Sunday, August 29, 2010

When In Doubt, Have Some Sit Time

So much walking!!! Today, Sam and I did some more sightseeing. Again, we got kind of a late start. And by we, I mean Sam got up at a normal time and had to wait for me to get up closer to noon. First we had to eat something quick and cheap, so we went to Termini Station for some fast food. We chose Mr. Panino, a kind of Italian Arby's. We took our sandwiches and sat a Basilica Di Santa Maria Maggiore to eat.

From there, we walked to the Pantheon. I had never really thought of the Pantheon as a must-see in Rome, but now I know that I was totally wrong. It's amazing! The architecture is beautiful. The dome inside has a sort of skylight that lets a beam of light shine in. Sam informed me that the building is architecturally perfect. To build something like that, even today, would be incredibly difficult because of the distribution of weight of the stone. The walls are all different colors marble, and there are religious statues everywhere. Sam and I sat in the pews for a while before moving on.

Then we went to Piazza Navona. After Trevi Fountain, I think that Piazza Navona is probably my favorite place in Rome so far. There are two beautiful fountains and a plethora of street artists selling their work. The Piazza is surrounded by restaurants with seating outside. We chose one and had some iced coffee and lemon sorbet. As we walked around the piazza after our sit-time, we saw that there was something being filmed. Sam and I decided it was probably a commercial.

After Piazza Navona, we walked a few miles, crossed the river and went to the big kahuna -- Il Vaticano. We took some pictures and considered going in St. Peter's Basilica, but decided we didn't want to stand in line. We had seen it last time we were in Italy. Unable to decide what to do, Sam and I had some sit time and discussed.

Finally, we concluded that we would go to the Temple Rome Campus and then my residence. Sam had planned this
trip under the pretenses of moving me in and, ironically, flies home twenty four hours before my residence is open to me. So, we decided that at least she could help me find the buildings. More walking....
We walked along the river and ended up in this little market. It had clothes and books and movies. I found a Roman Holiday poster that I want to put on my wall. Finally, we found Temple Rome. It's a single building about six blocks from Piazza del Popolo. We wanted to go in and perhaps peruse a school store, but it was all locked up. So, we just went to my residence.
The walk to my residence takes about 40 minutes. It mostly a nice walk, except that it gets a little iffy towards the end. But, Sam and I saw many restaurants and cafes that have the potential to be regular hang outs for me and my friends. The actually residence is, I think, two buildings connected with a courtyard. There is a doorman/security guard out front. As we were sitting and resting inside the gates, a couple of older people came out, proving that it is not just a residence for student abroad students. Real Italians live there too! So exciting!!!! Unfortunately, we cold get in to see the rooms, so, after some sit time, we headed back to campus.

We walked past campus and through Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps, where we had a much needed gelato stop. We split three scoops -- chocolate, caramel creme, and tiramisu. Once we finished, we stayed such long time that we think the waiter really started to dislike us. But we didn't care. We really needed to rest.

Then, we walked back to the hotel, showered, and ordered some cheese plates for dinner. We took a nap, saying that we would wake at eleven and go out. At eleven, we woke up, promptly decided to extend our naps, and went to sleep for the night.

I've been told that an important part of Italian culture is sitting in cafes, talking, and relaxing. Well, Sam and I certainly achieved that. If there was ever a chance to sit, we did, soaking in the atmosphere. If you asked me, its the best way to travel/sight-see. Of course, today, we also walked over ten miles, according to Google. It was tiring, but wonderful.

That said, tomorrow may have to be a relaxation day....

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