Just came back from a Rome Excursion with my class. [Three days, non-stop walking]. It was exhausting but AMAZING.
Day 1: Walking tour from the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, to the Colosseum and Ancient Roman Forum. Half way into the walk, it started pouring down rain, but that didn’t stop us.
Day 2: All about the Vatican, but one day was definitely not enough time. A few of us decided to go on the guided tour, which took us all through the museums of various Roman art, both ancient and contemporary, then throughout the Sistine Chapel — photos weren’t allowed in there :( Lastly our tour guide took us through St. Peter’s Basilica, which is massive (fitting between 60k-90k people), the elaborate Baroque style art is unbelievable.
Me in front of/behind the Vatican St. Peter’s Basilica School of Athen’s by Raphael
Day 3: Free day! On the last day, we were allowed to explore freely. As I mentioned in my pervious blog, I’m very shy and it’s often hard for me to break out of my shell. That being said, I was a little worried about the free day because I did not want to be alone in Rome. All the other students in my program are nice, and I’ve started to SLOWLY befriend a few— baby steps— so fortunately I was able to go exploring with a few peers. We went to the Roman Forum to see the ruins more in-depth/ up close and personal, then we had a great Italian lunch.
———————————————————–Ancient Roman Forum——————————————————–
Afterwards, however, everyone wanted to go different ways and long story short, I ended up on the metro by myself. I was scared at first, but I got where I was going without a problem. I went to the Trevi fountain because I really wanted to make a wish. It was extremely crowded but I made my way through, tossed one coin to return to the Eternal city, and took the corniest $5 photos ever. I had planned to go to a particular catacomb museum after but didn’t know where it was located.
After getting lost while exiting the metro, being on the wrong metro line, freaking out, then calming myself down with gelato, time was up and I was unable to make it to the museum. At first I was kind of embarrassed that I couldn’t navigate my way there, but once I thought about it a bit more I was somewhat proud. I got lost and found my way back in a metro station for the first time, and in a foreign county, all on my own. Through that experience, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more independent in my life. It was scary, but fulfilling; it reassured me that I can handle more than I think I can.
Looking back, part of the reason I remained lost for longer than necessary was because I barley know any Italian, therefore I was nervous to ask for help (plus speaking in general scares me). I often confuse Italian with Spanish, I know Spanish kind of well (intermediate level) and the languages are similar in some instances, but also very different, especially the accents. I don’t think I could ever sound Italian, the accent is really hard for me to get down. Many people in Italy, like most places, speak English, but not everyone. Fortunately for me, English is a universal language. However, I feel that knowing the native language of the country you’re in is not only beneficial for you when people don’t know English, but respectful to the people who live there. I’v been trying to learn Italian by studying on the Duollingo App. I started this prior to arriving in Italy (about 2 months), but I recommend using other sources on top of it and/or starting even a year earlier because getting to the useful words and phrases in the App takes a while. Most of the things I know how to say are not “need to know”.
A Few Phrases You Should Know:
- Dov’è il bagno?– Where is the bathroom?
(It has been very difficult for my to find public restrooms when walking around town, and don’t forget they often cost about 1 euro.)
- Buongiorno– Good morning
- Buona sera– Good Afternoon
- Buonanotte– Goodnight
(It is common and polite to greet people when entering/exiting restaurants and stores.)
(School work in progress…No, really.)