When in Roma…

by Jane Moneypenny

There’s something incredibly thrilling about being in Europe during the Europe Cup. Even more exciting is being in Rome during an Italy-France semifinals game! Getting out of Athens boosted my mood a little. When we arrived in Rome, I felt completely better, because let’s be honest, it’s ROMA! It’s everything I ever read, studied and dreamed about. The food is delicious, the little winding streets, the gelato, the art… it’s impossible to ever describe it and capture the full essence of Italy.

We stayed at a great little hostel called RetRome owned by 2 guys. It was like staying at a friend’s apartment that loves retro and vintage decor. We even had a Murphy bunk bed! On our last night, the hostel owner Moti took us out to an Irish pub to watch the game. What a different experience! So many different cultures mixing together – people from New Zealand, Australia, England, US, Russia, etc. I’m going to be a dork and admit I’ve always wanted to be in Europe for a big soccer game and it definitely lived up to my standards.

As for the other amazing sites of Rome, I was astounded by the sheer magnitude of every corner. The Colosseum was surreal, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps… but I think my favorite will always be the Vatican. Religious or not, it’s impossible NOT to appreciate the breadth of the architecture and art, especially in St. Peter’s. Incredible.

We made an attempt to get to the catacombs in the south of the city, but it was far out the way and we wandered for a bit and realized it was closed by the time we made it there. It was worth the trip just to see Appian Way, the street that is the basis for “All roads lead to Rome.” The sun was out after a light rain and we walked along where the chariots of ancient Rome used to go while peeking at the giant villas and rolling fields. We made up elaborate stories of a giant Italian family inviting us to dinner and meeting our future rich Italian husbands.

It was sad to leave Rome, but hopefully Florence will live up to its reputation. Part of me still seems to be unsettled, as if waiting for some “aha!” moment that has yet to arrive – like I’m looking for something, but I have no idea what…

*Until then, my apologies on the lack of replies to everyone’s blog! My Google Reader looks insane and I’m scared to even open it up to catch up.