Tuesday 14th, temperature 34 degrees
Typical morning start. Got up, breakfast buffet, ate too much, drank good coffee and then came back to the room, relaxed, watched some CNN or BBC new (it was the only 2 channels in english) and got ready to head to the city.
We went to the city centre around 12, no problems to report with the shuttle this time.
Our plan was to visit Santa Maria della Vittoria but it was closed between 12 and 3:30
So we decided to visit Trevi Fountain and get some lunch so we could go back to the church when it re-opened.
We saw the Triton Fountain by Bernini in Piazza Barberini. It was so cool because no one was really even there, I was quite surprised! So we actually were able to enjoy that one a little bit more than others.
After walking a bit, we stopped and got some lunch. Mostly to get out of the heat.
We went to a ristorante. Big mistake. EXPENSIVE! But it was good. There was only one table of all italian men in there (felt like a scene from a mafia movie). The other really annoying thing about this place was that because it wasn't so busy at 2 in the afternoon, the wait staff (also all older italian men) were just standing there, pretty much watching us the whole time. Yeah that's relaxing. So that moment in Rome was definitely not one of my top moments.
Thankfully we stopped when we did for that expensive lunch because if we had went to Trevi Fountain earlier, we wouldn't have been so lucky to see the cutter!!!!!! Yess! :/
Trevi Fountain. FUCKING HELL. Insane. Definitely one of my favourite places in Rome. It's really unreal. It's amazing because as you're walking through the little side streets to get there, you suddently turn a corner and it's there right in front of you!
It's also cool because you can hear the water a little bit before you arrive and you know you're getting close. Fun!
We were at Trevi Fountain for about 10 minutes. Just relaxing and making our way through the crowds and taking nice romantic pictures in a nice safe spot, perhaps free from pick pocketers, when out of nowhere, this man gets in the fountain! And I was like "wtf man?! Is that allowed?!?!?!" Then this guy just climbs up into the fountain! "Huh!?"
So everyone is watching him, and he has this plastic bag with him, and he starts pulling things out of the bag, a towel, other things, and puts them all in a little pile away from the water. Then! He begins cutting up his stomach with a razor!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHH! It was so fucked up! No one could believe what they were seeing!
He continues to cut himself on the stomach some more, his arms, thighs, and neck. He was quite casual about it too. No jebus poses or anything. No faces or anything really to acknowledge he was doing anything actually. After he felt like he'd cut himself enough he sits down and has a smoke!
At this point it's been like 10 minutes, and no one (the police) is doing anything. There were police there the whole time, but I think they were waiting for backup, and a negociator.
Eventually about 10 police (undercover, a negociator etc) come and section off the main ground level area and make all the people move to the next level.
The negociator is pleading with this guy to come down, so the guy goes back and gets all his things, and climbs down. Everyone claps and it's all over as fast as it started.
What a weird memory. I've never really seen someone do something like that before. It really left an impression. Not really in a bad disturbed way, I'm not all freaked out about. Just strange. Not to mention, what are the odds of visiting Rome, going to Trevi Fountain when we did, and coincidently this asshole decides he's going to do that.
I asked some people at the metal bar we went that night if that happens often and they said, "NO NO!!! It was on the news! It might happen like once or twice a year!"
After we left Trevi Fountain, we went to Santa Maria della Vittoria. About a 30 minute walk.
We walk into the church, it was quite ornate (like they all are) and we walked through very slowly and quietly because it is a church and people are there praying. Waiting for you there in the front corner is this amazing statue.
This whole experience there was quite peaceful (and i don't mean it in a churchy spiritual way)
It just so quite, there's not that many tourists there and it's kinda dark and musty smelling. It just really pulls all your senses in. It was awesome.
I'm not going to go into to much detail about the sculpture, not because it's personal for me or anything, but it's nice being able to go in with your own mindset on the whole thing without being influenced from others especially if you do plan on seeing it at one point in your life ;)
After this we went back to the hotel and rested awhile (the heat really wore us out)
Around 9:30 (I think) we took the shuttle to the city centre and then we took a cab the rest of the way to get to this metal bar I found online called the Full Moon Club.
It was a bit of way from the metro or to walk plus we didn't know the area so we decided it was worth the extra money to just take a cab.
We were the first ones there. It was a weird but cool club. It's private so we had to ring a doorbell and we also got membership cards. Now we're lifetime members of the Full Moon Club. Wow...
We got our jumbo 1 L beers and relaxed a bit. People started coming in about a half hour or so after we arrived. We met some pretty nice people! Everyone was pretty black metal at this place, so they thought it was pretty cool that we were from Bergen. Ja ja...
We met this really cute couple. I can't remember their names, really hard italian names to remember. The girl could speak really good norwegian. She'd been studying it for a long time apparently and she'd been to Bergen too.
Nothing too exciting happened that night, but when we told people we were going to take a cab back to our hotel that couple offered to drive us all the way to our hotel! Saving us like 50 Euro! WOW! We had no idea it was going to be that expensive. So that was good!
Wednesday 15th 36 degrees again...
We got up at a decent hour (in time to catch the breakfast buffet before it closed at 10:30) pretty good considering we were drinking litres of beer at a time!
This day, we preplanned to be lazy in case we got really hungover. So, we just relaxed in the room and watched the news and sat on the balcony...
Around 3 we went into the city. We went to the Cappuccini Crypt. This was pretty cool. Not like a haunted tv show style crypt, it's not super super deep into the ground or anything, just a level below a church and it wasn't very big, but it was completely decorated in human bones! Search it! You can see pictures online, because you're not allowed to take pictures so I don't have any.
After the crypt, we took the metro to Piazza del Popolo. I was really dissapointed because we didn't spend a lot of time here at this point of the day because we thought we'd be coming back to have dinner in this area and to take more pictures, but this didn't happen. I have since learned my lesson: when you're there, get the pictures, see all that you want to see then, don't wait until you come back because your plans can change. That's my own travel advice when you visit an historical/big city.
We began our walk through the Borghese Gardens from Piazza del Popolo. Fuck. What a long annoying walk that was. To get to the Borghese Gallery, you have to walk through this Garden, or on normal occasions one should want to do so.
We, however, were exhausted (my legs were so weak from all the walking, and the heat), worn out from the drinking, and the heat and poor Ronny had to pee :(
We endured and walked about 40 minutes I think, it felt like hours, and finally got to the Borghese Gallery.
This used to be, for a time, a place Bernini actually lived. It was one of his cardinal buddy's mansion.
This gallery holds a lot of his art. Even some pieces he did when he was small.
And most importantly, The Rape of Proserpina. Fucking hell. What an awesome sculpture. It's funny but I love this sculpture so much for such a stupid simple reaso, his work here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rapeofproserpinadetail.JPG
Amazing, sensual, awesome. And it's 400 years old! I love that he could get away with work like this back then.
I got to see some other pretty major works here. Caravaggios, other Bernini paintings like his self portraits, but I was so satisfied seeing The Rape of Proserpina (I somehow forgot it was at this Gallery, thinking it was in Florence or something), that all the others didn't strike me like this one did.
*At this gallery, they take your bag. You're not allowed to have anything with you basically: phones, cameras, water bottles... Therefore, I have no pictures here sadly.
After the Borghese Gallery, I think I had mild heat stroke or just intense dehydration. We were wandering through the gardens trying to get back to Piazza del Popolo but I was so fucked up at this point (we were trying to eventually find a restaurant/trattoria). We somehow found this underground walkway that lead to the metro station!!!!!!!
This felt like devine intervention in my state of mind! I didn't even know Rome had these! There were shops and it was cool and no sun! I basically ran into a supermarket and bought some chocolate and sprite (they had no cold powerade). I downed that, and the chocolate and felt better almost instantly! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!
We hopped on the metro because decided to change our plans (see what i mean about my advice?) and try to find a cheaper restaurant near where the hotel shuttle bus picks us up.
This is where we find, Rosso Vivo!!!!!!!!!!! See it was all for a reason!
OH MY GOD!
This place is everything we want in an Italian restaurant!! Small, quite, casual, great atmosphere, great menu, great menu prices, and AMAZING FOOD! And it's family run, by a mom, and her two super sweet daughters. What better than to help out a Roman family of WOMEN, not men, by dropping almost $500 by the end of the week in their restaurant! (I'm not trying to be all girl-power here, but it was rare to see anything that wasn't controlled by a man here).
All I have to say is 4 words; Pasta alla quattro formaggio / Four Cheese Pasta.
I shouldn't have tried anything else the rest of the trip because everything I ordered wasn't as good as that. Next time (I hope I go back to Rome one day) I will eat this every day. haha.
Okay, now I'm seriously getting sick of writing about my trip, but it's so hard to write without putting in the details! Maybe it's boring to read, but I'll try to finish up and git 'er done!
Thursday 16th 36 degrees.
Today we didn't do much at all. Just the typical buffet get ready stuff. But we decided to just stay out of the heat today, especially considering what happened to me the day before. And I also was so fucking sick of wearing sunscreen and feeling all slimey.
We didn't go out until around 5. We visited the Pantheon, WOW. Piazza Navona and saw the Fountain of the Four Rivers. Another WOW. Then we walked back to Trevi Fountain because I wanted to see it one more time.
One other thing that sucked about being so far out of the city was that we couldn't just go out at night and see some of these things at nighttime or else we'd have to take a really expensive cab ride back to the hotel. So that was kinda sad.
After seeing all that stuff we went to our restaurant, it was yum, even though I didn't get the 4 cheese pasta.
Friday 17th, 36 degrees
Started our day the usual way. Around 11:30 we took the shuttle to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. This was spectacular but it's almost too much to see and to take in. This would have been perfect for someone like an art teacher because this place has to have over 5000 art pieces to see. It was way too much for me to appreciate everything in detail after like 3 fucking hours of hot and sweat and annoying tourists. I did of course see some amazing things, but the whole time you're walking through this place you're seeing signs leading you to the Sistine Chapel, which is actually hours and hours away as you shuffle along looking at everything.
So finally we make it into the Sistine Chapel. Again another WOW. Though again, hot, tired, sweaty, tourists and guards constantly saying "QUIET PLEASE" and "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" (because it's "suppose" to be a holy place, though I only think of $€$€$€$ the whole time i'm at the Vatican)
After the Vat. we go to Castel Sant'Angelo. And this time, poor Ronny is as fucked up as I was the day before with exhaustion and dehydration. But it was quite cool there! And it also has an amazing view of Rome from the top!
Finally, it's dinner time! ;) HA! I do care about seeing Rome, but I also love food :P And Ronny makes it to the restaurant alive! Another amazing dinner, great wine, great time with Ronny, yay Rome!
Saturday 18th, THIRTY DEGREES!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!! Someone likes us! It's our last day in Rome.
Today we visit St. Peter's Square and Basilica. All free! (there are other attractions that are free like the Pantheon which I was surprised about...) We do pay the extra €4 to go up the Cupola, and it's well worth it! Even though it was super creepy to walk up.
The view is amazing and we get great pictures.
Afterwards, you are led right into St. Peter's Basilica when you get back down. That is awesome because you do have to wait in line to get in even though it's free. So that was pleasant getting back down from there and not having to get into another line.
St. Peter's Basilica was also amazing. I can't believe they were able to build something so incredible so long ago. It actually took 125 years to build. It's also apparently built about the tomb of St. Peter (as in the bible Peter) Hmmmm ... And St. Peter is considered to be the first pope of the catholic church. Just some catholic facts.
As amazing as it all is, the whole time, I'm not thinking Hhly thoughts (but I'm not religious anyways) I'm thinking, man the church is rich. Which in my opinion is the exact opposite of what they should be. So really it's all a big contradiction of itself.
I won't get too deep into that debate but I did have to mention it, having been there and all.
We finished up at St. Peter's pretty early! Around 2 pm! So we headed back to the hotel and had some beers and relaxed on our balcony. It was awesome and well deserved. It was nice to not have to cram in a lot on the last day. A week was actually just enough time to see most of what we wanted to see without running around the city like idiots trying to get everything in on time.
We went out for dinner early this night, because we wanted to come back to the hotel with some hours left to drink on our balcony one last time. We had a lot of wine and beer left over.
So, we went to our restaurant, again, another awesome meal, and awesome time. We said our goodbyes and thank yous to the family. (I never got any of their names because none of them spoke almost any english at all!)
We got back to the hotel, drank, packed, listened to nice music, and finally passed out.
Sunday 19th - Going home.
Got up super early, had a small breakfast at the buffet, checked out, took the shuttle to the train station, had to wait about a half hour for a train, got the train to the airport, had some confusion but made it with some time to spare after checking in and security.
Flew to Amsterdam, we were almost late for our Bergen flight, had to run like Home Alone through the airport, made it in time for boarding, met up with Infernus/Roger (Gorgoroth) also taking the Bergen flight, flew to Bergen, and got home safe and sound!