knock on his door to get him up and out of bed at 8am ha ha. He was feeling good about that but we had our tour of the Vatican City to get to.

We walk back to the Vatican City which is only a 5-7 min walk from our hotel which is cool because the city itself is one of the smallest counties in the world. And what was cool was, since we had a group and a guided tour, we got to go in early and skip the line into the museum which was all the way wrapped around the whole other half of the Vatican wall and into St. Peter’s square. We all felt like ballers haha. Anyways, our tour director showed us all through the Pine Cone Court Yard, the Vatican museum, the Sistine chapel and back to St. Peter’s basilica and square.

Rome is just represented by the word Wow. The Sistine chapel was unreal. The whole ceiling was panted which of course is home to the iconic painting of the separation of man and God. And the alter wall was b-e-a-utiful. Our tour director was extremely knowledgeable about all the facts of the paintings, sculptures and Michael Angelo himself so we got a wealth of information. Since the Sistine Chapel is a Holy Place, you aren’t allowed to take pictures and they are pretty strict about it…but I risked my life 😳😜. Not the clearest picture but still cool. But it doesn’t do the actual sight of the ceiling any justice. Even though it was all painted, it looked like some of the paintings were sculptures coming out of the wall because they were that realistic. Amazing amazing amazing. The fact that Michael Angelo was perfect in sculpting, painting and architecture is amazing and represented throughout the whole city.

After the 3 hour tour, everyone was beat. We headed back to the hotel for a much needed nap. After an hour and a half I still don’t think I could’ve gotten up without the help of Cody. He had to literally push me off the bed or I would’ve slept all day. But we had other things we wanted to see. We headed out for Campo di Fiori (possibly how to spell it) which was suppose to be a nice market. But we got there at 4:02 and it ended at 4 so we didn’t see much…good thing there was a gelato place right there 😝. I had Kinder gelato and it was heavenly. Kinder is a type of German chocolate with a white creme chocolate on the inside. So that was the only flavor I got and it was the best I’ve had so far.

We continued on to the main shopping street we passed in front of the Spanish Steps where almost everyone haggled and got one or more fake pair of Ray Bands.

At the end of the street there was an obelisk that was apparently from the book Angels and Demons. Erik and David wanted to see that so we walked there and sat by the fountain when all the sudden, Michael Jackson started playing in the square! There was a dancer that came out that looked just like him and started moon walking all over place.

But we wanted pizza, so yesterday we asked the Chef if there was a place we could go to see them making the pizza, throwing it up, and doing tricks with the dough. He gave us a name and surprisingly we found it but it wasn’t what we were expecting. It was a very nice restaurant that had great pizza but we didn’t see them making it. Cody got a ham and artichoke one, I got a veggie one and it was so good but I could only eat a third of it because I was so stuffed. I put it in a box and saved it for later. And sure enough, after we walked back to our hotel, I ate the rest of it 😜.

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