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When in Rome...

...Do it like Brutus.

sunny 65 °F

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The title of this entry comes from a tshirt that I got in a high school Latin class, and is probably lying around my parent's place in Denver somewhere. It held special significance over these past few days though as I was exploring Rome with 4 other American students.

Wednesday morning,

I got up at the much too early hour of 4am here in Dijon with my bags packed, ready to hike to the Dijon Ville station. The station is about a 40 minute walk at a good pace from my studio here on the other side of the city, so after my shower I headed out the door. I could barely sleep the night before, incredibly excited for Rome, and a little nervous to be walking the city streets by myself at that hour and looking like an obvious non local. I hustled to the station to meet the other four American students at 5:30am, and we all boarded the train. Because we booked it so last minute, we had an epic day of travel going to Rome, as well as our return journey, which I'll get to. First leg was a train from Dijon Ville to Lyon Part Dieu, about a two hour train ride. I slept most of that one because it was so empty and I could use my pack as a pillow. Next leg was from Lyon Part Dieu to Chambery, and we had 10 minutes from our arrival in Lyon to catch the next train to Chambery. I will never worry about close layovers again after that one. I was nervous, but it was seamless and painful, and is definitely the fastest way to travel since the trains in Europe are so spot on with timing. We arrived in Chambery shortly after that, with about a 2 hour layover. While the girls seemed content with sitting, myself and the two other guys took our packs and went out to explore for a bit. We wandered aimlessly around the city for a little bit, took some pictures, saw some pretty cool things, and then headed back to the station. The next leg was Chambery to Milano in Italy. This was an especially cool train ride because it took us through the French Alps and a small town Modano, where I did catch a glimpse of a lone ski lift. Guess where I'll be headed in a month when the snow starts falling? We then arrived in Milano, the fashion capital of the world, and had about an hour there. You could go to that station with 3 full size empty suitcases and come back with them full without ever leaving that station, it was unbelievable. After an hour here, we took our fourth train from Milano to Roma Termini, which had free Wifi and was by far the nicest train we took all trip. Italy knows how to do it right. After all of this, we arrived in ROME at about 7pm and headed to our hostel, which was very close to the station. The little super market in the basement of the train station was very useful as well. After setting our things down at the hostel, we headed out with a 25% off coupon from the hostel for a pizzeria down the street. I had pizza as my first meal in Italy, and it was the best pizza I have EVER eaten. After this, we went back to the hostel, formed a game plan for Rome the next day, and got some rest.

Thursday morning,

we got up around 10am, and headed out the door at 11am, ready to explore the city of Rome. One of the other guys in our group, his best friend's uncle is the Archbishop of the Vatican in Rome, so we knew we needed to make it to the Vatican across town by 7pm, and basically just worked our way across the city with the free maps from the Hostel and hit all the highlights along the way. These included: Piazza della Repubblica, Santa Maria degli Angeli, San Carlo Quattro Fontane, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, the Quirinale, the Trevi Fountain, the Trajan Forum, the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele, the Pantheon, Piazza Novora, the Palazzo di Giustizia, the Castel Sant'Angelo, a few different bridges across the Tiber River, and then finally St. Peter's basilica and the Vatican. I have pictures of all of these things in a Facebook album that I've attached below. It was an incredible day, and seeing some of these things in person is just too good to be true. Standing inside the Pantheon is incredible, and making a wish in the Trevi Fountain was pretty cool too. The things inside the Vatican are impossible to really do justice to with pictures. Really. The paintings, ceilings, memorials to Popes, artifacts, it's all impossible to really show in pictures. And the scale of those things is impossible to show too. After seeing all of this by foot, we had dinner with a very nice man who is the Archbishop of Rome and the Vatican, which was very cool and the view of the Vatican by night were taken from his rooftop. Very cool stuff. He then explained to us how to get back to our hostel by way of the metro in Rome, and we headed home and passed out after having a few drinks and hanging out together.

Friday morning,

we headed out at around the same time, and headed for the one thing everyone knows Rome for: the Colosseum. We also saw the Roman ruins that day, old Roman baths, sculptures, giant arches, the Arch of Titus, Temple of Romulus, House of Augustus, the Palatine Hill, and the Circus Maximus. I haven't been that happy and excited for anything in a long time. Standing inside the Roman ruins, which I took a 360 of for my former Latin teacher, I felt like a kid in a candy store as the saying goes. It was so unreal to finally stand there, after studying Latin for five years through high school and a quarter in college. And standing inside the Colosseum...man, incredible. Words can't even do it justice. That thing is absolutely massive, historic, and iconic, and to finally make it there was amazing. After we finished exploring the Roman stuff, we went back to the hostel for a little bit of rest before heading out to see the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain by night. Both were pretty cool, and the sunset above was taken from the top of the Spanish Steps, looking out over the Vatican nearby. Then we all went and had some gelato, which if you haven't had it in Italy, doesn't count. Best ice cream/frozen yogurt/gelato I have EVER had. Everything really is better in Italy! Then we, at my request, made our way to the Hard Rock Cafe in Rome, since I saw a sign and thought it would be cool to have a drink at the Hard Rock Rome. I knew it'd be pricey, but it was more the fact of having a drink there than how much it cost, so that was pretty cool. Then we walked back to our hostel, and passed out before getting on the train the following morning for Dijon.

Saturday morning,

we got up early to catch a 6:15 train back to France. This journey was easier than the last with only 3 legs, but an adventure nonetheless. The first train took us to Torino, and again had Wifi on the train, which was nice. In Torino, we had a 2 hour layover, so we went out seeking lunch, which was an adventure. Near the Torino station, there isn't much, and absolutely no one speaks English, so, I was our sole translator for lunch at a panini place. Best panini I've ever had? Absolutely. I didn't understand everything he said right away, but I knew enough that I was able to get us all by with food for lunch, which was good. I definitely want to go back there to practice my Italian more, as well as Rome to read all that Latin in the ruins and the Vatican more. Next leg of the trip was a *BUS* from Torino to Lyon Part Dieu, which no one had told us when we purchased our tickets, so we were surprised by that. The bus ride was 4.5 hours surrounded by unfamiliar and smelly people from across Europe, which was an interesting experience. The girl next to me was reading Gomorra in Italian though, which I thought was pretty cool having read part of it for Italian class. I thought about asking about it but figured it'd be safer not to haha. We had our passports checked at the border, where I'm pretty sure a man from Albania was dismissed from the bus as well. Riding on the bus was somewhat cool though, because it allowed us to see the Alps from a different angle and not from the train. I snapped a picture of them as well, but again it's really hard to do those mountain justice in pictures. The color of the rock and how rigid and jagged those peaks are is something special. I also have a new place to explore mountain climbing once I'm done in the States someday. Then we took our train back to Dijon Ville from Lyon Part Dieu, problem free, and after a stop at the super market last night I was ready to crash and relax. I posted pictures from the trip last night on Facebook, so I'll attach the link below as well as links to 360s form Rome. All in all, an incredible trip and one that will need to be repeated, since Italy is too incredible not to go back. No blisters or feet casualties form the trip, despite all the walking, and the only result is a few small spots where I'm pretty sure I got bed bugs from the hostel, but a little neosporin should take care of that soon enough. Can't wait to go back to Rome, but for now, it looks like I'm traveling elsewhere in Europe next weekend following class on Friday! Until next time, enjoy the pictures and views below!

Pictures

http://t.co/LbKIJWS0

360s

Standing inside the Roman ruins: http://t.co/0ExqvkaM
Standing inside the Circus Maximus: http://t.co/M3AJtLTl
Standing inside the Vatican in Rome: http://t.co/9I4V3u0B
Piazza della Repubblica: http://t.co/d8x9fLrx
Piazza near the Trevi Fountain: http://t.co/BakF2ioC
Inside the Roman Colosseum: http://t.co/RqOov4sY

Posted by la vita bella 05:03 Archived in France Tagged mountains france travel bus train river italy castle circus rome roman torino greek vatican pantheon pizza pope dijon german republic swiss latin colosseum milano alps forum trevi catholic tiber caesar gelato lyon chambery maximus archbishop trajan brutus augustus Comments (0)

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