I couldn’t think of anything witty or clever to name this post. So it’s straight and to the point.
Italy was great! Though a little stressful at times, I really enjoyed myself. I ate 4 pizzas and drank 7 cappuccinos. I also had the best pasta I have ever had in my life and some really great wine. Of course, I took photos of all of these, but I cannot upload them while on the ship. I hope to do this while I am in Croatia!
OH! Speaking of which, we are no longer going to Istanbul.
A moment of silence.
Unfortunately with the migrant situation, ISE and the University of Virginia deemed it unsafe for us to travel there. So that means Hello, Croatia!
We are going to Dubrovnik, and for those of you who are keeping up with popular TV, that is where Game of Thrones is filmed. I have heard “winter is coming” so many times now, I am actually waiting for it to snow.
So back to Italy.
My first day I had a field lab with my Art History course. We took a bus into Rome where we visited Church de San Louis, the Pantheon, and Church de San Clements with a pizza and gelato lunch in between. I wont bore you with the history and art details, but if you want, I am now an expert on these places and would love to talk Roman architecture and art with you! (Emily…?) 🙂
The next day I met up with some friends and did a day trip to Florence! Unfortunately I spent a little bit more money than anticipated but it was well worth it. We took the fast train there and the Italian countryside is GORGEOUS. I took some gopro footage and hope to share it in the near future. I liked Florence more than I liked Rome. It was cleaner and not as touristy. I mostly just walked around and took it all in. The Duomo is incredible. I wasn’t able to go inside but the outside was unlike anything I had seen before. It was also really nice walking around Florence because you could always orient yourself from where the top of the church was. You could see it from almost anywhere in the city. We had a three hour dinner that night which was very Italian of us. I drank some delicious wine and got some much needed wifi.
I have a confession.
I think I am addicted to social media. I miss it on the boat. All I really want to do is check my facebook. This is terrible, but it is the truth. Now you know.
After dinner, I took the train back to Rome by myself while my friends stayed in Florence (sorry mom and dad).
Our boat actually docked in a port town called Citiaveccia, which was an hour outside of Rome. I met up with a lot of SASers on that train to our port and we all walked back to the ship together. I didn’t get into my bed until 2am; it was a long day.
The next day I had a field program called Highlights of Rome. I got up around 6am to meet the bus to take us back into Rome. Yes, I got 4 hours of sleep. Needless to say I was a little crabby. We got to the Vatican first. I was initially really excited for the Vatican. However, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Because I was in a tour group, I thankfully got to skip the line that wrapped around the city (country, actually) which was really nice. However, once they start to let people in, it becomes mad chaos. I was informed that around 20,000 people see it PER DAY. I can believe it. Touring the museum got, unfortunately, long and slow. We mostly just shuffled around for 2 hours while straining to listen to our tour guide with a thick Italian accent. The Sistine Chapel was phenomenal! I really enjoyed looking at the wall and the ceiling. I also really enjoyed watching people get yelled at by the guards by trying to sneak pictures. After we got to go into St. Peters Basilica. I was really disappointed we didn’t get a lot of time in there. I saw the Pieta, the body of Saint/Pope Paul (the some number), as well as the tomb of Saint/Pope John Paul II. The church itself was unreal and I would have loved to stay for mass. Of course the Pope was in the US at the time, so we could have planned that better.
After getting lunch we went to the Colosseum. This was really cool and was really nice to have a tour guide. He told us a lot of information that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Though it was really touristy, I would highly recommend going.
I left my field program then and went to go find WiFi. I had plans to meet up with a couple of friends to stay in a hostel.
Let me tell you something about Rome.
It makes absolutely NO SENSE.
Following a map is almost impossible because the streets are rarely marked, and there are these squares that have 7 streets going in all different directions. I played a game called “follow the native.” No one abides by traffic laws and people cross the street whenever and where ever they please. the cars will just swerve around you like nothing is happening. I didn’t dare cross unless I was with someone who knew what they were doing
I wandered around for a bit trying to find myself on the map as well as wifi to contact my friends. I finally ended up asking someone as well as sitting in a restaurant and ordering some bruschetta just to use their wifi. Of course I had wandered the wrong direction and was on the opposite side of town from where I needed to be. It took my another hour to treck through Rome again to find a mcdonalds in the train station to text my friends to come get me.
I was not a happy camper.
I finally got to the hostel with them and immediately went to get gelato. That night we stayed up, frank a bottle of wine and talked for hours. It was such a long day filled with lots of wandering but hey, thats what i’m doing: ROMEing around the world.
Days 3-6 to come!


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