Today started off on a difficult foot, as I got to the train station about a half hour early (which is earlier than I usually arrive) and I see on the board that the train is delayed 75 minutes. Now this would usually annoy me, but I was extra annoyed because I was meeting Mallory in Rome. So I went to the ticket counter, took my ticket, waited for 30 people to be called before me, and was able to change my ticket from the 10:38 train (which had increased to a 95 minute delay by the time I left) to the 11:04 train. Phew.
I got to Rome and made it to the Metro and to my correct stop no problem. But then I didn’t know which way I should turn on the street. I hate coming out of the metro stops and not knowing which direction I am facing. So I made a decision and went left. Eventually I asked someone if I was going in the direction of the street I had written down and he made it seem like I was, but I think he didn’t know. I knew I needed to go in the opposite direction of the Colosseum, and eventually the Colosseum came into view. Dang it! So I backtracked and by the time I got my hotel I was TIRED!
I dropped my bags off and relaxed a minute before heading back to the train station to meet Mallory. She was flying in and I thought taking a shuttle bus from the airport to the train station. So I asked someone where the bus comes in, only to find that it was a shuttle train. Whoops. I told Mallory it was a bus. So I decided to meet the train at the platform instead of being at the metro stop where I told her I would be (which was near where the bus drop off is!). I waited for three trains (they come every 30 mins) and no Mallory. Apparently, I gave up on the third train too early to set out to find wifi. I couldn’t get it (and it didn’t matter because she didn’t have it either), so I started to leave the station to go back over to the metro when I saw her standing in front of me. Thank goodness!
We came to the hotel so she could get settled in a bit and then set out for the Pantheon, which is open until 7:30. Wow. It was incredible. To walk into the square and see it looming over you was awesome. The script on the front is still very prominent (MAGRIPPA and then something else). Marcus Agrippa commissioned the first Pantheon between 27 BC -14 AD and then it was rebuilt in 126 AD, but it bears Agrippa’s name. To stand in a building that it nearly 2000 years old is amazing. And that it is still standing and still so solid. The cupola is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. I have no idea how they built that in the 2d century. Just mind-boggling, The columns out in front were my favorite. They are just so large. Raphael is buried here as is the first king of Italy. It was very beautiful and just a taste of things to come in the next days!
We walked around and bit and accidentally found ourselves in front of the Trevi fountain. It took me awhile to notice what it was. Why? Because it’s under construction and covered in scaffolding. So it’s closed. I was so so so sad. We walked on a platform that is set up during construction, but it’s just such a bummer. I heard a police officer saying that it’s closed until December 2015. Just another reason to come back to Italy, I guess. And you can still toss coins in to ensure your return, so I totally did!
We then settled on a restaurant for dinner. I tried Gnocchi again, this time with a tomato sauce for sure! Mallory had veggie pizza and the guy even agreed to open a bottle of wine for me that was sweeter. It wasn’t usually sold as a glass, but he agreed. For both of us, as Mallory had a Chianti. It was so nice of him, we had two glasses! It started to rain during our meal, so we moved inside and waited until it let up to leave, as I had forgotten my rain jacket. Doh. It let up and we made our way to the metro just as it started coming down again.
Very excited to be in Rome and to see all of the awesome things this city has to offer!