La Città Eterna

Rome caught Sophia and me by surprise. I was getting a little nervous when they started speaking Italian in the airport gate announcements. We bought bus tickets to a train station near our air BnB and waited to get on the plane for about 30 minutes. Off to a great start right? This was the first airplane flight where Sophia and I were separated. She got a seat toward the front of the airplane and I got the back. I sat next to a young recently graduated high school girl and a college professor. We bonded a little bit over the bad airline and baby crying the whole ride. It was actually kind of funny. Meanwhile, over at Sophia’s end, she ended up helping a woman that apparently had flight anxiety. Her Spanish came in handy! After the flight, we found out the same girl that I sat next to with was friends with two girls Sophia sat next to as well. Apparently, they were on a trip together. It was pretty cool to clash with groups and pairs of friends that were traveling at the same time as us.

We were delayed because my carry-on had to be checked in because there was no more room on the seating area of the plane. The bus we were supposed to take apparently needed another set of bus tickets. So we had to get a whole other set of tickets and then catch a later bus.


On the bus with our handy European phrase book in case we run into language barriers.


Tip: When you get to the Roman airport, just take a train to the nearest train station you’re staying at.

The area we were staying at was not the best of Rome, but during the daytime, it wasn’t that bad. I suggested to save money and we rolled our stuff to our air BnB. We were staying about 15 minutes (walking distance) away from the Termini Train Station. We checked in late, but thankfully our host didn’t mind. She only spoke Italian and used Google translator. Alessandro was able to call her and explain why were delayed from the airport. How did we contact Paola and Alessandro? Sophia’s international phone! That was sooooo handy!

Our apartment was small but cute. We even had a garden. We decided to take on the Roman streets and see where the night would take us. Another set back: we couldn’t get service even on Sophia’s cell. I tried using my international data and almost nothing. Luck was on our side and we were able to get an Uber to the center of the city.

Roman Tip: Rome is located in a city with narrow streets, hence transportation in and out of the city center is very difficult. You will have to walk a lot.


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And the gelato journey begins! ❤


Sophia and I were starving. We needed food and being in a country known for its food, we were excited to start eating. Unfortunately, we ended up at a bad restaurant where we had the worst wine and pizza. Major Letdown. We left a bad review so you won’t be mistaken to go there when in Rome. We made up for it with some delicious gelato from a spot we found by the Trevi Fountain. This place is called Don Nino. I definitely recommend this place for ice cream. Throughout all of my time in Italy, I probably ate about 12 scoops of ice cream. #NoRegrets


The Trevi Fountain is even more beautiful at night. Again I had my “Is this happening in real life?” moment. To get a little bit of history, Sophia and I googled this place and found some interesting facts. The Trevi fountain was the display of an aqueduct termination of Rome. If you look closely you see some statues and designs, those are of why it was named. It was named after a virgin woman that Roman soldiers met when they were thirsty. She led them to a place to get water on one of the many roads that led to Rome.  This scene is portrayed at the fountain. There is more history, which I suggest you research because Romans really had a lot of stuff going on that factored in places being built like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Pantheon, etc.


During our search for a bar, we witnessed some nice Italian music in the streets!



Sophia is showing you a cool building we ran into during our walk!


The night was still young and we decided to see if we could find a neat bar. Guess where we ended up? … AN AMERICAN BAR! Out of all the places in Rome, we accidentally entered this place. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to be in a place where we could understand each other, but my goal during my European trip was to avoid American things. I just really wanted to bask in the European culture. The bar was filled with university flags from American colleges. There was also a big football theme going on in the bar. Could it get more American than this? My favorite thing that topped it off was the Jesus statue that had a football helmet on. The owner of the bar helped us catch a taxi back to our place and we rested a good nine hours.


Spotted: RUTGERS!!



Jesus… the American football God? 


Day 2

Okay here is where our itinerary/ spontaneous explorations happen. We grabbed our granola bars and headed to the Termini Station! It was difficult to understand at first, but we were able to catch right train to … The Colosseum!



“Sing to me Paolo!” – Lizzie McGuire (Isabella)


Part of the reason why I wanted to see the Colosseum was that it is a beautiful historical landmark of Italy…and it was in The Lizzie McGuire Movie. I mean who comes here and doesn’t quote, “Sing to me Paolo,” from the movie?! Iconic. Another movie that was in my mind as I explored this magnificent site was The Gladiator. If you haven’t seen this movie, please stop what you’re doing and watch it right now! Russell Crowe is so good looking and also a great actor.


As soon as Sophia and I started exiting the train station, the Colosseum was all up in my face. You were just smacked with its magnificence. No lie, it’s HUGE! MASSIVE! You could see the details of the old ruins and the new ones built to keep it from all crumbling down. The Colosseum was a place where gladiators fought, battles were won, spectacles were shown, etc. Many people from far and wide came to this place to witness glory and history. The tragic part of this was that slaves existed within these walls, people were tortured and people died. We delve into the museum tour and saw some beautiful artifacts including some artwork that was inspired by the Colosseum. This, of course, was a place I shall never forget.

The Spanish Steps:


Lizzie McGuire was at the top with Paolo in the movie!

We made a quick stop here. This place was built in 1723-1725 by Francesco de Sanctis. The whole project was financed by the French. I thought that was the most bizarre thing I heard. Here we are in Italy looking at some magnificent steps that weren’t even really Italian. Then there was a whole disagreement and battle over who really owned this piece of Rome. This, of course, is no surprise. Back then all people did was start wars over minute things. We were on a time budget and were starving so that’s why there aren’t many pics here. My favorite pic also shown here is of me in front of the small fountain near the steps called, Fontana della Barcaccia. It was designed according to an old folk legend about a boat being carried away to the exact spot of the Tibet River.



Fontana della Barcaccia


Lunch break:

I don’t have a historical fact to share about pizza because well you should research about it if you really want to know. I wanted to include this section to show you the best pizza I had on this trip. It looks plain, but trust me it was DELICIOUS!


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Margherita Pizza!



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Sophia’s delicious mozzarella pizza!

Fontana di Trevi:




We wanted to see the Trevi Fountain in the daytime. Tip: fewer crowds at night! It was very crowded when we got there and we tried to get a ton of pictures. This was another Lizzie McGuire moment. I made my wish in hopes of returning to this beautiful place again.


The Vatican:

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetWe stopped real quick to have some gelato (again) from Quinto’s. Alessandro recommended this place and, boy was it AMAZING! One of the best gelatos I’ve had here. Afterwards, we proceeded to walk to Vatican City. It seemed like a far walk, but it was really only 20 minutes. In the meantime, we took in all of the beauty we saw from the streets.


Do we turn sinistra or destra?


The Vatican was magnificent. We couldn’t get a ticket to go inside the Sistine Chapel, but we visited the square and prayed for a while. It was pretty neat to know we were in the same vicinity as the Pope, which by the way is a really cool dude!


The Pope is there!



Europe_2017_AC-357We’re starving again. I made a promise to myself that I would have as much pasta as I could in Italy, and so I did. We yelped and googled places to eat on our way back, but struggled to find a good place to not waste our money and end up leaving another bad review. We realized we had to be careful when picking our places to eat. Fortunately, God was on our side and gave us a blessing. We found a small food spot where they handmade the pasta and served it to you. My life was changed after this. I couldn’t believe how a place as beautiful as Rome held this much good food. *Applause*

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Processed with VSCO with c1 presetWe walked back to the city center and something caught my eye. I noticed an open door with a purple light in the room when we were walking to the Vatican. I noticed it again while we were going back. I said to myself, “When is the next time we’ll be here? What if whatever is in this place isn’t here when I come back? Where is my spontaneity right now?” So we entered this small empty lounge. It had a bar and some tables. There were three men there and we ordered some beers. Two guys were rehearsing music. The best part? It wasn’t really that Italian sound we expected to hear. It was more folk like, almost country.  They were playing some American country sounds while singing in Italian. Honestly, it was the best way to end our Roman stay. We finished our beer, caught a bus and a very expensive cab back to our place for some rest for the next city!



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