So we finally got to go to our hotel rooms! It has been one very long day. We left Bay Path a little before eleven am on Saturday to drive down to Newark. We arrived at the airport and the two groups, because we were on two different flights, split up to go to our separate terminals. The group I was with flew with Alitalia Airline and we were watched over by Professor Burns (affectionately known as Burnsie). The other group was watched over by President and Noel Leary and they flew with Continental Airlines. We quickly found something to eat since we hadn't had anything since on the bus when we ate the doughnuts that Mr. Burns and gotten us. After getting some sandwiches and salads at a little cafe, we found seats at our terminal and settled in for the two and a half hour wait till out flight boarded. As we waited, we watched through the windows as the weather outside got worse and worse. At one point, the fog was so thick that we couldn't see anything out of the windows. Due to the rain, fog and wind, many of the flights were being canceled and our flight was delayed. We ended up spending an extra hour sitting in the terminal and another hour sitting in the plane waiting till we could take off. Finally the weather cleared enough and we were able to get into the air. After that is was8 1/2 hours till Rome. I have flown to Europe once before on an overnight trip and like on that last flight I had trouble sleeping in the small airplane seats. No matter howI positioned myself a spot that stayed comfortable for long. In the end I didn't get very much sleep which had been my plan since we were scheduled to arrive at 9:30 in the morning and we had a long day ahead of us
Once we were off the plane, and boy was I glad to get off that plane, Burnsie led us to baggage claim and then we went out to meet President Leary and our Tour Guide Robbi. When we met up with them, President Leary said that the other plane had landed an hour before ours and that the other group was already on the bus. Robbi then took us on a quick scenic tour of the city and pointed out a few of the major sites that we would be visiting including the Santa Maria Maggiore, an ancient wall that used to surround the city and several of the Piazzas. We ended our tour by coming to our hotel: The Hotel Nord Nuova Roma. When we arrived, only a few of the rooms were ready, so we dropped all of our stuff off in one of the rooms and most of us decided to take a walk to find something to eat and then head up to the Trevi Fountain. Just a few minutes away from our hotel we found a nice little Ristorante Pizzaria and twenty-eight of us our fist experience with authentic Italian food. The pizza that I had was absolutely amazing and nothing like what we would consider good pizza in the US.
After our lunch, Burnsie led the way to the Trevi Fountain. I was surprised to learn that it only took about 20 minutes to walk there. In fact, many of the major sites of Rome are within 20-30 mines waking distance from our hotel. This was really surprising to me because when I went to Paris we had to stay outside of the city ad therefore had to take the Metro to get anywhere.
The Trevi Fountain is truly magnificent. It is tucked away on a back street that looks like it would lead to no where, but as you turn the corner you suddenly come upon a giantfountain that looks as though it has been sculpted into the back of a building. There was a huge crowd all around the fountain and everyone was talking and taking pictures. We made our way down to the front of the fountain and all took turns tossing a coin in and making a wish. The fountain was the first monument that we saw and it was definitely a good one to start with.
After many many pictures at the Trevi Fountain, we finally made out way back to the hotel hopping that our rooms would be ready so that we could est and get in some showers. After a brief rest and a much needed shower, President Leary took a group of us to the cathedral Santa Maria Maggiore to watch mass. I have never been to a Catholic Mass before and it was all in a mix of Latin and Italian so I didn't really understand, but it was beautiful in the cathedral and it was fun to see and hear the mass in such a significant place.
After that we net up with the rest of the group for a traditional Italian five course meal. We stated with a cold anti-pasta salad of grilled vegetables, then two different pasta dishes, spinach and veal dish and finally a tiramisu-like dessert. The food was great, except for the spinach and veal which were not to my liking but others seemed to enjoy.
So far, my experience in Rome has been amazing. As exhausted as I am, I have been having so much fun and I am truly thankful that I have been given the opportunity to be here. I can't wait for the next week and all of adventures to come.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention Fiona. Burnsie was giving the task of taking Fiona, the Registrar's office mascot, and bringing her along to all of the sites. I volunteered to take her along and so she and I bonded as we cuddled on the plane. Unfortunately Fiona didn't make it to the Trevi Fountain, but I am sure that we will go back again and she can make a wish of her own.