Sunday, October 9, 2011

American Holidays = Roman Holidays

For some reason which defies logic, Tom and I have taken to using American federal holidays as an excuse to go to Rome.  This time, we used our good friend, Chris Columbus, as an excuse.  So off we went from Capodichino to the Napoli Centrale train station via the Alibus on Saturday morning.  The fast train, which is 45 Euro and takes an hour, was leaving at 9 am and Tom decided with all included means of transport, it would take us an hour to reach the train station from our apartment.  Oh Tom...  When we got to the Capodichino Airport to catch the 3 Euro Alibus downtown, we realized that we had just missed that last bus by 2 minutes.  The next one would arrive in 20 minutes and if it took 15 minutes, would get us downtown in time.  Alas, it did not.  We did, however, stand in line, at length, with the angriest Italian man of all time.  He wore a "Veni Vedi Vici" shirt and jorts and screamed on his phone and at his wife for the full 30 minutes that we waited, though he broke up the monotony by punching and/or kicking a nearby wall.  When Italians give you the "woah, dude, calm down" face, you know you're bad!

So 30 minutes and one missed train later, we were on the cheaper, slower train to Rome.  Our car was shared by a family of three with perhaps the most adorable and intelligent little girl.  Her mom was checking her homework and she was staring at Tom and I with such intense awe and confusion that made me giggle.  When Tom broke out the Italian flashcards that I made him, she stared even more, to the point that Tom put them away out of sheer intimidation. 

We arrived in Rome and set off for the Vatican with a stop for lunch first.  Frommer's had recommended this hole in the wall place near the Pantheon and upon arrival we saw about 50 Americans with either Frommer's or Rick Steves' clutched like the bible and very few Italians.  We quickly noted that if your establishment makes it into one of these books, you are both guaranteed a great fiscal year and probably going to lose a significant number of your locals.  Also, your English or your patience with foreigners would have to greatly improve.  Listening to two Japense girls order lasagna and a bottle of wine was humorous, though understandably frustrating for all parties.

On Sunday, we met up with a fellow Gamma Phi and UVA Alum, Megan, who lives with her husband in London.  The two were in town for their anniversary (which Tom and I apologetically crashed.  After also accidentally crashing a wedding and mass while we tried to pop in to visit a churches.  Whoops!)  Telling stories of living abroad, their quest for Cheez-Its and the ever-difficult task of figuring out bathrooms in a foreign country (insert judgement for my epic shower failure this morning in our hotel.  It turns out, when there are three different shower heads, it's really difficult to figure out which nob goes to which and can result in covering the entire bathroom in water.  Whoops, again!).  I keep hoping to one day become that confident traveler that Rick Steves' wants me to be.  One day, Rick, one day...

Our trip back, on the fast train, was uneventful but speedy.  We had such a great time in the Eternal City and enjoyed getting to spend more time learning about Roman culture.  Also, Tom discovered that most times when he asks me what the Latin says on a building, that I normally am lying.  "Really?  That says 'Glory to God' too???" 

I'm heading back in November to pick up my sister, Lauri, from the airport and simply cannot wait!!!!!  Think of all of the useless knowledge that I can impart on her!  You're welcome in advance, sister!

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