Monday, August 8, 2011

Italy Trip Part 2

So we spent a few days in Rome. One of the coolest things about this trip was that we were given time to wander around the cities we were in on our own. After spending so much time going on school trips where the most "wandering" we go to do was inside of a museum or zoo, getting to explore cities in foreign countries was a freeing experience. We were sent out on our own to find lunch see sights we would never have found otherwise. Not to say that there weren't a lot of organized activities becuase we were kept plenty busy.

This huge bologna was pointed out to us by our tour guide, a professor from Trinity College. (Henceforth referred to as Dr. Texas.) This was nearby a little panini shop that my friends and I found and had lunch at. It was another little hole in the wall place, with great sandwiches at great prices. Once when we were eating on the bench nearby an Italian woman came by and asked us where we bought them and we directed her over to the shop. It felt like we were natives. Except for the lack of a common language part.
 I want a tree on my roof.
This was a beautiful "country" estate that we visited.
 The ceilings were painted with scenes from the story of "Cupid and Psyche". Something I've found interesting, mainly because of my love of fairy tales is that there's a strong similarity between the Greco/Roman story of "Cupid and Psyche" and the Norwegian fairy tale "East of the sun and west of the moon". There are a number of fairy tales that appear throughout cultures but I'm always amazed to see the universality presented in such a way.
 The rooms upstairs in the estate were painted using perspective so that the walls looked like windows.
 While exploring Rome my friends and I found a bakery that made this adorable cake. I had to take a picture. Also, at some point my friend Greg bought a cane. I don't remember quite what day that was but I know it was during a similar wandering around period.
And there are the kitties! Look how cute they are!

So we went to a lot of museums that I don't remember the names of. These next few pictures are from one of those. I'm just going to post what pictures I have and let you go "ohh" and "ahh".

 We did a group picture in front of the finger with us all pointing up.
 It's Romulus and Remus. (Learning that story made me have one of those moments where you feel really stupid. Suddenly J.K. Rowling's naming of Remus Lupin made a lot more sense.)
 The view from the museum. So pretty right?

So we didn't all have to leave the museum at the same time. My friend Grace and I went back to the hotel on our own after some other people had left. We then got pretty lost. And had to pee. We finally found a restaurant that let us use their bathroom, and turned out to be near the hotel.

 The sink from that bathroom. Again, why can't American [blanks] be as pretty as Italian [blanks]. In a twist of fate that I still find funny, that restaurant turned out to be where our group had dinner reservations for that night.
 After dinner a group of us went with Dr. Texas to explore Rome after dark. We saw this cute little three wheeled car. (If you look closely you'll see that the back has only one wheel.)
 Dr. Texas took us to this fountain.
 We stopped by the Jewish part of Rome and had a traditional Jewish artichoke dish (it was like potato chips with artichoke leaves instead of potatoes. It was amazing!)
 Since we were going to the Vatican the next day, getting to visit the Jewish section of Rome seemed nice, like a reminder that even in the holiest of places we can all live in peace. Getting to see this whole area was especially meaningful to me because the first night of Passover occurred later in the trip, so I missed out on my family Seder.
Also we were in Rome the week leading up to Easter (and during Palm Sunday) so visiting the Jewish parts of town during some of the most holy days of Catholicism has a sort of fun irony to it.

So one fun little anecdote before I sign off for today. At dinner that night Greg initiated Grace into the Pen Fifteen club. He wrote it in huge letters on her arm. With a sharpie. Instead of a ball point pen. Because he genuinely thought sharpies washed off and ball point pens didn't. Did I mention this was the night before we went to the Vatican? Luckily Grace was able to wash it off with a lot of scrubbing.

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