So I shall start off my story from Friday: On this fine day I got the chance to meet Andy Steves, the CEO of Weekend Student Adventures (WSA). WSA is a study abroad student travel company that helps students go on fun trips to various locations throughout Europe for a great price and with lots of fun people. I'm already booked to go with them to the Swiss Alps and stay in a hostel on the side of the mountain with only other people who book through WSA and it is going to be absolutely amazing! I may potentially sign up for a trip to Budapest as well where I can go caving and sit in a natural hot spring-fueled underground jacuzzi. These trips sound absolutely wonderful.
As a way for students to get a feel for the trips, Andy Steves himself lead us on a free walking tour through our area of Rome, then a 15 Euro dinner, which I'll get into more detail about soon, and finally out to a riverside club.
First, the tour! We started off walking to the East of our apartments to a very touristy piazza called Campo dei Fiori, or Field of Flowers, where there are always hundreds of people. I managed to capture the sunlight hitting the buildings during dusk in this photo. In the middle is a statue of a very controversial man who I believe to be Galileo. He believed that the Earth revolved around the Sun and therefore was deemed a heretic and was burned at the stake in this very location. This piazza is always very cool to go hang out at! During the day it is an open-air market where I can get all kinds of goods at decent prices and at night the bar scene really gets going down here.
|Campo dei Fiori|
After Campo dei Fiori came la Piazza Navona, where several amazing statues are laid within the middle of a large oval. This oval track was in fact originally used for chariot races! At the far end, where all the lights are are a bunch of little shops selling a variety of items, but primarily art. They have some absolutely spectacular paintings available for sale in this square.
|From left to right: Jacob, Eric, Me, Alex|
|Large group at dinner!|
|The party's bumping!|
|Romulus and Remus|
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First, I started at my apartment in Trastevere. Next I ran to Campo dei Fiori and then up to Piazza Navona. From there I followed Andy Steves' tour path to the Pantheon. After that, I continued over to the Trevi Fountain and then all the way down to il Vittoriano, the Colosseum, and all around the Roman Forum. Then I changed my direction to North and made my way all the way up to the Spanish Steps. I decided to start heading back home, so I went West to the Vatican city, and then found a massive hill.
Deciding to head up the anonymous, hill I came upon an little bench resting on a remarkably person-less grassy knoll. This is remarkable given that Rome is literally packed with people at every corner. It was really nice to find some peace and quiet away from the city for a short time where I could stretch and think about things for a bit. I will certainly return here and read my book some other time. The main reason that it is so abandoned is that this spot is quite a bit of a hike to get to, but it is well worth it when needing alone time.
|My Secret Spot|
In my attempt to figure out where the hell I was I hiked up to the top of this massive hill only to find out that it is Gianicolo Hill, also conveniently the same name as my apartment complex, Gianicolo Apartment. Here is a picture of the glorious monument at the top of the hill paying tribute to the war heroes and the General that lead them in their fight for independence. I'll get to that story soon.
|The view from the top of Gianicolo Hill|
|Roma o Morte (Rome or Death)|
After skyping my parents and Sloan, I made some dinner for my roommate, Eric, and myself before Eric joined me in going to a free Muay Thai class.
I didn't really know what to expect going in, but it was definitely the hardest workout that I have done in several months. By the end of it, my entire upper body was sore, but I could throw a respectable cross, jab, and hook punch. I never knew how much effort it would be, particularly given my lifting and running earlier in the day, but now I know. I am completely and utterly exhausted at this point. As a reward I went down to a local Gelateria and bought myself a massive Gelato. Mmmmmmmmm :)
Thanks for reading all the way to the end of my latest update!
Good night, talk to you soon!