We headed to the currency exchange and deduced that it would be less complicated to simply pull it out of an ATM. The kind lady at the currency exchange informed us there should be one as you exit the terminals.
...let me tell you, initially, we went on a wild goose chase trying to find one. When we did, Sammy and Kristi's chase card didn't work. I decided to simply wait and go to the next one they found as well. Again we went and again we tried, yet theirs did not work. Panic began to ensue. I stepped up to the ATM and mine worked completely fine.
I had plenty of money to get us to the hostel, but emotions stilled pointed towards panic (and with good reason), but since there wasn't a thing we could do at the moment...all we did was get to the hostel.
The train to the city proved to be rather expensive, and I'm certain that if we had simply used the machine instead of dealing with the ticket dude calling us "Bella" 24/7, we might have saved a few bucks. Oh well. We arrived around 9:45 to our hostel. The building itself was nice and so was our room! To set off and explore Rome needed be put on hold until we figured out how to fix the Santiago’s card. My poor aunt had to be woken up in the wee hours of the morning only to endure a terrible internet connection and deal with Chase. While she started her mission, the girls gave into their exhaustion and took a nap for a good 45 mins. All the while, I researched places to eat on yelp! HOW HAD I NOT FIGURED THAT OUT BEFORE??
Don't worry. I kicked myself for stumbling across this gift with a week left in our vacay.
I found both an inexpensive pizza place, Pinsere, and gelato place not too far from the hostel. I highly recommend both, although the name of the gelato place continues to evade my mind. It was by far the bast I had the entire trip. My next task was to wake up the girls. Sigh. They must hate me, but I can't rationalize sleeping away our adventures.
I proceeded to get up, make more noise than needed to unload the snack bag, and basically do everything dad does when he wants me up at 7 in the morning. I WAS STARVING. We hadn't eaten anything but Cheerios that morning and I can't possibly get the energy I need to keep these girls happy and excited on mere Cheerios. So, Sammy woke up to me and a message from her mom saying everything is good to go. I yelled to Cookie that I found a gelato place, and she sprung right up!! Actually, that's a lie. She reluctantly opened her eyes, and it wasn't until I said it again that she said to head out. THANK GOODNESS.
We found the nearest ATM, they got their money, and then I herded them to the pizza place. It was buzzing. The pizza's lay in front of us ready to be picked out. The only decision being which one should we get! We got one with cheese chunks and tomatoes and another one with onions and some other stuff-this was my favorite. Because we stretched our stomachs out, gelato had to wait at least half an hour. We walked around the area taking in the culture and the Italian street sales.
Finally, everyone felt that their stomachs could handle some 2.50 gelato. OOOOO I WAS SO EXCITED. To set the scene: I found out in Athens that I'm a pig by these girls standards (what with the ice cream and sharing), so we all decided we would buy our own gelato. Fine by me! They got their piccalo (small two scoop ice cream) and I got the media (medium three scoop), and I ordered first. Everything was in Italian, mainly because we weren't in a tourist part of town, so I began picking. Sammy and cookie were overwhelmed and I'm pretty sure they felt like they were throwing me to the wolves. Nah. I really didn't sweat it. I got chocolate, pistachio and cream (I forgot to tell them no whipped cream, but there are worse things in life). I don't know if I can describe how heavenly this cone of gelato was. These people top it with so much gelato that its like the leaning tower of Pisa, and if you don't eat it soon, you'll be wearing it!
Sammy and cookie loved their flavors apparently, but if we're being honest, they were most likely jealous of my awesome combination of chocolate deliciousness.
It took a little while to finish...them of course, I devoured mine, and then we set out to the Coliseum. On our way, the presidential palace held some sort of procession, so we watched the show for some time. This is also where we found that many of the tourist/people here are RUDE with a capital R, U, D, E. One shoved Sammy out of the way to get a picture of the palace. Sammy didn't take this lightly at all.
We made it to the Trevi Fountain only to find out, to Cookies absolute terror, that it's currently under construction. After a moment of pouting, we noticed a makeshift fountain for the tourists to still throw a coin into, so that's exactly what we did. Now that I think about it, I didn't make a wish!! Man. That's on me.
Following this, we made it to the area with the Forum and the altar of the fatherland. (Don't ask us what these things were. We tried so hard to read everything and become more knowledgable. It was just very difficult!) We do know that a long time ago, the forum (or ruins) was used for market stuff, and government stuff, and transporation stuff, and I'd imagine something to do with Caesar and Brutus. (I'm fairly certain that this was the REAL Caesar's palace). We continued our walk to the Coliseum and took my rendition of Russell Crowe's gladiator statement. *insert swooning noise here* Such a good movie. The building itself was probably the most amazing thing in Rome. I mean if you think about how old that place is...oh my goodness.
We took some pictures here and around the area until we decided to head back to the hostel. When we passed the presidential palace again, we fantasized how they might be throwing a lavash party. We wanted to know if it was Invite an American Day?! Too hopeful huh??
Upon arriving to our room, we had our fingers crossed that no one would be staying with us, but that was way wishful thinking. The dude that was our roommate decided to leave his dirty clothes nice and laid out on his bed for us to smell! With no shame, we antiperspirant those articles of clothing real quickly. How selfish of him? Lucky, we didn’t really see him at all. We had an early night and later morning, where he came in late and left early. It worked out.
We got audio guides to listen to, and Ryan proved to be an excellent addition to the group...he could take pictures of the three of us now!! Haha. He was really sweet, and his accent was exactly like Mel's if not more distinct. As we were walking through, we got into a great system of having Sammy listen to the audio guide and then relaying whatever she just learned to the three of us. We loved it! Ryan was just as inquisitive as we were, and it was funny because his catch phrase was "don't quote me on that" whenever he'd answer our questions.
About a couple of hours (and a lot of stolen Greek copies and Egypt statues) later, we made it to Raphael's room. At this point, Ryan took over Cookies' audio guide and her and I waited for the synopsis from him and Sammy. As we were waiting and looking at the room and paintings, we played a game. We tried to get a feel for the room and decide its relevance. We were taught that each room represented something, so Cookie and I would try and guess what exactly that may be and then see if we were close to the actual summary Ryan and Sammy would give. There was an instance where I think we even surprised the two of them!
Anyways, we finally made it to the Sistine Chapel, and the enforcement encouraged us to keep our cameras off, although, not to very much avail. Sammy made sure to get all that she could out of the audio guide and we learned a little more from her lessons.
After numerous hours of observing art, we needed food to reenergize before the Basillica. The restaurants around the museum were going to be expensive, but I don't think we were prepared for what we got! For a half liter of water-€2.50! We got a 1.5 liter for €1 the day before. I think we basically based our food decision off of the cheapest water. Ryan and cookie got pizza, I got Lasagna and Sammy got spaghetti. I enjoyed my lasagna, but I think both Sammy and I were disappointed that the pizza's were significantly bigger than our pasta dishes. Oh well.
We syked Ryan up for some gelato after the basilica, but until then, we began our walk and essentially our wait in line to get into the most beautiful and famous Catholic Church there is. Once we got there, relieved as can be, we waited in a not so long line. We took pictures in from of the square (which is huge) and St. Peter's Basillca. While in line, we talked about hockey because Ryan used to play. We also talked about famous people for our hometowns. I think it's safe to say we were all impressed with each other's famous people. The line went super quick and before we knew it, the line stopped right in the front. We got a go-pro pic guest staring the Canadian and headed inside.
My goodness was it beautiful. We walked in, and instantly the ceiling was huge and elaborate with paintings and sculptures all around. There were mini chapels going along either side of the church. In front of us, we could see that a mass was being held. Around the corner, confession was being held. Cookie and I contemplated for a moment whether we should, but eventually talked ourselves out of it. On the other side, was the room where the cardinals change and get ready. We had no idea what was going on, but as I had a prime time spot, I went ahead and waited to see what all the commotion was about. It was the coolest thing! The cardinals ended the mass and walked right passed us! It was magical.
We looked around a little more, and then said goodbye as we left. We took another picture in front of St. Peter's, and finally were ready for some gelato. The same effect occurred. We were overwhelmed; Ryan especially. I got my large cone with 3 scoops again, but this time without the whipped cream. When it was all said and done, our gelato was melting quickly. We looked over at Ryan and he had it all over his beard! We couldn't stop laughing long enough to stop the melting and it dripping on ourselves. We asked him how his first experience with gelato was and he replied with, “Well, I think I wore it more than I ate it!” And he probably could have done without the whipped cream. We sat on the curb for a while and then decided to head back on the train.
We walked back with him and stopped in front of the museum to take our foot picture. This too was a feat in itself. The added foot made for some laughter. Not only that, but Sammy point out that Ryan had bird poop on his shorts. Hahaha again you had to be there but trust me. It was hilarious!!
We mocked each other about our accents on our way home and then said goodbye at the train station. Back at the hostel, our second roomie for the city was a guy from university of Arizona. He was really nice as well, and since he was from LA, talked to Sammy a little. He left before us in the morning and left a sweet note to say goodbye.