So, we hopped on a plane to Rome. I mean... you gotta see Rome, right? We took a long weekend so we could enjoy the sites and had our first experience with the discount adventure that is known as Ryanair. Let me tell you, Ryanair may be cheap, but it's complete pandemonium trying to get on the plane and get to your seat. Nevertheless, we got there in once piece.
Our first major stop was the Colosseum, which is conveniently just outside a metro station. We waited in line for a while, but it was a good time to plan the rest of our adventures with a map and Kira's trusty app on her phone. For those who haven't been to the Colosseum, some of the walkways in the outer section of the building (between the center and outer wall) are very museum-like and have artifacts to look at.
We also discovered that Rome is the capitol of FREE WATER! Everyone insists on bottled up in Bruxelles, but being from the US, we're kind of used to grabbing water wherever from a tap. In Rome, there are spigots all over the city with continuously flowing water, and even some water right inside the Colosseum. This is probably to cut down on emergency room costs for dehydrated tourists in the Mediterranean heat.
On our way out, we saw some "Roman soldiers" who didn't want me to take this photo since I wasn't paying. Ha. Like that's going to stop me. Then we walked on to a nearby part area with lots of ruins, including the Roman Forum!
Okay, all this rubble below is the Roman Forum. It used to be the big commercial center of Rome. As you can see, it is now aesthetically pleasing piles of stone.
Can't remember what exactly this building was. Something to do with cultural heritage, I think?
After a good deal of wandering, we decided to go to a sit-down restaurant to eat. It was tasty, though our favorite pizza came from a little shop near the Vatican.
At Trevi Fountain, we threw in some coins and got gelato. This was at least the third gelato for some of us. And unfortunately for Andrew, it was more like half a gelato...
We stopped by the Pantheon, but it was late and the building was closed.
If the Pantheon isn't available, you can always sit outside. Like the Spanish Steps. Those are outside. We sat on those.
Kira and Lindsey also fell pray to a street scam at the top of the steps. A guy handed them both some roses insisting, "For you! Because you are pretty!" After they were holding them, he started demanding money. When they didn't produce enough, he grabbed a few of the flowers back, leaving them each with one. They weren't to pleased.
Fast-forward to the next day, and we found ourselves in the Vatican museum. Quite the impressive structure all around, and full of artwork. We DID see the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but it's prohibited to take photos in there.
We also wandered into St. Peter's Basilica. It was quite lovely and HUGE.
We paid the five euro to climb the stairs to the top of the dome. The closer we got to the top of the dome, the narrower and more slanted the passage became until you found yourself walking on level steps with diagonal walls. I don't have any pictures from the observation deck ready, though.
In the evening, we went back to the Colosseum to see it lit up a chill.
After going to church and relaxing for a bit on Sunday, I broke from the group to get some photos of the Basilica at night.
Monday, Kira's flight left early, but the rest of us didn't need to be at the airport until the afternoon. Since we had time, we went back to the Pantheon to see the inside.
When we got back to Bruxelles, the clouds and light were pretty interesting. They reflected off of this huge glass building in the best way, and everyone was good enough to stop for me to take some more pictures.