Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gladiators, El Papa, and Ana Maria: Spring Break 2009

Friends, neighbors, and family all over the U.S.

I am alive! Sorry it's been so long. The earthquake didn't get me and I bet Russell Crow in the pit. Italy was amazing and will not be getting the long blog it deserves. I will try to give you a brief summary of what happened, and maybe someday I will tell you everything.

Day 1, Friday:
An early flight got us to Rome before noon. Found the hostel. Ate pizza. Coloseo- tour with a funny Italian and learned tons about the history of the crumbling site. Took a tour of Rome after, finding dinner in Campo de Fiores and then some gelato near the Trevi fountain. Threw coin in to promise a return to Rome. Saw a procession. Bed.

Day 2, Saturday:
Got up early to get on the metro to Vatican City. Vatican Museum tour. 5 hours. Sistine Chapel. Tried to take pictures inside illegally (blurry). Lunch at the coloseo. Tour of Pantheon Hill (maybe?). Dinner at great restaurant. Tried Limoncelo. um, interesting. Bed

Day 3, Palm Sunday:
left hostel at 7:30am to head to St. Peter's Square for Palm Sunday Mass. Went through security. Entered the square. Started to cry. It was breathtaking and overwhelming. Found a spot to stand. Enjoyed three hours of mass that included the entire passion, sung, in Italian. Wandered around and out of Rome with new friend Peter to a restaurant for lunch. Got a train to the airport. RAN through the airport at 7:15 to check in for our flight that left at 7:40! On our way to Sicily. Got picked up by Italian family. Drove to Gioiosa Marea. Pizza dinner. It had hot dogs on it (no joke!). Bed.

Day 4, Monday:
Breakfast of nutella and fruit. Tour of Sicily, all over. Met Ana Maria, Melissa's great cousin. She was our tour guide for the week. Grew views. Lots of car sickness on my part. Duomo visit. Gelato! Lunch with family. Pasta and steak. More touring. Dinner with the family. Tried Ignatzio's wine (not so good). More pasta! Yum. Bed

Day 5, Tuesday:
Tinderi (sp?), great views, Greek ruins. We met some spanish archeologists, spoke spanish for the first time in 5 days. Continued practicing Italian. More carsickness on the way home. Dinner with family. Met Nino, Ana Maria's fiance. Conversations with Nino. Thumb wrestling with Nino. Bed.

Day 6, Wednesday:
breakfast. refused to get into a car. Went to beach. Lunch. Back to beach. Took new Italian family out for pizza. So good! Bed.

Day 7, Thursday:
up at 5:30 for drive to bus station. Bus to Catania. Flight back to Rome. Back to the Vatican. Met Melissa's nun. Fast past into Holy Thursday mass. (The nun got us in without having to wait in line!). Mass. Watched el Padre Santo was the feet and left for airport. Airport. Met my friend Bella, a three yaer old Italian who ate my chips and read Marley and Me with me. Night in airport.

Day 8, Friday:
6:30am flight back to Madrid. Bus to Toledo. Slept for 7 hours. Holy Friday processions in Toledo. 6pm, 9pm, 1am. Walked the stations of the cross through Toledo, 3 hours. Home and in bed by 4:30.

Day 9, Saturday:
visited the El Greco exhibit in the Casco. Toured a synogog and museum. Got home to learn the Victoria was in a car accident and Loly had to go get her (she was ok, but the car was totaled). Back to the Casco to do homework, watch Jon & Kate, get Sangria, and attend another procession. The sangria didn't happen, but I did turn 21.

Day 10, Sunday:
1am, procession in the Casco. Enjoyed my first beverage as a 21 year old, and orange Fanta. Celebrated my birth watching Jon & Kate plus 8. Went to sleep by 3. Attended Easter mass in the Cathedral of Toledo with the archbishop presiding, inside the bars that seperate the alter from the general congregation. Lunch my Rio Tajo with tinto de verano to celebrate Easter.


What a week. I learned some Italian and met a great family. The Vatican was indescribable. Easter in Toledo- amazing!

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