Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hop on, Hop off

I don't know what it is about Double-Decker buses that makes them so amazing, but I think it has something to do with the second layer. Second layers must make everything better. Take cakes, for example, or Big Macks. I was on a Double-Decker bus for most of today and yesterday and it was a pretty cool if somewhat touristy experience.

My roommates and I decided that we wanted to see Rome but didn't want to walk anywhere. Since we couldn't find the travel channel in our apartment to do some couch-touring we decided to go to the tourist kiosk we found on our way to school and look into tour-information.

We were successful.

We bought some tickets for Open Tours, a group one of my roommates had gone with before. It was cool, though we ended up doing far more walking then I had anticipated. You see, the tickets were valid for 24 hours and you were able to get off the bus at a site to explore it from the ground. First we went to St. Peter's Basilica, which was impressive.

Even more impressive than the architecture, though, was the pizza. OMG, yum. I had zucchini and ham pizza and it was the best thing I have ever tasted. I want to have it for every meal and I totally would, but I can't find a place that makes it quite like that near my apartment and St. Peter's is very far away. But you know it was good pizza because I am actually considering working St. Peter's into my evening-route home.

We had to stop our bus tour early that day because of a protest. Luckily, they extended our tickets for another 24 hours. Score! After we got off the bus we had gelato, then went home. Gelato might be the best thing about Italy.

The next day we were even more productive. We went to the Trevi Fountain, took off our shoes and swam in it. No, that was a lie. We did toss some coins in though. According to Wikipedia, if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. Looks like I'm coming back. Wikipedia also states that approximately 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day. When I do come back, the Trevi will be my first stop. I want some of that action.

After the Trevi we had gelato. Gelato may be my new favorite food group. After the gelato, we hopped on the bus and rode to the Spanish Steps.

They were shorter than I thought they would be, but I was still glad the bus dropped us off at the top. We took a truly ridiculous amount of pictures here before we were satisfied. It was a nice view.

It started raining, not heavily, just a sprinkle, and we thought we should end our touring for the day so we broke out our trusty map and headed for a bus stop. We were on the bus when it started pouring. Did I mention it was a Double-Decker bus? The top deck has no roof. The crowd of Asian tourists around us all broke out their umbrellas, but we had left ours at home because we are from Seattle and do not fear the rain.

So we went down to the covered area of the bus and had to stand for the rest of the ride home.

I got to stand up front with the driver and had an awesome view. So ended our touristy-touring, on a slightly wet note. It was good times though, and I ate lots of gelato so I'm calling it a success.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Sound of Settling

I am blogging from my small twin bed, specifically from under the covers of my small twin bed.

"But Megan, why are you under the covers?" You ask.

I am here because it is really freaking cold in my apartment. Apparently everyone in Italy turns off their heat for the summer, and luckily we arrived after the heat went off. On the bright side, if i am ever asked the question, "would you rather freeze to death or suffocate," I now have a ready answer. Suffocate, definitely.

But I don't mean to complain. Well, maybe I do, but it totally doesn't matter. I'm in ROME!

Shall I recount my adventures getting here? Yes? Alrighty then.

No problems on the plane rides over, unless me hating being on a plane for more then 2 hours at a time is a problem. It totally is, but only for me so I'm not sure it counts. On the first flight the guy next to me ordered two jack and cokes and whimpered every time we hit turbulence. I laughed, but only on the inside because it's cruel to laugh when a big tough-looking guy is afraid of flying.

When I transferred in Philadelphia I bought a cheese burger happy-meal from McDonald's. Don't judge me. Check out my prize!

And eventually I arrived in Rome. I made my way to baggage claim and had no problems with my luggage. I knew everything had been going too well so I wasn't really surprised when I couldn't find my taxi-buddies. We had agreed to meet in front of the taxi parking, so I parked myself in a chair and waited, luggage scattered at my feet like fawning disciples. I stared at the arrivals door for maybe an hour to no avail. Then I caught a train to the Stazione Termini, where I walked what I think was a mile through the train station before I found an exit and caught a taxi the rest of the way to the Rome center.

It was a daring and independent start to my trip and it totally made me feel like a bad-ass adventurer, but I wish I could have caught a cheap shared taxi right to the Rome center's front door. I found out today that BOTH my taxi-buddies had missed their flights. Lame. I am obviously a cooler adventurer than them. It's like Indiana Jones vs. an explorer who is lame. I tried to find a lame explorer for this comparison, but entering "Lame Explorer" in Google was surprisingly ineffective.

My apartment is cool, I have 4 other roommates, Mary, Kelsey, Roxana and Natalie. Mary, Kelsey and I took a room in the front with a window. Roxana and Natalie took a room with two doors. Rooms with two doors confuse me. Anyway, our apartment rocks. I speak with authority because I have seen another group's apartment, the 9 person one, and ours is way better. Here is the first in the "pictures of my apartment" segment:

My Bedroom

See? Awesome. More pics of the apartment later.

So I am pretty much settled in. I unpacked my bag and arranged my bed and laid out my pajamas, which made me homesick because it's not something I ever do but my Mom does. I'm not sure why I did it, other then I had reached the pajama layer in my luggage and didn't want to put them in a drawer when I was planning on wearing them in an hour or so.

Speaking of pajamas, I will now put mine on. It is totally bedtime for this jet-lagged action-adventurer.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Andro a Roma!

So this will be my travel-blog. Since I know you guys will be gazing longingly at your computer screens for hours every day waiting for me to talk about what time I woke up or what I ate for lunch, I thought I had better create a blog so you don't have to wonder.

Except, you know, we'll see how often I actually update.

So I'm leaving in one week and five days, which is kind of nerve-wracking because I still have a million and one things to do, which is, like, 83333.4166 things a day. Plus an Italian final.

I have also been freaking out about packing. Those of you who know me well know that I can be kinda OCD about some things. Turns out packing for a three month trip is one of them. I have looked at a ridiculous number of packing lists online at various travel sites and I've been writing one of my own, listing everything I think I might need. It's tough cause I don't want to carry around a 50 lb. bag or anything.

Here are some things I am definitely going to bring:

A clothesline
My computer
A sleepingbag liner
My camera

Things I will not bring:

An Optimus Prime tee-shirt