After Munich, I spent the next 3 or 4 days of my fall break in Rome, Italy. I would be meeting 4 of my friends from CAPA there. In fact, I didn’t have any particular desire to go to Rome and probably wouldn’t have gone during my time abroad if not for my friends. My flight got in late Thursday night and after finding the train, I took the last one into the city. Unfamiliar with how the public transport worked in Rome, I decided to walk the hour or two to the AirBnB where I met my friends. We exchanged stories of what we had done on break so far and then headed to bed so we could wake up and visit the Vatican the next morning. We were in for bit of a surprise.
When we all got up in the morning, we realized two things: 1) that we had no breakfast and 2) it was raining. It wasn’t just raining though, it was absolutely pouring. Eventually, three of us decided to run down the street to bring back some McDonald’s breakfast food. We attempted to hop between doorways to stay out of the rain, but we were drenched before we made it halfway down the street. After breakfast and a little bit of waiting around, the sky cleared up and we walked the couple of blocks t stand in line to see the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel. While we were waiting in line however, the rain clouds came back for round 2 and we got absolutely drenched for the second time that day. Luckily it only rained for most of the 2 hours we spent waiting in line, so we had some time to dry off in the sun. We eventually made it inside and got to see some beautiful statues and artwork in the Vatican museum. The Sistine Chapel, while pretty, was a little underwhelming. I expected it to be bigger, but I’m still glad I got to see it and the whole museum as well. After the Vatican, we got lunch at a sandwich shop (they have VERY good sandwiches in Italy) and set out to check more tourist attractions off our list. That night we visited the Spanish steps, the Trevi Fountain, and the Altare della Patria. We then made our way back to our AirBnB and went to bed to prepare for another day of sightseeing.
The next day, we woke up early and made our way to the Colosseum and the nearby Roman ruins. The Colosseum might not look like much, but it was a very cool experience to go inside and walk around. There was even a military parade for Italian Unification day, so fighter jets flew over the Colosseum trailing the colors of the Italian flag which was incredible to see. After the Colosseum, we spent a good 2 or 3 hours walking around Palatinate hill and the Roman forum. After a lunch break at a restaurant, walked to the Pantheon and spent some time in there. After th, the group split up. Since my friends had been in Rome a day before I got there, they had already seen St. Peter’s Basilica, so my friend Joe and I left the group to go. We spent some time in St. Peter’s Square until the line got shorter, went through security, and entered possibly the most beautiful building I’ve been in in my entire life. I can’t really put it into words, but St. Peter’s Basilica really took my breathe away. It was just so huge and ornate and pretty. We spent way longer than I had expected to walking around and just looking at everything. After we left, we met back up with the group and sat down for a pasta and pizza dinner. Afterwards, we went back to our AirBnb where I managed to get 2 or 3 hours of sleep before waking up for my 6 am flight back to London.
I really enjoyed my time in Rome. It was so much different from both Munich and London in that you can have ancient ruins right next to modern buildings, whereas in Munich a good number of the older buildings were bombed, and in London they were either destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 or in the blitz. It was also an interesting experience for me because it was the first time I ever visited a country where I did not speak a bit of the language (I was proud of myself that I thanked a shopkeeper Italian on my last night in the city). It made me appreciate the time that I spent learning German and the time that many other people in Europe and the world spend learning English. I did not have many expectations for Rome, but it completely surpassed them. I think that I could study abroad in Rome, but if I did I would absolutely spend some time learning Italian!