Thursday, November 20, 2014

When In Rome (Day 2)

Ah, day two. After being up for almost 48 hours, sweet sleep was welcomed.  I woke up on day two feeling energized, renewed, and ready to explore everything Roman.  While getting ready for the day, I encountered a small issue, though.  My flat iron, my most prized "getting ready for the day" tool, decided to up and blow up on me. Warned about the higher voltage in Europe, before I left, I ordered one of the nicest, priciest voltage converters I could find off of Amazon.  I mean, a girl's got to have good hair, so having a converter was a must.  Excited to make myself look presentable [remember, I was coming off of a 48 hour stint of wearing the same clothes, makeup, and having my hair on the top of my head], I plugged my flat iron into my voltage converter and proceeded to start putting my makeup on.  A few minutes into creating my masterpiece, complete with under eye bag coverage, I hear what sounds like a light bulb popping. You know, how they sound when they go out.  I walked into the hotel room to check out where the sound came from and was greeted with the aroma of burned up electronics.  Specifically, my precious flat iron. It was a goner. No amount of CPR was bringing it back to life. Saddened, and not looking forward to any more bad hair days, I went back to getting ready, trying to figure out how in the world I was going to make this mop of hair I have look decent.  The answer came in the form of a pony tail for three days. Three days of selfies with pony tails. :/ #bummer

Now, we've all heard the phrase "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," but I never really realized until day two just how true that statement is.  I travel a decent bit, but I will be the first to say that I am truly a spoiled American girl.  So, when I went down to the continental breakfast area only to be greeted by the looks of sweet bread, deli meat, cheese, and pomegranate juice, I must say, I reacted like a typical American.  [Insert nose in the air here.]  Where are the eggs, Fruit Loops, orange juice, toast, bacon...OATMEAL?!?  Breakfast was hands down my least favorite meal of the day during my time in Rome.  Every morning I would walk down hoping for something different that day only to be met with the same sweet bread, deli meat, cheese, and pomegranate juice as the day before. 

Never fear, though! I wasn't going to let breakfast get me down. It was day two, I had energy, and we were going to see the Colosseum and Forum! 

I was in awe of the Colosseum.  Built between 70 and 80 A.D., to think that the Romans were able to create something so architecturally advanced and beautiful is amazing.  The Colosseum
was built by the emperors of the time with the purpose of providing entertainment and enjoyment to the Roman people.  It could hold approximately 70,000 people. Think about it. AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, holds around 80,000 people, yet the Colosseum was built almost 2000 years ago!  It was used for gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, executions, reenactments of famous battles, and for dramatic mythological performances.  Here are a few pictures I took while I was there.  Obviously, time has not been kind to the Colosseum, and it is definitely showing its age, but for being almost 2000 years old, the structure itself is in amazing condition.  The Romans were impressive architects!


After visiting the Colosseum, we continued our tour moving into the Roman Forum which was directly next to the Colosseum. The Forum is an area that houses the ruins of ancient Roman governmental buildings and during its heyday was the center of Roman life.  It was the place of elections, trials, and commercial business.  Today, in 2014, it looks something like this.

These doors are over 2000 years old! Talk about standing the test of time. AND, the lock still works!

Following our morning tour of the Colosseum and Forum, with extremely loud bellies [remember breakfast?], we were released for seven hours of on foot free time.  First stop, FOOD!  Now, let's talk about the food in Rome. You have two choices, pizza or pasta. Or, pizza and pasta. That's it.  Seriously.  Honestly, though, I was so hungry that day, that they could have given me dirt to eat and it would have been delicious. 

Maybe it's my lame sense of humor, but when reading over the menu, I came across this and it gave me a chuckle. Fish...poisson? Maybe that's why I don't like fish. Oh, and did you notice the third menu item?  Grilled dory fish?!? Don't eat Dory! She's special!

After refueling, we headed out in pursuit of the Galleria Borghese which was supposed to be somewhere on the grounds of Villa Borghese.  Villa Borghese is like Rome's version of Central Park. It's huge, beautiful, and full of winding pathways for you to get lost and turned around on. Did I mention that the walk there was uphill and full of stairway after stairway?  Did I mention it was miles away?  Miles and miles of uphill, stair filled treachery.  Let me be the first to say, there was absolutely no guilt in the carbs I ate that day at lunch. Nor was I guilted by inhaling that treasure of a Snickers I found in a remote store while perusing the streets. Getting back to Villa Borghese, though, it was seriously a beautiful park,  complete with a fabulous view of the city.  Here is the Galleria Borghese. It houses many famous pieces of art.  The Borghese namesake can be found all over Rome. Consider them the Kennedys or the Trumps, if you will, of Rome. 
Galleria Borghese
During those seven hours on foot, I'm pretty sure we traveled anywhere from 6-8 miles; who knows, maybe more. If there was a place to see, we saw it.  If there was a street to get lost on, we did it.  We ended our free time with dinner at a fabulous restaurant, Grazia & Graziella. 

Finding our way to the restaurant proved to be another treacherous walk filled with wrong turns and less than helpful directions.  We did meet a kind man who offered to walk us to our location. Being the cynic that I am, that made me nervous.  He walked with another girl we were with and they just carried on a conversation like long lost friends. I, on the other hand, lingered behind planning my course of attack the minute he detoured us in to some dark, abandoned alley.  Maybe I need to stop watching so much Criminal Minds.  I just knew we were going to be his next victim, bait for his sick mind, and end up on the nightly news.  Much to the demise of my over active imagination, just as I had finalized my "crotch shot, boobie twist, and run for your life" plan of attack, he safely dropped us off at our desired location.  #thankthelord  

At Grazia & Graziella, the sign outside boasted they have the best staff in Rome.  We decided to put them to the test, and let me tell you, they did not disappoint! What nice people they all are!  It honestly was the first time in days that I felt like I might be at home.  The people were friendly, you didn't feel like they were judging you or sizing you up as a stupid American, and the food was delicious!  Grazia & Graziella is a must visit when in Rome, but I suggest waiting until you're feeling a bit homesick.  You will leave feeling renewed, as if you just visited a restaurant close to home.

Day two was great.  When I walked back into my hotel room, my calves were tight, my memory card full, and my eyes very heavy.  After a quick FaceTime with Chloe and daddy, it was off to bed for me.  After all, I must be reenergized for my meeting with the Pope!

Till next time,


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