Ok, so if I tried to tell you about the whole trip in one blog, you would be reading this until tomorrow so I have decided to divide the trip into 3 blogs. Blog 1 will be about Rome, blog 2 Florence, and blog 3 Venice. This pic of me and my sis was taken on Day 1 in Rome at 11am Italy time, 5am my time, after 15 hours of flying. If you check out my facebook you can a pic of what I really felt like at this time.
I'll start off by telling you about the worst part of the trip - the 11 hour flight. Twice. I'm not a great flier even on short little trips. I've got everything working against me: I have freakishly long legs for a woman, get sweaty at the drop of a hat, and am the most impatient person you will ever meet. We left Atlanta at 7 PM and were to arrive in Rome at 11AM Rome time, or 6AM Atlanta time. I was OK til about hour 5 when the bitching ensued. Actually, I think the bitching ensued around hour 3 when dinner was being served. We were informed that we had a choice of chicken or pasta. Seeing as my mom and I were seated in the next to last row (right in front of the smelly bathroom I might add) on a gigantic plane, by the time the flight attendants got to us it was 10PM and they were out of chicken so we had to eat pasta. No so bad you you're thinking, right? Well then they announce that there will be a complimentary alcoholic beverage served with the dinner. So once again, they start back at the front and by the time they get to us we have a choice of a Goldschlagger shot or a bottle of Delta Airlines Mojito mix (sans alcohol). Lovely. I mean, why they always gotta start at the front. Wouldn't it be just as easy to alternate?? Start at the front with drinks, start at the back with dinner. Then at least everyone would get one thing they want!!! Well, after dinner, a movie I had already seen, my mom squirting mustard and spilling coffee on herself, everyone started raring back, putting on their eye masks, and falling asleep. I would like to ask you, blog-fans, how can people do this?? I tried everything including drugs to fall asleep but I just cant sleep at a 75 degree angle with a pillow the size of a postage stamp. It can't be done!! So I started a cycle of sitting for a half hour and then walking around the plane for a few minutes to relieve the unbearable cramping in my freakishly long legs. I continued doing this for the next 6 hours until we were finally released from the hell that was Delta flight 7364. And don't even get me started on how long it took us to get off the plane after being stuck in the reject seats in the bathroom.
This blog is already too long and I haven't even begun to talk about the actual trip yet. Perhaps I should have divided the blog into 4 parts and given the plane its own section. Oh well, I'll hit up the highlights of Rome.
On Day 1, we were exhausted by the time we got to the hotel so we promptly crashed on our beds after waiting only an hour in a small room while a mean Italian man readied our rooms. After a quick nap we headed out for some pizza and wine and to the Colisseum and Roman Forum for a little sight-seeing. At the Colisseum there were a few questionably drunk gentlemen dressed as Roman gladiators hanging around the front so Jay (my brother-in-law) rightly exclaims "I think I feel a blog picture coming on!!" I really wanted a pic but after waiting in line behind dozens of four year olds and hearing that these highway robbers were charging 5 euro ($6.50) per picture, I gave up. Sorry guys.
Day 2 we did a whole lot of walking and our dogs were barking. Woof....woof. We saw the Pantheon and a whole lotta churches and other touristy stuff. Most importantly, I ate a lot of salami and cheese.
Day 3 was the best day. We walked to the train station and rode to the Vatican, which apparently is about 10 miles outside of Rome. We were scheduled to take a tour, which made me slightly nervous because during the previous two days walking around Rome independently I had seen many, many tour groups and they were all wearing some sort of embarrassing flare. Whether it be a neon orange bandana, a bright yellow shirt, or some sort of electronic headgear, they all screamed "Look at me, I am a loser!" Needless to say, I was very happy when we arrived and learned that we did not have wear anything other than what we came with. I failed to mention that before we arrived for said tour, we waited in a line longer than one for a Star Wars movie on opening night (I mean it wrapped around 3 walls of the Vatican) and every 10 feet or so passed by a different African trying to sell us some sort of fake designer bag, belt, or sunglasses. Well, our tour guide was a Brit named Agnes and she was awesome. I wish she could read the blog so that she could see her shout out. Not only was she extremely knowledgable, but in my mind most importantly, extremly sarcastic. She was very funny and said things like "jolly good." We had to be in line at 11:30AM and the tour was over at 5 so by 5, our dogs were barkin'. Woof....woof.
We headed over to a little pizzera to sit down and rest the dogs for a bit while having some drinks when I decided that I had to have a few knock-off purses. My sister and Jay being the masters of stragtegery that they are, helped me finagle my money into the correct pockets of my pants, and taught me the basics of haggling. I approached ready to buy 2 bags for no more than 25 euro. I found a guy with both the bags I wanted in his little display and got started. I got him down to 30 euro for both bags, but I was only willing to pay 25 so I started to walk away certain that he would come running after me offering to sell me the bags for 25. Well......he didn't. My sister and I couldn't believe it and didn't know what to do. So we cleverly hid behind some other purse stand and re-strategerized. We decided to approach his neighboring purse hawker (literally 3 feet to his right) and start the bidding. We got him down to 35 euro and he wouldn't go any lower. We tried to explain to him that his friend said he would take 30 so there is no way we were going to buy from him. As you can imagine, I'm pretty sure he had no idea what we were talking about with the HUGE language barrier. I mean he was negotiating by typing numbers into his cell phone because we couldn't even understand what numbers he was saying. Just damn. So....we left him and stepped 3 feet back to the left and began again with the first guy. After a few minutes, a new guy who seemed to be in charge came over, uttered something in the click-click language, and next thing I know, I have 2 bags for 25 euro. Job well done. We headed back to the train station fully loaded with pizza, wine, and knockoff designer bags.
Those are the highlights of Rome. I'll blog again about Florence in a few days after I recuperate from writing this blog. So sorry if you fell asleep somewhere during Day 1. I guess I'm not a very good summarizer. You can check out the pics from the trip on my facebook if you so desire.