September 13, 2011

Today we arrived in Rome! ITALY! SQUEE! After a wild cab ride from the airport, we met our apartment contact, Felipe, in Rome. He was waiting at the apartment for us. We got inside and it looked just like the pictures on the website, only, well, maybe a little worn and older. Except for the scary/stinky small shower upstairs and the cold water problem, it was a great place to stay. It was right in front of the Campo de Fiori where there’s an outdoor market everyday.

Who knew there were so many kinds of sun dried tomatoes?

After a brief touch up to ourselves (and a wee nap for Sarah and Cynthia), we wandered over to the market to check it out. It was just around lunchtime, so a lot of produce was already gone, but it was still such a colorful, fun place to wander around. After a bit, looking at all the food made us hungry, so we sat at one of the outdoor ristorantes, Sloppy Sams, for a bite. The food was ok; the sitting was great. We people watched for a while and then took off revitalized to roam around Rome.

We headed away from our temporary home and wandered in and out of stores of all kinds. We were on our way to learning that cobblestones were not our friends, but while our feet were still happy with the streets and walking, we noticed a little trend: building, statue, ruin, building, fountain, statue, ruin…well, you get the picture. Certainly not what we see when we talk walks here in Illinois!

All parks need a random statue, right?

Hey! Look! Ruins!

More ruins, same area.

And a little more ruins...













Walking around, seeing that much history in your face is really and truly amazing. I’m really surprised I didn’t run into an ancient ruin…or a person…because I went between looking at sights, looking at the cobblestones so I didn’t trip and looking up at the amazing things I was seeing. Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was dirty in a lot of places. Yes, it was filled with tourist traps and dark alleys you wouldn’t want to be caught in alone. But, it was beautiful and I really want to go back…possibly more than once…because there’s still so much to see!

We ended up at the Pantheon. (How many times have you said that sentence?) That’s when I called my parents to let them know I’d made it (with the time change, they had just gotten out of bed) and to tell them where I was standing! It still seemed (and still seems) terribly unreal. Right across from the Pantheon was a nice fountain. You can actually drink the water coming out of the spouts…which is very handy when you’re hot and starting to dehydrate.

See? Fountain!

A closer look at that spout I mentioned.

The Pantheon

There it is again!

Still outside...does Swiffer even make dusters that reach that far?

Pretty ornate for a plain stone building on the outside.

We'd be mad if someone left that hole in a ceiling like that today!

I was really impressed with the building…and then we went inside and I was like, “Outside?! Pfft! You should see in here!” We looked for the holes in the floor that drained the rain when it came in from the hole in the roof. It looked like a salt and pepper type opening…two small holes for that whole building. It was very pretty.

About two blocks from the Pantheon, two streets over, Piazza Navona was waiting for us. There are three fountains in Piazza Navona. We kept coming in by the middle one, but you come in any way and end up by one of the fountains. The one that I call the first one was empty until the last time we went to Piazza Navona. The fountains, like all we saw, are really amazing and I still can’t get over how you can just go up and fill your water bottle and it’s ok to drink. I’m pretty sure there’s not a local water source I’m comfortable doing that with, so you can see where I might be a little amazed.

The cool way to get water.

Still in the middle...still amazed...

Sant'Agnese in Agone in Piazza Navona Rome - the first of many churches.

Here's the third fountain...or the second one with water in it that day.













We went back to the apartment and hung out for a while, then wandered across the bridge to Trastevere to look around for some restaurants we’d scoped out for dinner that night (Sarah’s birthday). Here’s the view from the bridge:

Look! More water! Don't drink this one though.

After finding one of the places, we went back to the apartment to meet Beverly who was just arriving. We went back out and ended up going to La Quercia on the recommendation of the apartment guy (I had the carbonara and am still thinking about it). We had a great time and a great meal…and hopefully Sarah had a fantastic birthday…her first day in Rome (following pic courtesy of Cynthia)!

Happy Birthday! And thanks for sharing that dessert!

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