- posted by Jennifer
- Here is part two of Kelly's wonderful Italy trip story...
"First of all - I am absolutely LOVING this trip even with all the mishaps, crazy folks, molesters and RANDOM EUROPEANS. Italy is a fantastic country, Rome is an amazing city and I can only imagine what Florence and Vencie will be like. Truly, truly amazing.
As far as the American dollar here... well, we will just say that it SUCKS. It is not worth sh_t. Exchange rate is around 66 cents I think... If Iget 210 Euro from the ATM machine it costs me almost $400 (unless you exchange at the airport,and it costs $100 in service fees.) DUMB. Anyway, if you are ever going to plan a trip to Europe, take NO American cash with you... just take your atm card and withdraw directly - still not the best exchange rate, but better than converting cash.
So where did we leave off... ah yes, the bus molesters. We have recovered, showered, and put those clothes in the dirty clothes bag and MOVED ON. We have pretty much mastered the public transportation system, and LAURA Thanks for the bus map. They don't give you one here, so you are on your own.
Yesterday we went to see Ancient Rome. WOW! I was speechless, yes, me, speechless. Truly amazing. We started out with the Colosseum. WOW! I saw Gladiator the movie (which I did like,violence and all) but to stand where the Romans stood, I just couldn't believe that was what I had seen in the movies! WOW!!!
After that we did the Roman forum, saw where Cesar was assassinated, burned, etc. Saw temples for the gods, the house of the Vestal Virgins and all the other good stuff you have heard of.
Then we did Palatine hill and saw the chariot racetrack. AMAZING. Did I say that already???
Today we got up before dawn so I could take some sunrise photos. Went to the Pantheon - in the dark, lit by streetlights, and not a soul around. FANTASTIC photo. Went to many of the fountains we did on the first night and took daylight photos. Saw the Spanish steps, and then we went down to the Jewish Ghetto and Travestere (older parts of Rome).Tonight we are going to be at the Pantheon for New Years. They began putting up barricades this morning at 9 ALL OVER ROME, and people were saving their seats and drinking wine by 10 am. Should prove to be a wild time.
Tomorrow we leave for Florence and should be there by 9am. We will leave Florence on Wednesday late in the afternoon and go to Venice where we will finish the trip. We have our Tren Italia tickets in hand and are ready to go.
Rome was not built in a day, but we conquered it in 3.5. Not too shabby!!!
So,some things I learned from my trip to Rome...
1. When you wonder HOW people can tell you are American...watch their eyes...They are STARING at your shoes!!! Like they have never seen my Nike running shoes before...
2. When you shower - keep the water pressure LOW and spray the nozzle toward the wall...when it bounces off you less will go onto the floor. They don't use shower curtains here.
3. The two buttons on the toilet are as follows: Big button for poo and little button for pee.
4. If you need to use the restroom, make sure you have SOME change. You gotta pay for it... and NO they are not any cleaner than free ones.
5. When you want to speak quietly to your American friend, you have to just speak real quiet. EVERYONE Speaks English to some extent and yes, they are listening.
6. For some reason they like my blonde curls. I was called Bella twice today and yes, it made my day. NO they were not trying to sell me anything.
7. I can function VERY well on less than 4hours of sleep a night. Yes, I am still waking up around 2 (Bethany is too) and we chat,eat candy, and read until about 3 or 3:30 then we go back to sleep.
8. Men can walk arm in arm here and no one looks at them funny (the US could learn a lot from this one).
9. I have developed random bug bites on my body, but I am sure I won't be getting the dengue fever here.
Running out of time at the internet cafe! GOTTA GO!
I do love you all,and have a happy new year, it starts here long before it gets to you.
Mom,thanks for saving me some Black Eyed peas... "