(btw, this entry is longer ...because it's Rome)
Wednesday, March 14
-We wake up around 1:30 a.m this morning to head off to Rome! We're gonna see some sights, eat Italian food, watch out for the pickpocketers and do as the Romans do! As Jesse Spano (from Saved by the Bell...as if I had to explain) would say, "I"m so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...scared!"
-At 2:30 a.m., we start driving to the Frankfurt Hahn airport with our helpful guide, Susan (that's the name of the voice we have programmed on the GPS). Except Susan doesn't know that one of the roads we need to drive on is now closed, and she keeps saying, "turn around whenever possible." Oh, Susan. If you only knew the 411. Thanks to some help from the Man Upstairs, we find our way.
-We fly Ryanair, which has hard seats and the chairs don't even recline. Also, you have to pay for any snack or beverage you get. This is only the tip of the iceberg with this company. I'm just glad the pilot was sober enough to land the plane without crashing it.
-Our cab fare from the airport to the hotel was 60 euro ($75 U.S.)! What a rip! Even though these cabs are expensive, i'm still greatful we cancelled our car rental. The people out here drive crazy! These streets are so crowded! Cars pack in three-wide on one-lane entry ramp onto the freeway, they share lanes side-by-side, people are driving on the shoulders like their normal lanes, people are cutting each other off constantly and our cab driver is weaving in and out of traffic like a madman! The driving out here is something you have to see to believe. Utah drivers are great compared to these Roman-folk.
-I GOT PICKPOCKETED! I think it happened on the bus, which is overcrowded with people all up in your personal space. I didn't even notice until a few minutes after we got to the Metro station. Wanna know what they took? A little bag of nuts n' berries out of my jacket pocket. They scored big on that pull (I didn't even bring my wallet. I kept the money in my front pocket, which I've been constantly keeping my hand over).
-We get to the Metro station to buy our all-day pass (four euro each). Ther's an outdoor bar in this station, which is a bit odd. They have a sign up saying to beware of pickpockets. This sign must is their substitute for law enforcement.
-Our subway finally pulls up and we can't believe how dirty this thing is. You know how you watch movies taking place in New York City and the subway trains are all old and full of graffiti? Well, they must come here to Rome to film those scenes (fyi-I've been on NYC subways before and they are nothing like that).
-We got off at the Colosseo (Colosieum) stop and right when we walk out of the station, bam! There it is. I can't believe I'm actually in front of it! There's history all around us. We see a street vendor and end up buying gelatto from him and for a couple of minutes, we're in heaven.
-Almost all the historic sights are in walking distance. Next to the Colosieum are Ceasar's temple, the remains of the old town center and Capitol Hill. The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Camp di Fiori and Spanish Steps aren't too far away, neither.
-After a while, I stop acting so paranoid about our belongings and start to soak it all in. It's an awe-filled walk, stirring up thoughts of what it would've been like to live here in its heyday. As we start walking the streets to the Pantheon, we stop at this Italian place on the corner and order pizza (which they make rectangular and serve slices in long rectangles and fold in half). I start eating it and I'm in heaven for a good 10 minutes. This is the best pizza ever! And its just ham! I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner and I'll still want the same thing tomorrow. Good times, good times.
-The Pantheon was worth seeing, as well as the Trevi Fountain. As we are getting lost looking for the Spanish Steps, I hear someone yell my name. It's my buddy Greg! He and his ladyfriend finished their Mediterreanean Cruise and decided to stay longer and see Rome. What are the chances?
-While I'm getting us lost, we walk down alley ways full of Italian men, with their suits, hair slicked back, sunglasses on, smoking and speaking Italian. I think they're mafia. Something's going down in this alleyway, and it's gonna be big. We walk past those streets and 15 minutes later, gun shots are fired and tires are squealing (just kidding. They were just businessmen taking smoke breaks, but that's the stereotype that popped in my head. Thanks, Hollywood).-Rome is very crowded. It's full of tourists, small cars, ancient sites, dirt, mopeds, graffiti, the Pope and pickpockets who steal small bags of nuts n' berries (among other things).
-Street vendors here: what the crap? They are everywhere and some are quite pushy. For instance, when we were at the Spanish Steps (waste of time. All you see are tourists sitting on them and no steps) people would forcibly give Ang and Valeri roses and then look at me demanding money. What's up with that? I wanted to punch them all in their faces (not Ang and Valeri, but the vendors).
-We hop on the Metro, last a few stops and get off. Valeri says animals shouldn't even be subject to riding on these trains and we should just take a taxi. The ladies decide they dont want to put up with Rome anymore and want to go home tonight. I think I've seen enough of Rome, so I agree. Looking all around this city, its really old and dirty. It reminds me of when Ang and I drove around Mexico City, except we ain't got no Mexicans here.
-We got to the hotel and can't cancel the reservation, but Valeri isn't too concerned about that. We're determined to get out of here. We can't get a hold of anyone from Ryanair to change our flight, so we take another taxi to the airport.
-The airport and our struggles with Ryanair for about seven hours deserve its own entry, which Ang has already taken care of (in our family forum).
-In summary, Rome wasn't built in one day. But that's all the time I'd take to visit it. And now that I've seen it, I don't care to go back (but I would go back to Italy and see a different town, though).
-Also, we took a ton of pictures here. It was great to see all of these sights in real life.
Ang and Dan at the Trevi Fountain. Apparently, you have to turn around and toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain. They say it's because you'll make it back to Rome if you do. I think it's just a lame excuse for the locals to take more of your money.
This is the place with incredible pizza.
Ang and Valeri walking down one of the many alleyways in Rome. It was actually pretty cool walking down these.
The inside of the Pantheon. I really enjoyed this place, although it didn't have a ton to offer. Oh, and sorry the picture sucks. Can you tell that I took it? (oh, I=Dan)
Ang and Mama Stoddart eating gelato right by the Colosieum. Contrary to her facial expression, Ang and I really enjoyed it (she's just making an angry face on purpose).