Have you ever wondered if people actually eat pizza and pasta in Rome? Do they really have the Italian accents that you hear in movies? Well this week, I had an amazing experience in Rome. Do you think that Italy is similar or different from Spain?
I was so excited when I purchased my flight tickets for Rome back in April. Now it was finally time for me to hop on the plane and start a completely new adventure with my roommate and some of our friends. I didn’t know much about Rome besides the pizza, wine and pasta. I was in for a surprise, because I met some of the nicest and warm people during my time in Rome. This was an amazing trip that I will never forget.
Local Time: It is 7:00 PM here in Barcelona, so it is 1:00 PM back in New York.
Time Zone: Central European Time Zone (Spain and Italy are in the same time zone)
How far did I travel this week? Barcelona, Spain is about 856.69 miles away from Rome, Italy. These two countries are only about 535 miles apart. The plane ride was only about one-hour and a half. It actually takes longer time for me to travel from Chicago to New York than it does from Spain to Italy. Can you imagine hopping on a plane for one-hour and a half and landing in a new country?
How did I get around this week? As I mentioned above, I flew from Barcelona to Rome this week. When I was in Rome we walked a lot, and we used the Metro and the public bus system as well. My legs are definitely a little sore from walking around the ancient ruins and exploring the city. How do you usually get around in New York? Do you walk, or do you usually use public transportation?
What was the most interesting place I visited this week? I had so much fun walking around Rome and learning about the history and culture. If I had to pick my favorite and most interesting place, I would choose the Colosseum. I had heard about Rome my whole life, it seems! I had learned about it in elementary school, middle school and in high school. I had read about the Colosseum in history books and seen it depicted in movies. I had always wanted to visit this important historical landmark. I could believe that such an amazing piece of architecture was only a 20-minute bus ride from the apartment I was staying in!
The lines were quite long when we arrive to the Colosseum, but we decided to go on a guided tour. This was a great idea, because we got to skip the long 2-hour wait to get into the Colosseum. I learned so much about the gladiator battles, animal hunts and sea battles that took place there thousands of years ago. Yes, that is right, sea battles! I learned that the floor of the Colosseum could actually be flooded so that “ships” could sail on it and gladiator warriors (slaves, in most cases) could battle between the ships for more than 50,000 viewers in the stands. I had not imagined this type of grand theatrical performance being carried out more two thousand years ago! That’s right, the Colosseum was built around 70 A.D.
I learned that much of the original marble in the Colosseum was put into other buildings all throughout Rome.
Other travel news: There are so many amazing sites to see in Rome. I really wish I had more time to go around and learn about each building and the history of why it was built. In addition to the Colosseum, I toured the Vatican gardens, many museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. I am not Catholic, but this was a very interesting experience. The head of the entire Catholic Church around the world is located in the Vatican City. The buildings were so ornate, had tons of artifacts from around the world and the art was breathtaking.
I also walked around the city with my friends, and we saw some amazing buildings. We saw the Pantheon, which is a very famous church in the middle of Rome. The Pantheon is a little hidden in the winding narrow streets of Rome, but it is something that you cannot miss. Right when I saw it, I was in awe of the perfect lines, dome shape and the sheer size of the building. I am not sure how this building was constructed without modern day cranes and other tools.
I also went to some other cool places as well. I went to the Spanish Steps, which are the tallest and widest steps in all of Europe. They lead up to a beautiful church at the top of a hill with a great view. Rome is also famous for the many fountains around the city. I went to the Baroque, Trevi and Fountains of St. Peter’s Square. I even tossed a 1 euro coin into the Trevi fountain, which is a famous wishing fountain! Of course, I can’t tell you my wish! Hopefully it will come true!
Weather Tally (# of days for each weather type):
Partly cloudy: 1
What is the air temperature right now? Right now in Barcelona, it is about 80 degrees, and it is quite sunny.
How was the weather this week? I am glad that I was in Rome this week, because the weather was great. I was able to wear dresses, shorts and wear my sunglasses almost every day when I was there. When I came back from Rome a couple of days ago, my friends in Barcelona told me that it had rained every day when I was gone. Good thing I wasn’t in Barcelona during the days of bad weather.
What animals did I see this week? The animals I saw in Rome are very similar to what I typically seen in Barcelona. There were tons of people walking their dogs around the city. I even met a dog owner who had her dog wearing a dress with polished nails as well! This was pretty funny to me! I have never seen a dog so dressed up before, have you?
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? There are lots of small secret gardens and parks located throughout Rome. When I toured the Vatican Gardens in Vatican City, I saw lots of tall trees and fountains. These gardens were so peaceful, and one of them even had an orange orchard.
What languages are spoken here? The national language in Italy is Italian, but many people can speak and understand other languages. At the different museums and tourist information booths there were a lot of people who could speak and understand English. Many people could also speak some of the main European languages as well, because there are so many tourists who come from different countries to visit Rome.
It was also really interesting, because I spoke to most people in Spanish when I was there. I know this is a little confusing, because Italian is the main language. The two languages are so similar, and the countries are located so close that they could understand my questions in Spanish. I could also understand some of what they were saying in Italian as well.
What type of money is used here? Italy is apart of the European Union, so they also use the euro, just like Spain. However, though everyone uses the same currency, the economies are not all the same. Therefore, prices can vary for goods from country to country, depending on whether the goods are locally made or imported.
How much does a bottle of water cost? I bought I bottle of water from the grocery store near my apartment in Rome, and it cost about two euros. That is about $2.60, which is quite expensive for an average bottle of water. I think it was more expensive, because I was staying in a tourist area. I am learning that prices are always higher in the tourist areas of a city, no matter where you travel in the world. For example, I bet your mom and dad know where to find a deal in their city on everyday items that a visitor would not know about because they had just arrived!
What was the best meal this week? The best meal this week was a mushroom and vegetable pizza. This restaurant was literally across the street from the Colosseum, and the food was quite delicious. I couldn’t believe that was eating pizza and the Colosseum was next to me. It was kind of hard to believe at first. It is also pretty interesting, because the pizzas in Italy are very big. I ordered a pizza for myself, but I ended up sharing with everyone. I couldn’t finish it all. That same day, we had some gelato at a gelateria near out apartment. Gelato is Italian ice cream! Italy is also very famous for its tasty gelato, and it was some of the best gelato I had ever had. It was so good, that I bought two extra cups of the Nutella gelato.
What music did I listen to this week? The music in Rome was pretty similar to what I have heard in Barcelona. A lot of the music is in English, and it is some of the same music we would hear back in the United States. I did hear some classical music in Italian in one of the clothing stores I visited. It was really calm and relaxing, but I think I enjoyed the American music better. It definitely reminded me of home and Chicago.
What activity was the most fun this week? I just had a great time in Rome altogether. I was with my friends, I met some great people and the food was amazing. This is a trip I will never forget, and I hope to return to Italy some day.
What did I read this week? On the airplane ride there and back, I started to read a book called “La Sombra del Viento.” This title means “The Shadow of the Wind.” It is a mystery book that is located in France and Barcelona. It was a little challenging, because the book is entirely in Spanish. The story is great so far, and I can’t wait to see what happens next in the story.
What games or sports did I play this week? I didn’t really play any games or participate in any sports this week. As I said before, I was pretty tired from walking around the city and going on tours.
Other news from this week: Words cannot really describe Rome and how amazing it was to be there. The people were so welcoming and nice! They were always willing to help in the best way that they could, despite my not speaking Italian. It was funny, because everyone I met would tell me “Ciao Bella!” In Italian, this means “Goodbye Beautiful”. This would make me blush each time someone said it to me. I felt so happy, because the people were so nice.
The food was great, and I had a great time sharing in this experience with my friends. If you ever have a change to go to Rome or Italy, I definitely recommend it. It is very similar to what you see on TV and in movies, but it’s so much better to experience it in person.