Thursday, March 5, 2015

20th in Rome

Happy 20th birthday to me! For my birthday, falling on Friday the 13th, I planned to meet my sister in Rome.

ciao Santa Maria Novella

It all began the morning of my birthday on a local train to Rome. If you are confused about the concept of regional trains, they hit every medium to large train station along the way, so this was a solid 3.5 hour train ride.

I arrived in Roma Termini, essentially the most confusing train station in all of the world, and immediately discovered there was no free wi-fi in the whole dang place. This made locating my sister, flying in from London, just a tad more difficult. I eventually made contact from outside a hotel down the street, getting pleasantly heckled as I urged her to run and save me.

Despite our being exhausted from travel, we set out for coffee (duh) in the late afternoon.

first sighting of St. Peter's
We found ourselves at the top of the Spanish Steps, which has a lovely church called Trinita dei Monti that we sidestepped into.

dramatic lighting

gates to the chapel

and you can't forget the main bae (sorry)
We cheated and didn't actually walk up the Spanish Steps, but we at least walked down.

stop and stair

empty stairs, not pictured: swarms of vendors
steps & the famous Via del Corso

thrilled not to have gone up

At the bottom of the steps is the Barcaccia Fountain, from which we saw other people drinking; monkey see monkey do right?

"The Ugly Boat"

the freshest water in all of italy
exhausted from walking down the stairs

The Trevi Fountain was under construction like everything old and cool in Italy, so that was a huge bummer, but we could look at pictures on the screen of it in its full majesty, which was basically the same thing!

I actually only came for the movie
 Then we stopped by the Pantheon, which Natalie geeked out about of course #historynerd

alright it was pretty cool

what even is history
We ate too many cannoli outside a cafe overlooking this cool thing, with the most dangerous roundabout/road/patch of cement I have ever seen.There were no painted lines yet somehow everyone survived driving at 50mph?

color me impressed
We passed by the Roman Forum, another #historynerd site,

ruins and rocks

rocks and ruins

ruins rock!
rocks ruin!

Then somebody wished me happy birthday,

(or something)
And we came across this hunky dude:

this is what dreams are made of (lizzie, anyone?)
they might be giants

it was colossal!

at least I thought so
more to scale

 At some point, we ate the world's most delicious pizza, far better than what I've had in Florence so far. I guess it's true that the further south you go, the better the pizza?


you wouldn't want to be that pizza
what's a meal without coffee after?

I'm not sure what this is, but there I am, and it was outside our chosen cafe

In our hostel was the world's smallest elevator, yet somehow we still managed to fit all our bags and the hostel owner in it. Italians and their lack of personal space.

On day two, aka Valentine's Day, we went on a date with God! It was off to Vatican City for us.

rise and shine, it's Valentine's Day!

the Pope is here!!
the Pope AND my sister are here!!
the tourists are here too!!
the Pope AND the tourists!! oh wait that's us

the Basilica is guarded by saints and clouds
giving my papal speech to all my avid supporters
Following the trend of everything cool being closed, the tomb of JPII and the Pieta were closed off behind curtains because the Pope was saying Mass for and with all his cardinals the next day, so they needed a place to change. Gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.

A worker opened the curtains for no more than ten seconds, I kid you not, in which time I snapped this beauty:

ha ha, gotcha

You can see the curtains literally being pulled back closed. It was a race against time!

Of course, the inside of the Basilica was beautiful beyond compare.

much large
very tourists

such architecture

at least I wore my bowtie

 Suddenly small and insignificant.

While Saint Pope JPII's tomb was closed off, there were other tombs of popes/saints/cool people (that weren't in the crypt):

one of the Pope Innocents?

somebody else?
 Not to mention this list of the deceased popes,

ft. sister's face

sassy saint asks, what's up with these sinners?

one of the chapels probably

but I don't wanna leave

can you spot the swiss guard?

here, I'll help you out!
they think they're so cool (they are)
the Pope was probably hiding amongst the statues

St. Peter's at sunset

After spending all day with the Pope just meters away, we had had an excellent date. More of the city was seen, including yet another river, my favorite thing to see!

the feline Tiber
there's a storm coming harry

ivy-covered houses (madeline?)

On Sunday, our last day in Rome, we got up nice and early to stand in St. Peter's Square and pray the Angelus with Pope Francis!


Where is he, you might ask?

he waves hello!

 There he is!

He was so cute and lovely and waited for the crowds to finish their chants and chatter before he addressed us again. Did I mention he was so cute? We thought so.

he blessed us! we're blessed!

Afterwards, we went to Mass at Santo Spirito / Divina Misericordia right around the corner from Saint Peter's Square.

mini St Peter's
St Faustina and the Divine Mercy

relic of JPII and a gorgeous portrait

not to mention a replica of Our Lady of Fatima statue

me and my homies

It was obviously incredibly cool. This picture was taken by Natalie despite being heckled by the typical aggressive vendors. No grazie. No grazie. No. BASTA!

Lunch was eaten outside a cafe in Vatican City where we had the most sub-par cannoli known to mankind.

pretty good coffee, though
ft. my new Roman headband

Selfie with the colorful candy streets of Vatican City!

If I told you how close I was to missing my train, you wouldn't believe me. Okay stop begging, I'll tell you. 15 minutes before my train was scheduled to depart, we were waiting at some foreign metro stop. 10 minutes away, we were lost in the basement of Roma Termini. 5 minutes til, we were literally tripping up the stairs to the platforms. I basically jumped on a moving train (exaggeration). And thus ends my exciting birthday weekend in Rome!