Day 15

Posted by Whit Barringer , Thursday, June 14, 2007 2:26 PM

6-9-07

CT 5:33
IT 12:33

Rome in a Day.

I have a lot to say and not a lot of time to say it in.

Teri and I got up around 5:00 this morning to get ready to get on the train. I had two sandwiches to tide me over. We had a long trek from our apartment, but we made it ahead of time. We waited for the train to come in, hopped on, and headed to Rome with only one stop.
I sat with Danielle, Paulette, and Dr. Bane, which is always fun. However, Dr. Bane and Paulette had run into some trouble with a flight and some family. I can’t say exactly what, but he wasn’t happy. But we talked about playlists and journaling, and had a good time.

We got to Rome and ran our way through the crowded train station. Paulette was already flustered, and it just got worse when we could find exactly where we were supposed to be. We met up with Halley, Rachel, Megan, Natalie, Lexie, and Caitlin, who said they all had fun at Pompeii (they had gone the night before). We finally found out where we were supposed to be, after a fight between Paulette and the bus driver, and then we went on our lackluster tour of Rome.

Here’s the deal: Mr. Bush was in town. First Lady Bush wanted to go to the Vatican museum. So guess what? We didn’t get to. One whole day in Rome almost completely ruined (we had a scheduled five hours for the museum). We barely made it to St. Peter’s Basilica in time to get in. We did a running tour (ten minutes in that beautiful church – I didn’t even get to see the place where Charlemagne was coronated). Anyway, I can’t say much about it (besides the popes in all of their tombs and the relics of St. Peter). I went through the most famous church in the world in ten minutes. What can I really say?

Besides a deepfelt hatred for Bush, there’s not too much else to talk about for the most part of the day. After we left the Vatican City, we went to the gift shop where I bought a 25 Euro rosary and a 3 Euro Padre Pio medallion (look him up!). I was extremely discouraged, so I bought the rosary to cheer me up. It did a bit, but not nearly enough. We had to walk back to the bus, which was quite a ways away. We stopped at some key points (one was a cool piazza that I can’t remember the name of, but it was the racetrack for some emperor, and the stadium seats are still in the cellars of the local buildings; also, Grippa’s Pantheon, of which I have video) for maybe 10 minutes each, stopped at the Trevi Fountain so the guide could find our bus driver. Once he found him, we jumped on the bus, went about four blocks, and got off the bus at the hotel.

We met and tried to develop a game plan to fix our shattered day (or at least mine – I really wanted to go to the museum). I went to a place called L’insalata. I had a “palmito” or “heart of palm” (artichoke) salad, with goat cheese and all sorts of fresh greens. Dr. Bane had a salad with honey and nuts, and Paulette had one like mine, except with avocado and not artichoke. Danielle had a really heavy pasta. It was all good, and relatively cheap.

I then went back to the room, read a little bit of Hemingway, and passed out around 2:30.
I woke up at 5:30 and went downstairs to meet for dinner. We were supposed to meet around 5:45 and go to a place Dr. Bane and Paulette knew about. On the way there, we saw about 40 or 50 policemen (the entire police force had been covering Rome all day because of fear of riots due to our dear presidente) form lines with riot gear on, and a Bush protest rounded the corner. It was very interesting, and I have quite a few pictures. Needless to say, we agreed to tell people we were Canadian. Just a few minutes ago as I was watching television, I found out that there were actual riots and people were injured. (On the way back to the hotel from dinner, we saw a sign that said, “BOMBING FOR PEACE IS LIKE FUCKING FOR VIRGINITY.” We all thought it was great and tried to take pictures, but an off-duty policeman tore it down – off duty because of his riot gear in hand and plain clothes).

Anyway, at this place that Dr. Bane and Paulette took us too, they had 2 Euro pizza Margherrta! That’s amazing here. I had a Diavoletto, with salami, ham, and some spices. They had a four course meal for 13 Euro, but mine was 12 and I had just as much – and that included the tip.
Anyway, we went back to the hotel, went up to our rooms, ran back down, and went out to find a pub. We went to the Trevi fountain, which was fun with all of the people. We went on and found a small place with two guys who were really into it. I ordered a margarita, but it was straight tequila and disgusting. I got a water, listened to the band (had a good guitarist, but a horrible song list). We were outside talking when one of our people came out and said that it was a gay bar. I don’t know if it was a gay bar, or there was suddenly a gay crowd, but they said it was pretty funny for it to all of the sudden click. The song list, the guys who were to cute to be straight staring up at the singers, etc. The signs were all there, but we were utterly blind.

We headed back to the hotel, calling it quits. But I think… I think tomorrow will be better. A.) Bush won’t be here. B.) There won’t be anymore riots because of it (check the news for that one). C.) I borrowed a TOP 10 ROME book from Danielle, and the things that are open tomorrow look freaking awesome. We’ll see!

Off to bed!

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