I have a friend, who has lived in Rome, Italy, for ten years. I haven’t seen her in ages, and when she invited me to visit her and offered to show me around, I was so excited. I have never been to Rome, so how could I say no? I woke up very early on Friday morning to catch a plane to Italy, and I was off to Rome for four days.
Local Time: 9:38 p.m.
Location (Latitude, Longitude): Rome, Italy (I’m on the plane back to Barcelona)
How far did I travel this week? A lot! I flew to Rome and walked at least 30 miles touring the city of Rome.
How far have I traveled on your journey so far? This trip to Rome was my first trip out of Spain. I went to Sitges, 30 minutes south of Barcelona, the week before, but this was the first big trip.
How did I get around this week? I took a bus from the airport in Rome to the city center. From there I took the Rome Metro to my friends apartment. It was the same when I left Rome. During my stay in Rome we walked everywhere.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week? Wow! All of the ancient ruins in Rome were amazing. If I had to pick my favorite, it would be the Pantheon, a huge temple in the middle of the city. We were walking down a narrow street, turned the corner, looked up, and there stood the Pantheon. It has to be four or five stories high but it looks bigger. It’s difficult to imagine how it was built almost 2,000 years ago.
Other travel news: I walked around the center of Rome with my friend all weekend long. I saw places like the Forum, Circus Maximus, the Pantheon, the Arch of Constantine, the Colosseum, Monte Testaccio, Appian Way, the Church of Maria d’Aracoeli and many more famous sights. It is such an amazing city as far as history goes. The ancient Romans built everything very big. For example, they would fill the Circus Maximus with water and have naval battles in it! It was like a giant bathtub that would fit real ships!
The city of Rome itself is very different from Barcelona. There were a lot of cars and traffic in Rome, so all the buildings had soot on them from exhaust. The city streets felt dirty and littered with trash, and there was a lot of unfinished construction too. My friend told me that they would start building or renovating a building or an area, and then run out of money to finish so they would just stop working. That was weird to me. My friend told me that the crane across the street from her house had been there for over two years and not moved. I think it is so strange the people or government of Rome would let one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the world get so dirty and unfinished. That being said, it was still a lot of fun seeing sites and walking on streets that were 2,400 years old.
Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):
Partly cloudy: 1
What is the air temperature right now? When I boarded the plane to return to Barcelona, it was about 65 degrees in Rome.
How was the weather this week? The weather was rainy both on Friday and Saturday, but warm, maybe 60 degrees. Sunday and Monday were sunny and warm. I went on a 15-mile walk on Sunday and got really red on my nose and the back of my neck. It was a good thing that I went to the beach in Barcelona two weeks before the trip, or I would have gotten sunburned for sure.
What animals did I see this week? In Rome I saw pigeons, dogs, and few cats and crows. The crows in Rome are strange-looking. At least I think they were crows. It looks like they have an extra set of feather to protect them from the sun. It’s like they have a vest on. It’s weird, but the tops of their backs are almost a brownish color, and the rest of their body and feathers are black.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? The cedar trees in Rome are very tall. There are a lot a cedar trees in the open areas, especially around the ruins. They look like trees out of a Dr. Seuss book. They’re bushy and green on the tops, but there’s not a whole lot of green in the middle or the bottom of the tree.
Other Nature News: The roof of the Pantheon is a dome. At the very top of the dome, there is a hole or skylight. From the ground it looks like it might be about 15-20 feet across. There’s no glass; it’s open. So when it’s raining outside, rain comes through the hole and inside the Pantheon. It’s really weird; there was rainwater on the floor inside the building of the Pantheon.
What languages are spoken here? Italian. Most people in Rome speak Italian. In the tourist areas they do speak a little English, but not as well as the people in Barcelona. But there are 20 times more tourists in Rome than in Barcelona. I heard many more different languages, like German, Swedish, French, Russian and/or some eastern European languages, Chinese, and many others that I couldn’t recognize.
What type of money is used here? Italy uses the euro. Everything is paid in euros just like in Barcelona. That made it easy for me. I had lots of change though, because remember, everything smaller than five euros is in coins.
How much does a bottle of water cost? I bought a bottle right before I got on the bus to the airport and it was 39 cents. Anything less than one euro is called cents also. 39 cents is pretty cheap. Also remember, there are tons of tourists, so if you buy water in a heavy tourist area you might pay two euros for that same bottle.
What was the best meal this week? Pasta, pasta, pasta! I love pasta! I had pizza the first night, and it was pretty good, but the second and third night I had pasta and it was so good! On Saturday night I had hollow spaghetti noodles with a red sauce and lots of bread. It was simple but so delicious. On Sunday night I had rigatoni pasta with a simple olive oil and zucchini sauce, and that was good too. The spaghetti with tomato sauce on Saturday night was the best.
What music did I listen to this week? I was laughing when I went into a market in Rome, because they had Phil Collins on the radio. Everywhere I seem to go, whether it’s Barcelona or Rome, they’re all listening to 60s, 70s or 80s American/English music. I did see a street musician who was playing guitar by some people having dinner on a restaurant patio. It’s kind of common: Someone plays guitar and sings for five minutes close to the people eating, then he walks around the tables and ask for money. The waiters or restaurant managers don’t say anything. In Portland the manager would chase them off.
What activity was the most fun this week? I had the most fun walking in the center of Rome, where most of the ruins are close together. For example, around the Colosseum area there are other things to see also. So every time you turn around a corner, you see something new or something ancient.
What did I read this week? I read maps this weekend. I forgot to bring my book to Rome. I’ve been reading The Sacred Balance by David Suzuki and I love it. He’s a scientist and environmentalist and talks about the state of the planet. It’s a really cool book.
What games or sports did I play this week? I walked 15 miles on Sunday. That was a lot of footwork. Appian Way was not like paved sidewalks. It’s all ancient and uneven so it’s harder to walk on it. I was exhausted after that walk.
Other news from this week: Rome was amazing. Besides being a dirty city with tons of cars and scooters, it was just amazing. You have to go see the ancient ruins of Rome some day. Pictures and books don’t do it justice. You have to see it.
I hope everyone likes the videos and pictures. Remember, I’m going to Granada in the south of Spain next Saturday and Sunday and then to London the following Friday through Monday!